I won’t lie for one second and pretend I had held out any hope for Edge of Tomorrow. I have really lost interest in many of Tom Cruise’s roles recently, and on top of that, the trailer for this blockbuster do not sell the film well at all. I was sure this was going to be a dud.
However, after countless people I respect on Twitter gave it raving reviews, after the Rotten Tomatoes score hovered above 90%, I couldn’t miss my chance to see Edge of Tomorrow earlier this week. Now that I’ve seen it, let me be the beacon of light to you readers — push aside any distaste for Tom Cruise you have and forget about the mediocre marketing campaign — Edge of Tomorrow is a bonafide gem of a blockbuster. In fact, I’d argue it’s one of the best titles to hit in 2014 — seriously.
The film is set in a distant future where an alien race has taken over much of Europe, very similar to the reign of terror from the Nazis in WWII. (There are many other similarities to WWII, like a beach invasion of Western France.) But instead of Germans set on Lebensraum and The Final Solution, these very grotesque aliens, called Mimics, are set on the destruction of all humanity.
Up to this point, the battles have been perilous for the good guys as the aliens have a decided upper hand. In the heat of battle, Major William Cage (Cruise) ends up absorbing the alien ability to “reset the day,” or start fresh after dying with all the memories from the previous days. This gives Cage the ability to foresee the future because he already knows what’s coming. This leads to a type of Groundhog Day narrative, with the day continuing on repeat until Cage can figure out how to defeat the superior alien enemy. He enlists the help of one of humanity’s greatest warriors, Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), to help him solve this great alien mystery.
While my synopsis might seem a bit murky (the trailer itself was a touch confusing), the movie does a fantastic job of laying it all on the table. Edge of Tomorrow unwinds the mystery of the repeating day with plenty of drama, action, and humor. The most surprising cornerstone to this flick is how much humor is embedded — there are plenty of funny moments that incite ruckus laughter as Cage navigates the world with the knowledge of the future — he surprises a lot of characters by knowing what they are going to say or details of their life.
The puzzle starts to come together as Cage approaches undiscovered fragments of the future — he soon finds himself deep in enemy territory, but he keeps coming up short of finding a solution to defeat the alien enemy. Each time he dies he is embodied with new information on what to do and what not to do.
The movie does a great job of showing both the good and bad of repeating the same day over and over. It would be incredibly frustrating living out the same aspects of a day over and over, failing through death and restarting again and again. This Groundhog Day storytelling also lends to some unique character development of our two heroes and gradual deciphering of the intimidating alien antagonists.
Overall, Edge of Tomorrow has plenty of thrills, excitement, mystery and humor in its 113 minute duration. Both Cruise and Blunt do some heavy lifting to carry this film to the finish line. Believe all the hype surrounding Edge of Tomorrow — this is a fantastic showcase of how summer blockbusters can incorporate star power, a blitzkrieg of action and humor into a great story filled with intrigue.
Photos via: Warner Bros.