This review contains both good news and bad news. The bad news is I don’t really have anything original to say about this movie and the good news is I liked it. Yes, they blew the ending, but for the most part the gimmick they ripped off from Groundhog Day works and the two stars do a good job.
Edge of Tomorrow‘s premise may be similar to that of Groundhog Day‘s, but at least they have the good sense to make basically everything else completely different. In a post-apocalyptic future, Major William Cage (Tom Cruise) looses his cushy PR job by refusing a general’s order, and gets thrown right into the front lines in a war against an alien race known as mimics. He dies in battle, only to wake up again before the invasion has even begun. This gives him a lot of chances to get it right, and with the help of super soldier Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), he just might be able to.
I’ve heard this film compared to a video game more than once, and before seeing the film I would have thought this was a detraction. On the contrary, it was the film’s most interesting aspect. When you have a story about events that repeat themselves over and over again, you’re bound to run the risk of the audience getting bored. Here however, any repetition that occurs (while understandably frustrating) serves as suspense, prolonging the time before we advance to new material. Towards the end, the repeated gags are almost all removed and the story hurtles forward at a breakneck pace. It keeps you on toes, especially in the middle to end section when you can hardly ever be sure how many times Cage has done this.
While it would be very hard to explain the ending’s failure without spoilers, I’ll try my best. Now, it doesn’t seem like a huge problem when you step back and think about it, but watching in the theater it definitely feels very off. This is because in both tone and pacing it’s just too abrupt of a change. It feels Liman and crew didn’t know really how to end it, but knew they had to end happily, so they just fabricated a confusing loophole out of the plot and tacked on a happy ending. The movie’s going along and going along, and all of a sudden it just stops, they give you an obligatory happy ending, and then the movie’s over and you walk out of the theater feeling cheated. True, this type of ending is seen often in Hollywood, but it’s always unfortunate when it’s burdening a movie that’s otherwise really good.
The first thought I had (and I’m sure I’m not alone) when I saw the trailer for this film was something like “that looks pretty cool, but then again, so did Oblivion.” I will say that Cruise has chosen a better project in Edge of Tomorrow. The role is not too demanding but Cruise does a great job with it. He manages to show his character’s growth and be a likable enough hero in the meantime. Emily Blunt plays one of the most badass characters you’ll see on a movie screen in the foreseeable future, and does it well. She has a very commanding presence in the film. The decision to forge a (however muted) romance between the two is unfortunate. It’s not as if the two don’t have chemistry, they do, but it’s not romantic. They work very well as a mutual-respect war buddy-comrade type thing, and the romance just feels forced. It’s not unbearable or anything and there’s not much of it, but still.
Edge of Tomorrow may have made a couple of missteps with the ending and the romance, but all in all it’s still a good film. The premise is cool, and the film managed to distinguish itself from others, at least while you’re watching it. It got me over the theater to see it, and I was happy I did. That’s about the highest recommendation I can give it.
Long story short: 3/4 stars
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