Starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt, "Edge of Tomorrow" is an action-packed, high-concept sci-fi thriller. This film uses an imaginative concept, a clever structure of events, fast-paced combat, and a not-too-distant future dealing with an alien invasion to create one of the more unique large-scale blockbusters of the summer.
Using a “Groundhog Day” or “Source Code” type of time loop, Cruise’s character must live out each day, only to die at some point and begin each day again, repeating every action and conversation to try and figure out how to save the world. The beginning of the film starts out with scattered news reports of something happening around the world –- unclear at first, but later revealing a known alien invasion. Major William Cage (Cruise), some sort of military recruiter or promoter who has never seen combat, is then ordered to report for duty as a recruit on the front lines.
After attempting to run and being knocked out, Cage wakes up at a battle station and stumbles through preparation for combat, where he must storm the European beach with the other recruits wearing large exoskeleton, robot-like suits. While on the battlefield, Cage clumsily kills one of the aliens and absorbs its ability to reverse time and restart the day. From then on, Cage must learn how to understand and control this power by uniting with a famous special forces warrior, Rita (Emily Blunt), and together they have to figure out a way to stop the aliens (known as “mimics”) from destroying everyone.
From the first moment Cruise’s character is dropped out of an aircraft on the massive battlefield amongst all of the chaos, loud explosions, and fighting as far as one can see, the action is extremely quick and exhilarating. There are a variety of futuristic weapons and vehicles, as well as the metal body suits that the soldiers wear to fight the aliens. The aliens themselves are unlike those seen in previous cinema; best described as fast-moving energy particles with evil faces and multiple arms or tentacles, similar to the almost invisible creatures in the movie, "The Darkest Hour."
The process of Cruise’s character going through the same day, conversations, events, etc., may get repetitive to some, but the film keeps each encounter purposeful, whether to progress the plot, learn more about the enemy or how the time loop works, or to simply make the audience laugh. Some of the days last only seconds, while others are much lengthier. The time loop also gives Cage’s the capability to remember everything from the previous restarts.
A good amount of the humor comes from the different scenarios in which Cage must die each day, either through unintentional deaths or having to restart/be killed because of an injury, screw up, new information, or need of more time. It is humorous to see Cage be able to dodge a punch, attack, or flying debris, predict the future for his advantage, tell a person what was about to happen or what they are thinking. A majority of Cruise’s interactions with Blunt and other actors in the film provide comedy, as well.
In a movie that is otherwise a blast to watch, there were a few moments when I would have liked to see a clearer presentation of certain elements. In the beginning of the film, no one explains where the aliens came from, what happened, or what year it is. It is not evident exactly what Cruise’s role in the military is or why he is being sent into battle untrained. There are a few times throughout the film when the repeated days show varying parts of the day, instead of always beginning and ending from the same point, and although this is necessary to further the story and mix it up a bit, it is not always obvious that the day has been reset. It would also have been nice to get a clearer picture of the alien abilities, specifically the time loop, the science, and how everything works.
In a time of the year when the box office is flooded with sequels, prequels, and numerous big fantasy features of stories most people are familiar with in some way, "Edge of Tomorrow" is a fresh, entertaining action film that will make you laugh and has more to offer than one might expect. It doesn’t have an overly large cast of known people, but it makes the performances needed count. This is a great movie for sci-fi action fans and moviegoers that are looking for something a bit different this summer.
Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars.
"Edge of Tomorrow" is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language and brief suggestive material. Running time is 1 hour and 53 minutes.
Hayden Pittman is a special contributor to WFAA.com and a freelance film critic and entertainment blogger out of Dallas. More of his content can be found on YouPlusDallas.com and his author archive here. For more of his reviews on WFAA, click here. He is a film, TV, and sports enthusiast, and when not writing reviews or covering an event, he works in film production. As an average, passionate film lover who rarely misses a film, his reviews are straightforward and his way with words will let you know in a simple way what he thinks. Don’t like what he has to say? Let him know at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @HPMoviePitt.