Sean offered me the assignment of reviewing this movie, since he reasoned that I never get to review big budget action movies like this one. But looking back, I was the one who reviewed Gravity, so it hasn’t been that long. Edge Of Tomorrow, the latest sci-fi Tom Cruise vehicle, is similar to Gravity in that it’s one of the few big budget spectaculars from the last few years that isn’t a super hero sequel or based on some existing franchise — and thus didn’t quite make me feel like I was just giving my money away to some money-making juggernaut when I purchased my ticket. But it’s also similar to Gravity in that it’s just a really well-made piece of pop entertainment.
As I said, Edge Of Tomorrow isn’t a franchise movie (yet), but it is based on the less generically-titled Japanese novel, All You Need Is Kill. Basically Tom Cruise plays a military officer who’s too much of a pussy to actually face combat, until Brendan Gleason gets annoyed by him and forces him into this epic battle against an alien entity that has recently crash-landed on Earth. The story never really states how far in the future the story takes place, but it seems to be set just far enough from now that we’re using sweet robot suits to fight military battles. Anyways, Tom Cruise ends up stuck in a total “Groundhog Day” situation as he finds himself living the day of this battle over and over again, with each incarnation of the battle ending in global annihilation. Then Tom Cruise (I’m not gonna look up his character’s name) runs into a badass super soldier played by Emily Blunt, and it turns out she’s been through the same thing Tom Cruise is going through and wants to help him finally figure out how to win this doomed battle.
There are a lot of other elements going on in Edge Of Tomorrow that I could try to explain, but I’ll just leave that for the nerds to argue over. Although I suppose that’s one thing that’s kind of neat about this movie. It obviously has it’s own unique mythology, but at the same time it’s basic enough that someone like me can easily get in to it and have a good time. And even though the film does have a very gritty feel to it that’s reminiscent of the (I’m just gonna assume) much worse film Battle: Los Angeles, it’s interests are always in keeping the audience entertained. The way it does this is often by keeping the tone surprisingly light and playful, but also knowing when to raise the stakes and let the machine-gun bullets fly.
Also, I really liked the way this movie used Tom Cruise. At this point, it’s a given that the man is one of the most magnetic movie stars of his generation, and it seems like a lot of his roles in the past few years have played up his more superhuman qualities. Edge Of Tomorrow however, plays nicely against Cruise’s screen persona by making him a pretty big wimp at first, and then making him seem literally about as human as possible by making him die on screen over and over again. And to be honest, there’s something kind of morbidly delightful about getting to watch the most charismatic man in Hollywood get squashed, shot, and blown-up over and over again.
Emily Blunt’s also pretty good in it, even though it’s hard to imagine any future in which the most decorated soldier in the military is a pretty lady. But whatever, considering that this last week or so has reminded us all how shitty women are still treated in American society, I have a really hard time knocking a movie for making its true hero a badass heroine. So yeah, this movie was a nice surprise, and especially when the rest of this summer movie season is starting to look like some sort of post-apocalyptic wasteland that we’ll keep having to relive over and over again with each passing week.