Edge of Tomorrow is nonsensical by nature. Who are the aliens? Why are they attacking earth? How was the war-ready suits built for the soldiers? All of these questions lead to more and a climax that’s riddled in them, but does it matter in the end?
Not one bit. The movement of the film, the storytelling process of getting the audience and characters from point A to point B, and the overall scale of the journey was built so artfully and with so much enthusiasm that the thrill spoke for itself. We don’t need all of the answers–we just want to watch the characters work on figuring them out.
The idea is this. William Cage (Tom Cruise) is a media consultant for the army. He isn’t a soldier and as he tells his higher up is even squeamish when it comes to a paper cut. After trying to blackmail his way out of covering the newest and greatest attack on the enemy on the front lines, he’s taken prisoner and labeled a traitor and forced into battle.
Things don’t go well.
His realization of his ability to reset the day soon coincides with meeting Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), a war hero who is ruthless on the battlefield and also knows what Cage is going through. With her guidance and training, the two hope to manage to put a stop to what appears to be a game over attack.
As an avid supporter of the “typical” Hollywood blockbuster, the summer excited me. However, it seems as of late that more often than not I’m left leaving the theater feeling unsatisfied. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was colorful, listless entertainment. Godzilla was insipid and uninspired, hurt by its complete waste of potential. X-Men: Days of Future Past was good in theory but also hit some massive pit falls that people are actively ignoring since it’s the first good non-Marvel Studio superhero film that hasn’t been a disappointment in a while.
This makes the enjoyment factor of Doug Liman’s film all the greater. Edge of Tomorrow is a film that has wholeheartedly embraced its genre without letting it becoming limiting. The scale starts big with flashes of news reels about how the world has come over siege from these mysterious creatures. The alien design is fantastic–they’re drawn and styled as technical predators who know their prey. They appear to be impossible to defeat.
Despite the public scrutiny that follows Tom Cruise, you can’t deny that he throws everything into each role he takes on and Cage may be his best performance in years. Playing up the humor already written seamlessly into the script, Cruise is funny as the pathetic soldier. He isn’t afraid to play moments for laughs and his physical comedy when his character first must use one of the suits is a welcome side to the actor. Cruise’s appeal is apparent in this film and his charm works wonders.
However you can’t help but wonder what the film would have been like had it been Emily Blunt’s Rita that we followed. Blunt is an actress that has been in the makings for big name status for years but has never quite hit the right role at the right time. As an action hero, she is suitably bad ass, and like Cruise, her physicality works wonders. Her character is nicknamed the “Full Metal Bitch,” and the filmmakers smartly choose to never fully leave that persona. She’s interesting because she doesn’t ever really soften–she’s a solider and will do what she needs to do. Blunt plays it without ever losing the audience, and hopefully this role is the one that thrusts her into a bigger spotlight.
If it sounds like I’m raving, it’s because I am. But can you blame me? In the face of typical story plots being turned out, here is an action film that is fresh faced and willing to try and grab your attention. There are some faults to be had (such as some supporting characters that get little characterization), but it all seems nitpicky when you’re watching a film that has been so intelligently executed. The filmmakers knew what they had, and they worked with it.
The stakes are always high, and the best decision that the director made was to extend the tension as long as they could. From the first moment that Cage realizes he’ll have to fight, and we follow him painstakingly until his drop to some of the last this film is wrought with moments that threaten our characters. They aren’t safe, and we shouldn’t ever feel like they are. Aided by a heavy hitting score by Christopher Beck (Frozen), the film never loses its edge of anticipation.
Go see this film. It was made for summer viewing, and it’s going to get lost in the shuffle of bigger names and titles with bigger fan followings. It’s easily the highlight of the summer movie offerings to me so far. It’s a fun, laugh out loud, exciting ride. and it’s action at its best.
Edge of Tomorrow is now playing in theaters.