Tom Cruise is continuing his recent streak of action and science fiction films with “Edge of Tomorrow,” and it might be one of the best films he has done in years.
Cage is the name of Cruise’s character in “Edge of Tomorrow,” an arrogant Major in the U.S. Army whose main task in the military is public relations and the promotion of new exoskeletal armor suits. The suits Cage is promoting are being utilized by humanity in a five-year war against alien invaders who have conquered much of Europe.
The movie picks up just a few days before a massive invasion in which allied human forces plan to drive through the alien threat to win the war. Unfortunately for Cage, he ends up unwillingly being thrust into the invasion force and he is revealed to be a man with little combat skills and turns out to be, by all means, a coward.
It doesn’t take long into the invasion before Cage is killed in combat against the alien threat, however, after he dies he wakes up 24 hours before the invasion takes place. He soon learns that every time he dies he wakes up in the same moment. Because of this ability, he may just be the one legitimate hope for humanity to win.
“Edge of Tomorrow” works very well in the story department thanks to its execution. The film utilizes the sci-fi element of time looping, made famous in the 1993 film Groundhog Day, in a way that will constantly keep people guessing and on the edge of their seats.
Not only does the story work because of the well executed sci-fi element, it is also helped by nice pacing. The movie never lets the audience feel bored, since the stakes are so high and the characters are constantly trying to find out how to survive longer before repeating the day over. While being fast paced, the film doesn’t rush over things, allowing the main characters to be fleshed out and not one dimensional.
The biggest and most pleasant surprise about “Edge of Tomorrow” was its sense of humor. By no means is it a comedy, but the film had a lot of wit, which helped break the tension and allowed for a fun viewing experience. The writers struck a nice balance between humor and serious action drama.
The only point the movie stumbles is toward the end. It’s not bad by any means, it just could have used a little more explanation. The film could have easily used 10 more minutes to describe the situation more thoroughly.
In regards to acting, Cruise shows off his veteran acting skills here and delivers a nice performance. Through his acting, the audience can see his character’s transition from coward to legitimate hero. This is also helped by the writing, which clearly shows his character development.
Emily Blunt was fantastic as the stoic, strict character Rita. She pulls off the hardened combat veteran nicely, but still brings an emotion to show there is depth to her character. On top of that she has good chemistry working with Cruise.
A surprisingly nice aspect to the movie was the supporting cast. Most noticeable is Bill Paxton, who plays Cage’s superior officer on the battlefield. Paxton is over the top with his character, but the energy he puts in actually helps give the movie more life and it fits the movie’s tone.
Also well handled was the platoon Cage was assigned to. The audience is introduced to the various characters in his unit just enough to be familiar with them so they have a higher impact when they reappear near the movie’s climax.
“Edge of Tomorrow” is also worth the price of admission for the action. The best part is how the filmmakers shot the invasion landing. The idea of having to repeat the same event over and over allowed for many different angles and view points. This allows for some great long shots of the battle that pans over everything going on. Additionally, there are some great moments where the action is up close and well captured by the camera.
The design for the aliens seemed original, which is always good to see. There are times when Hollywood monsters and aliens can get a bit stale, so seeing one that’s more unique is welcome. The exoskeleton armor suits, which have all sorts of firepower that gets put on full display through the various battles, were also great.
Cruise’s latest film is one of the best 2014 movies so far. The great execution of the science fiction element and exciting action moments are backed up by a developed story with good performances from the cast. The movie could have been tightened at a few points, mainly the end, but overall this one is very strong. High 4 out of 5.
This review was first published in the June 6, 2014 issue of the Wahpeton Daily News.