It’s always nice to have a surprise at the movies. We’ve had the best Marvel movie, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and X-Men:Days of Future Past wasn’t too shabby.
But Edge of Tomorrow? What a surprise this is. Plain and simple it’s what a summer movie should be. It’s fresh, fast paced, exciting, and well executed. I know my action movies and THIS is an action movie done right. The premise is Groundhog Day meets Aliens, which nearly every review points out. The world was invaded by alien creatures and war began. Tom Cruise stars as Cage, an officer who has never seen the battlefield. Cage is thrown into battle, but here’s the catch. Every time he dies he ends up alive the previous day. He sets out to find Emily Blunt’s character Rita, who is a famous badass soldier in combat. The premise is well constructed and I applaud a movie for actually executing it’s premise that defies the usual blockbuster structure.
The script is witty and actually gives the actors human characters to work with. The structure is tight and rolls along line a machine. There’s no side stories that hold it back. It’s direct and does what it wants too and has an internal logic to itself. The script teaches us what we need to know by showing us things a few times and then it’ll jump forward and keep moving on. Just when we’re in the swing of things it shifts and we get something new. The editing is key to this growth and keeps the audience engaged. The editing is also well done to create humor and cuts out things we don’t need to see. It’s exactly like playing a video game. My comparison would be Halo meets Gear of War. This film is probably the first time I’ve seen video game style truly creep into a movie and be obvious about it. The visual effects and cinematography are easy on the eyes and actually quite good looking by using blues and grays. It reminded me of Children of Men in terms of aesthetic.
Cruise and Blunt both bring their A game. Tom Cruise plays against type here and starts off as a wimpy character. His change throughout is actually quite nuanced. Usually you can clearly spot when a character changes, but Cruise has the talent to actually make it a full seamless character change. They both have that X-factor that’s so rare among actors and this film actually lets them utilize it. Emily Blunt is one of my favorite actresses and here she has a strong female character to work with. It’s one of the best action heroines I’ve seen on screen in a while. I loved seeing the female character be the one in power guiding the male hero. Together their chemistry is on fire.
The action here is genuinely badass. Doug Liman doesn’t shoot it in a way that’s cinematically great, but it’s coherent and the sense of space is aces. We’re given humor, entertaining and sometimes exciting action sequences. In the first act it gets slightly repetitive. The first two thirds are more fresh than the final third. No worries though because Blunt and Cruise have such a strong chemistry that you’ll have fun watching even when it becomes too familiar. Their pairing is perfect for a film like this. My only issue with them is that their romantic relationship is a bit forced and we also only get to see Cage’s side of it. The premise makes it so he has to start over with her every time he dies so it’s all his perspective. This hinders their relationship in the audience’s eyes, but that’s also what is interesting about Cage as a character. He has to start over every time, but the film unfortunately doesn’t really dig into the psychological effects of that or offer us much of her side.
Where the other summer films sell either a monster or superheroes, this sells something old, and somewhat forgotten. The action film and the action hero. This is certainly one of the best pure action films in quite some time. I think it’s being wayyyyy over praised by people, but it’s the most satisfied I’ve felt watching a movie this year because it’s so structurally sound. This film sets out and does exactly what it wants too. It executes its premise extremely well and that’s all I can ask for from a summer film. That’s why it’s quite easily one of the best action films this year. It has few major flaws within itself and goes back to a time when films were original, and new.
You will not be disappointed if you want a good action movie. Director Doug Liman has made a fun, and exciting Sci-Fi action film. This movie is proof that popcorn movies are still good cinema. It’s thematic concerns aren’t necessarily strong and it’s character arcs aren’t anything profound. Sure there’s some cliches that slightly hold it back, but it’s premise and characters are so well handled that it’s easy to look past these issues. I do wish the finale wasn’t so obvious and that’s probably what holds me back from loving it, but even that I found exciting to watch. Overall this is easily the most well rounded and cohesive blockbuster of the year. It’s energetic, humorous and has personality. It doesn’t try to be anything wildly ambitious or special, but in doing so it actually becomes something new. So few big films actually execute their premise this well.
This is a type of film that I quite miss. A NON sequel franchise one. It deserves to be seen so Hollywood stops giving us these sequels and remakes. It frustrates me a lot that there’s so little originality in big blockbuster filmmaking. I have no doubt that by the end of the summer this will be among the better big studio flicks because it’s exactly what a summer movie should be and what I wish they still were. Like I said above, it’s got a few issues that come with its premise and it’s third act is predictable yet none of this really matters because I cared about the characters. It’s pop entertainment that offers you a variety of entertaining elements. This gives you new characters we’ve never seen and a story that’s uniquely told. It’s structure is tight, smart and delivered with care, which is all I could ask for in a blockbuster. Cruise and Blunt are both true movie stars. Edge of Tomorrow features entertaining action, humor, and strong lead characters. It’s the most satisfying summer movie of the year so far.