Nutshell: I give Edge of Tomorrow a C+. Breathtaking visuals and a lead that’s always game for action can’t completely balance out a script that’s too repetitive even for it’s Groundhog Day Holocaust storyline. EoT continually re-starts, and though that’s a part of the plot, it wears thin after awhile. All the bang-boom-pow can only disguise the retread for so long; by the time the story decides to really matter, I’d suffered an ennui overdose that was tough to overcome.
Wasn’t Starship Troopers a cult-movie blast y’all? Don’t you wish you could repeat the fun of blasting aliens over and over and over and over and over again? Look no further, Edge of Tomorrow is here to help you with that. Tom Cruise is amped and ready to take on any and all stunts needed, Emily Blunt is here for chemistry and good ol’ heart-n-soul, and there’s a ton of red-shirts for aliens to plow through to make their journey feel truly harrowing. Let’s go!
The year is kinda-the-future. An alien life form crash-lands in Europe — apparently they didn’t hear that Euro Disney is a waste — and starts to decimate the human population. Seems that every time we try to out-think the buggers, they one-up us. How? Cue ROTC hotshot Major Cage, who ends up cocky-ing himself into a private’s uniform and onto the front line. In a firefight he kills a glowing-blue alien and then, as he dies, he suddenly wakes up 24 hours earlier. Was that a bad acid trip, or is something going on? You can bet on the latter.
Before you know it, he’s back where he died, but this time he’s a little wiser. Repeat this for about 20 times, and he meets fellow soldier — and hero — Rita (Emily Blunt), who doesn’t freak the hell out when Cage tells her they’ve met before. Instead, she says “find me when you wake up”. Why? Because the same thing happened to her; those alien buggers managed to figure out how to travel back in time, and re-play each battle like it’s Bill Murray’s nightmare ‘til they win. And now that Cage can do the same, why not try to beat ‘em at their own game?
Let me get this out right now; the visuals are absolutely spectacular. Spring for IMAX 3D if you can spectacular. Definitely see it on the big screen if you plan on seeing it spectacular. I especially love the aliens and their strange Balrog/Hairball Lovechild vibe. The breaking up the story flow by constantly re-hashing prior scenes wore me down after awhile though. At first it’s hilarious and gets the point across better than any exposition every could. Especially as Blunt’s Rita is a no-nonsense gal who’d rather blow Chase away and re-start the day than deal with problems in their mission. I blame the frustration with repeating to the real chemistry Cruise and Blunt have on-screen; their characters connect beyond their shared mission (duh; Movie 101 means Girl Parts and Boy Parts connect no matter what) and the screenwriters manages to have their personalities mesh well too. These two give 110%, and it definitely shows onscreen. I wanted to see how their characters progressed, and if they’d succeed.
But as far as the premise of the film goes? I didn’t need more than a few re-boots after I got the general idea. That said, my favorite scene that described the passage of time through repeating his day was a series of 3 second shots; Cage falling, Rita shooting him over and over again. It described how difficult it was while being funny as hell in a dark as hell kinda way. And there’s plenty of great dark humor here, as you’d expect from a battlefield storyline. Hoo-rah!
Once things get on track and the story flows without interruption — no spoilers — Edge of Tomorrow really takes off. Though the rest of the division that Cage and Rita work with seem to be nothing more than Ten Little Indians that go down one by one (see: any the Alien franchise, or any slasher movie), there’s just enough characterization in these toss-aways for me to feel a twinge each time someone bites it. With all the rebooting, it’s basically the Cruise and Blunt Show, but Bill Paxton as Master Sergeant Farell from Kentucky is hilarious, and can seriously rock the John Waters mustache.
Biggest problem? The ending, or as I like to call it, Let’s Fuck Up Our Story. You don’t have to be a paradox grumblepuss to have a problem with the strange, how’d-that-happen ending, but it doesn’t hurt. Okay fine, but if you click on the invisotext before seeing the film it’s on you:
Seriously. Cage wakes up not after the battle between the
Queen Omega Alien and finds himself at the very beginning of the story? C’mon now. If the aliens can re-set, it should have at least been at a later time, one where Cage was a grunt. Because the aliens are defeated before Cage is a member of the J Squad? That’s a huge continuity error, one introduced only to let Rita “first meet” Cage again. Whatever. They could have easily searched for each other, or had him meet her on the field as the aliens started to die. Fail.
All in all, you’ll probably love Edge of Tomorrow if you’re into Boom Boom Pow and leave things like coherent story and pacing behind. Depends on how you like your summer blockbusters. Mindless? Win! Thought-provoking? Maybe not. Edge of Tomorrow does leave you with a pleasant aftertaste though, and all the annoying re-boots tend to fade after you leave the theater. I’m thinking that’s the work of those pesky aliens.