Edge of Tomorrow (Movie, 2014)

I finally got around to seeing Edge of Tomorrow. Despite not being the world’s biggest Tom Cruise fan (especially when it comes to his science fiction movies), I was really excited to see it. The praise the movie received also added to the hype. Overall, I was very pleased.

In a past review for last year’s Superman, I praised the action sequences as being the best videogame movie yet. If ‘videogame movies that aren’t actually based on videogames’ is to be a genre, then Edge of Tomorrow will likely be its poster child. The entire movie I felt like it would make a really fun (and innovative) first person shooter. Think the time control mechanics of almost every indie platformer mixed with a roguelike approach to trial-and-error combat with a sweet sci fi FPS motif. Though game adaptations of movies are almost always horrible, I’d love to see someone take a stab at Edge of Tomorrow.

All in all, the movie’s story is solid and the script has a lot of good lines. I think it could’ve been improved with a slightly more self-aware and gorey upgrade to Rated R ala Starship Troopers, but it works as is too. I really enjoyed Bill Paxton’s character as he was a pretty standard military movie trope stuck on repeat. He managed to bring some charm and life to the role. Oh and since I was curious, Science Hill, Kentucky, is a real place. Go figure.

I definitely get why Edge of Tomorrow was well-received. Though not exactly an edgy movie, it’s a ton of fun bringing Groundhog Day to a war movie, even if it still had to stick to the conventions of being a Tom Cruise movie. For instance, I understand that he doesn’t need a helmet since he’ll just learn from any of his mistakes when he dies, but it took me out of the movie at times. It felt more like an executive decision of “Hey, we’re paying Tom Cruise a ton of movie, so let’s keep him as recognizable as possible for 99% of the movie.” Same goes for co-star Emily Blunt, though replace ‘lots of money’ with ‘only real female character’.

My only real complaint is spoiler-heavy, so I’ll save it for below. If you haven’t yet, Edge of Tomorrow is a fun summer sci fi movie that is worth seeing. I definitely recommend it.

SPOILERS AHOY

Okay, so while it isn’t an unusual or atypical complaint, Edge of Tomorrow’s ending really hurt my feelings about the movie overall. In typical tacked on Hollywood fashion, we get an awesome sci fi B movie that has to end happily or at least with the suggest of a near happy ending.

I get it. We’re supposed to root for Emily Blunt and Tom Cruise defying the odds and ending up together. However, this is still a war movie. Even with the fancy time control powers, I think the romantic angle did need to extend beyond the few fantastic scenes where we see Tom Cruise’s character struggle with some very natural, human issues. He’s spent a ton of time with this woman and he has begun to care about her.

Yet, I really liked Emily Blunt’s character before she kissed Tom Cruise. I liked that her previous experience with the time powers left her scarred. They should. It has to take a toll on a person to repeatedly die, over and over, while getting to know these people more and more to try and advance your mission. I am glad they didn’t go even more over-the-top with the romance, but I wish they had stuck closer to the human cost of war to those who don’t necessarily die fighting.

Plus, how exactly does that ending work mechanically within the film? Why does Tom Cruise go back even further than before? It reminds me of his previous sci fi summer blockbuster, Oblivion.

SPOILERS FOR OBLIVION In that movie, Tom Cruise is a clone and when he finally destroys the evil aliens that have overtaken the human race, he dies after the brilliant line, “Fuck you, Sally.” For some horrifying reason, the movie continues after that and Tom Cruise’s love interest meets up with one of his clones and presumably has a happy ending with her near-love. END SPOILERS FOR OBLIVION

I don’t get why Tom Cruise sci fi movies have to go on an extra five minutes so we can get a happy ending that undercuts the sacrifice the characters make over the course of the movie. He’s happy when he sees Emily Blunt again after the war is won, but what did Tom Cruise really lose after dying hundreds of times and watching a woman he likely has fallen in love with die hundreds of times as well? All we get to see is a smile, so we can likely assume not much.

In other words, Edge of Tomorrow is around five minutes too long. Walk out early unless you have a sweet tooth for Hollywood saccharine bullshit.

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