I had some rather mixed expectations for what I was getting into when I went to see Edge of Tomorrow, but any doubts I had about the movie quickly washed away in a wave of fantastic action! Tom Cruise delivers a great performance from the get-go, and his character evolves in front of you in a very interesting way.
After being accused of deserting during an all-out war between the human race and a mysterious alien force trying to take our planet, Cage (played by Cruise), a media consultant with the U.S. Military, gets mixed up in a battle that he is forced to relive over and over again. While doing so he encounters the badass war hero Rita (played by Emily Blunt), appropriately nicknamed the Full Metal Bitch, who informs Cage that she once had the same ability he has — the ability to reset the day by dying.
The film is presented beautifully. From the fight on the beach to the desecrated remains of Western Europe, the landscapes are breathtaking. And on top of that, the realistic yet stylized nature of the action reminded me of a gritty, action-oriented anime. With the big exoskeleton suits used by the troops, the over-the-top giant sword wielded by Rita, and the general fluid movements of Cage and Rita later in the film, some of the action feels more like a choreographed dance than a haphazard gunfight. And that is incredibly appropriate for this film.
The gruesome nature of the story paves the road for some rather dark humor, which surprised me, as all the trailers Warner Bros. has shown us made it seem like all work and no play. But watching Cage die over and over again to try to get his plans just right often results in some rather funny, albeit twisted, sticky situations. And watching him continue to try to convince his companions over and over again that he isn’t crazy makes for some great laughs.
But of course the film isn’t exactly a fun-romp through “War Land.” It is full of some pretty raw emotion, delivered incredibly by both Cruise and Blunt. The evolution of the characters in the film is superb. Watching Cage evolve from a complete novice who can’t even figure out how to turn the safety off on his firearm to a grizzled, hardened badass shows me more of the reasons I love Cruise as an actor. I genuinely felt his emotion as he went from lost to desperate to broken, finally becoming one hell of an awesome hero. Along with the tragic story of Cage falling in love with Rita while he is also forced to watch her die over and over again, there is a lot of emotion along with the laughs and explosions. And sometimes that’s just hard to find in the middle of Summer Blockbuster Season.
All in all, Edge of Tomorrow is a unique and fantastic journey. The evolution of the characters is amazing, the source material is fresh and engaging, and the acting is spot on. This is a film that I will gladly recommend to sci-fi buffs far and wide. I just hope that WB’s weirdly misleading marketing for the film doesn’t result in its downfall. It's worth the movie ticket, and get your popcorn ready, because it’s a thrill ride that’ll keep you on the edge of your seat!