Edge of Tomorrow is a near-future, sci-fi, action journey that plays out like a video game and manages to be more realistic than most action movies despite its use of time travel. Recently demoted military officer Cage (Tom Cruise) is dropped into battle against seemingly invincible aliens where he promptly dies and then finds he has the power to live the day over and over again. Rita (Emily Blunt) is a revered veteran who not only understands his power, but is the one who will show him how to end the war. It’s loosely based on Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s novel All You Need is Kill.
When I first saw the trailer for it I was excited about seeing Emily Blunt in an action role and I was intrigued by the premise. The good news is those both held up after seeing the movie itself. Astonishingly, the people behind Edge of Tomorrow found a way to make watching someone who is in way over his head, failing over and over again not remotely boring.
Cruise is more likeable in this role than any other performance of his I can remember. And Blunt wonderfully plays Rita like a human being instead of the stoic bad-ass stereotype we usually get in an action movie. In the marketing though I heard several times that Blunt’s character is known in the movie as the Full Metal Bitch. It was lauded like it was something any woman would be flattered to be called. I found that off putting, but in Edge of Tomorrow that title is graffiti and the one time someone is about to refer to her by that to her face, someone else cuts them off. She’s actually referred to more often as The Angel of Verdun due to her astounding success in her first battle. It’s a strange dissonance.
That anyone would bother attempting to fight these aliens at all is actually kind of remarkable. They’re referred to as Mimics, and if you’ve read the Star Wars Expanded Universe, they’re like metal Killiks with Abeloth tentacles and a bit of Ship thrown in. They can spin and leap with much speed and agility. They can move underground. They’re coordinated. They can learn from past mistakes and start a period of time over again to use that new knowledge. And they have about five different ways they can kill. I still don’t understand where they were firing out of as they don’t seem to carry weapons, but my biggest issue with them is that a few important scenes with them are too dark, making it hard to understand what’s happening at those times.
For the most part Edge of Tomorrow makes sense though and seems to follows its own rules as long as we don’t count the last ten minutes of the movie. I’m not going to spoil what happens but let’s just say the interesting premise of the entire story fell apart right at the finish line. I had to go look for articles on it afterward to make sure I saw what I thought I saw.
Thanks to the marketing and the less-than-stellar box office performance this movie got moved from my to-see-in-theaters list to my wait-for-the-DVD list. Then it seemed like the studio changed the name when it came out on DVD. The original tagline “Live. Die. Repeat” started appearing larger than “Edge of Tomorrow” and vendors even were listing it as Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow. Yes, the original title wasn’t that great, but there’s no need to confuse people at this point in the game. Somehow I still decided to watch it and I’m glad I did. Even though it was yet another movie based on an already published story, it felt refreshing. It was even a bit funny, albeit in a dark way. Edge of Tomorrow is not the best movie of the year, but it’s worth watching once – no need to repeat.
Edge of Tomorrow was part of my Top Ten Movies to See in 2014 aka Only Grand Captain Mockingjays of Future Tomorrow.
Kay grew up wanting to be an astronaut. After seeing Star Wars, she wanted to be Princess Leia, Han Solo, and an astronaut. Life’s taken her on a bit of a different path for now, but she’s still a Star Wars fangirl at heart who enjoys surprising people with how geeky she really is. A voice actor, photographer, and artist who also consults in communications and marketing, Kay spends the little bit of free time she has reading, dancing around, writing, learning and, of course, making pew pew noises. You can follow her on Twitter.
Kay reviews Star Wars books for FANgirl in addition to movies of several genres with a heart for storytelling and a mind that likes to analyze. She also writes about fandom reflections and fashion as well as co-hosts the Hyperspace Theories podcast. She has been known to make appearances on other podcasts including Fangirl Chat, Nerd Lunch, Disney Vault Talk's Rebel Yell, and Assembly of Geeks.
Currently a voice actor, photographer, and artist who also consults in communications and marketing, Kay spends the little bit of free time she has reading, writing, learning and, of course, making pew pew noises. She would pick up more jobs and hobbies if she was a Time Lord.
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