My Spoiler-Free Thoughts on "Edge of Tomorrow" (DVD Repost Edition)

Full disclosure, I previously posted this when I first saw the movie in the theater, but I'm fairly sure that nobody ever saw it. Since there's now a way to have a chance of getting my posts on O-Deck, and the DVD was just released yesterday, I figured this would be a good time to try it again.

I finally just got around to seeing Edge of Tomorrow. I was looking forward to it, because I'm in what seems to be the minority of people who still really likes Tom Cruise (it does not matter if he's insane in real-life, he's still a good actor), and I think the Groundhog Day concept is a really fun one, and one that is well-suited to the action genre. Plus, the movie seemed to be quite well-reviewed (90% on Rotten Tomatoes, at the time I write this). It had a lot going for it, so I was hoping it would be an action-movie experience to rival the sheer entertainment satisfaction I've been getting from Marvel Studios movies lately.


Those were my feelings before seeing the movie; I guess the quickest summation of my feelings after seeing the movie is that it was definitely worth the cost of a ticket, but I won't be in any hurry to see it again. I feel like it basically delivered what you expect it to deliver once you hear the premise, but not much more than that. The action wasn't anything particularly special or unique for sci-fi; the aliens looked cool, but not cool enough to rise above all the other cool-looking aliens out there. Personally, I didn't feel like there was anything terribly special or memorable about the dialogue or plotting; they promised us "Groundhog Day fighting aliens," and that's what we got, no more, no less.

That paragraph may read a little more critical than I actually feel, though. Let's be honest; no matter how by-the-numbers the execution may have been, the concept of "Groundhog Day fighting aliens" is a very fun one, which is absolutely worth telling even without a stunningly-perfect execution. I think unique concepts for movies, especially in science fiction, should be celebrated, and this one definitely wasn't all that much like anything else out there.


I also enjoyed how the soldiers' armored exo-skeletons almost seemed to be a precursor to the Mobile Infantry of Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers (the book, not the ludicrously-loose movie adaptation). I thought the technology described in that story was a very cool concept, and seeing a sort of prototypical version of that was pretty fun. I also thought the movie did a really good job of making these suits seem like a very early, imperfect stage of what could later develop into a very powerful technology, instead of jumping straight from present-day tech to crazy-futuristic stuff.

A few words about the cast; Tom Cruise delivered exactly what you expect from Tom Cruise. Like the premise itself, he was neither more nor less than what you expect from him, so if you already like him, you'll like him just as much here, and if you don't, this one won't probably change your mind (but then, if you don't like him, you'll probably enjoy seeing him die repeatedly). I do think that he did a good job of selling his original nature as a non-combatant who gradually hardens over the course of the movie (but again, if you're predisposed against him, I doubt that'll be enough to change your mind). Emily Blunt was perfectly suited to the role of his battle-hardened comrade, in a pivotal second-lead role, and a very strong female character (who, I would dare to say, demonstrates the ineffectiveness of the Bechdel Test, since this movie would fail it despite the fact that the leading female is just as strong a character as the leading male). Also, we definitely need more giant swords in action movies. Get on that, Hollywood.


The rest of the cast was pretty incidental. Having recently enjoyed his role as the villain of the critical arc in the first season of Agents of SHIELD, I was happy to see Bill Paxton as the stereotypical tough sergeant, but he really didn't play much of a part once the bullets started flying. It seemed like they were really trying hard to give J-Squad some personality and three-dimensionality as well, but they ultimately seemed pretty stock to me. Other than a couple scenes with Brendan Gleeson as the general, a generic scientist-expositor, and some purely-CG aliens, that was just about the whole cast. Basically, it's a two-person show, but those two people are more than adequate to carry the movie.

Ultimately, I enjoyed Edge of Tomorrow as a decent, unique sci-fi action movie, but I think the chances of me bothering to watch it again any time soon are pretty slim. Still, I think this a pretty good model for the type of engaging and unique sci-fi spectacle more people should be trying to make.

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