Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Edge of Tomorrow review

Up until now, 2014 has been a bad year for sci-fi. The only major true science fiction blockbuster that I was really looking forward to, Transcendence, was terrible and Godzilla, which could be considered sci-fi, was a bit disappointing. In addition to that, the Wachowski's Jupiter Ascending was just moved to 2015, which is flat-out depressing. However, 2014 has been a great overall year with many great films in many different genres. It was only a matter of time before we got a great sci-fi movie, and I'm here to tell you that Edge of Tomorrow is that film. It's a tremendously exciting, funny, thrilling adventure film with great visuals, a fully realized world and terrific performances. This is an all-around great film and it holds up on multiple viewings (I've seen the movie twice now). Edge of Tomorrow is one of the best films of the year and a brilliant summer movie.

In Edge of Tomorrow, Tom Cruise plays Bill Cage, a cowardly military officer who pretty much does public relations to avoid fighting in a war against the Mimics, an alien race that has invaded Europe. When General Brigham (Brendan Gleeson) of the UDF (United Defense Force: the combined military might of all the world powers) orders that Cage go onto the battlefield and film promotional videos for Operation Downfall, a large-scale, D-Day-like invasion, Cage tries to run away, but ends up being caught and sent to the military base. 

Cage is immediately greeted by Sgt. Farell (Bill Paxton), who informs him that he has been labeled as a deserter and will be sent down with J-Squad as cannon fodder. Cage ends up landing on the beach, where he kills an Alpha Mimic, one of the higher-ups in the alien army. Cage immediately wakes up the next day and repeats the same scenario. Eventually, he meets Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), a figurehead for the war, who tells him the source of his new power. Rita then has to train Cage to become a better soldier so that they can find the thing that will win them the war. 

I was interested in Edge of Tomorrow for a long time, but my excitement hit another level once the reviews started pouring in. The critics were really digging it and I hoped that the movie would deliver. It truly does. This is one of the best-constructed summer blockbusters of the modern era, a film that is entertaining, compelling and well-directed from start to finish. Edge of Tomorrow simply blew me away. 

Exposition is really hard to get right, especially for original movies. The audience has to know what's going on in the movie, but it can't be too obvious. One of the few problems in the otherwise-great X-Men: Days of Future Past was that it literally spelled everything out in a three minute conversation. It was so painfully straight-forward. Edge of Tomorrow has one of the best first acts in recent memory. Director Doug Liman and the screenwriters establish what is going in the story, who the characters are and what is about to happen with precision, setting up the film spectacularly. 

However, I also thought that Godzilla's first act was brilliant, the second act solid and the third act lacking in awe and wonder. Edge of Tomorrow is a feat of action filmmaking because it keeps up the pace throughout the entire film. In addition to that, even though the film does feel slightly long, each and every scene has some sort of purpose to the plot. When I first saw the movie, I felt that a couple scenes were out of place, but on a second viewing, the scenes feel just right. Everything moves smoothly and it leads to a conclusion that is a little murky at times, but also quite stunning. 

The characters in this movie are very memorable and they're played by actors who have a clear vision for what they want to do with the character. Tom Cruise is in every scene in this film and does a really good job. He's very funny in the movie and he plays an off-type character. Career-best is a bit of stretch, but he's great in the film. Emily Blunt also knocks it out of the park as the tough-as-nails Rita. Blunt plays Rita as a tough woman who also has some hidden emotion. Like Cruise, Blunt injects a lot of humor into the film and does a fantastic job. The supporting cast is also strong. Bill Paxton is splendid as Sgt. Farell, an American officer from the Deep South. He's simply excellent. And Brendan Gleeson is fantastic as always. 

The action and cinematography are also pitch-perfect. Each action scene is well-filmed, with a few stunning shots and just the right amount of shaky-cam. The beach invasion is stunning and the suspense is built from the beginning. Some have complained about the third act of this movie, but it really is a perfectly executed climax that features some spectacular action. There's also tension throughout this whole movie, which is hard to find these days in big blockbusters.

What surprised me the most about this movie though was the humor. This is a hilarious movie. It is so funny. And it's not funny in the way that the Marvel movies are. Edge of Tomorrow has a dark sense of humor and it helps the movie become a lot more enjoyable than it should be. The humor and the characters and the visuals are what set this movie apart from every other disaster action movie. It's just a fresh, exciting, funny, well-directed movie all-around.

It's tragic to see that a movie like this isn't doing well at the box office. This is the kind of brilliant Hollywood action movie that deserves to be making money. Now granted, most of the movies this summer have been good, but Edge of Tomorrow is my favorite so far. It's a brilliant film filled with energy, suspense, humor and a surprising amount of heart. Edge of Tomorrow is simply one of the year's best films, an action movie that I'll remember for a long time to come.

THE FINAL GRADE:  A+                                             (9.8/10)


  1. The movie is awesome... You'll be in your seats for all 113 minutes, amazed at concept, action and 3D. If you know 'source code', then you'll understand that the theme is similar...with a smarter enemy and lot more action. Definitely worth watching

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