Box Office Democracy: “Edge of Tomorrow”
I’m always rooting for sci-fi action movies to succeed and when it became clear that Edge of Tomorrow was going to be equal parts sci-fi action and Groundhog Day I was ready to love this movie. Unfortunately the movie they delivered has the distinct feel of studio notes all over it leaving it feeling a little too much like a Tom Cruise movie than any of the component parts. I like Tom Cruise movies but it hurts this premise to make it hit all the same beats of a Mission: Impossible film.
The war sequences are amazing. The creature design on the mimics is the most original I’ve seen in quite some time. It’s so good that I can even forgive them never explaining why a race of aliens that never mimic anything are called mimics. The combat is frenetic and dynamic and exciting even when you’re seeing basically the same sequences time and time again as the characters repeat through the cycle. The endlessly repeating training montage feels a little less fresh as it’s just in one room over and over. Every time they pick up the pace of the film it’s a joy to watch.
It’s a shame they feel the need to drop the pace down so often. They force this love story on us between Tom Cruise’s William Cage and Emily Blunt’s Rita Vrataski and before they just tell us he feels like he needs to save her all they show us is her shooting him every time he gets injured in training. They tell us that he’s seen her die an uncountable number of times but why wouldn’t they show us some of that instead of telling us about the affection and showing us a bunch of training scenes? There’s also a strange tonal shift in the second act of the movie where everything slows way down and that was considerably less fun than everything else. They could have just delivered a shorter movie and had fewer scenes where Tom Cruise knows a lot of stuff because he’s lived so many times. This is where I fear the movie got changed because of the star, of course Tom Cruise needs a love interest and of course any scenes where we get a lot of dialogue out of Tom Cruise are great and shouldn’t be cut.
That ends up being the story of this movie for me. Stuff that makes a good sci-fi action movie really works. Stuff that plays on the time loop elements work too. Bill Paxton is excellent in this movie and basically all he does is react to time travel shenanigans. When the movie seems to be only out to serve Tom Cruise it falters. While there’s certainly far more good than bad in the bad is placed at crucial points like the middle and the end of the movie so it leaves a bad taste in the viewer’s mouth. I want more like this but I’d probably be happier with a smaller movie with a star who demands less attention.