Editor’s note: spoilers follow.
The blockbuster has returned to summer. It’s only fitting that Tom Cruise helped deliver it – but not without the help of a strong performance by co-star Emily Blunt.
Edge of Tomorrow, the Doug Liman-directed adaptation of “All You Need Is Kill,” manages to be a hybrid of groundbreaking films like Groundhog Day and Matrix, utilizing a flurry of fireworks effects and strong character development to create a sci-fi masterpiece.
The story follows the weak and callow Cage (Cruise), who is the U.S. military PR specialist. He spins the war in a positive angle and gets people to join – only, he himself is a f*cking pussy. When ordered to film the war live, he refuses and is branded a traitor. He’s forced into battle – his first ever – where he and his crew are literally decimated. But before he dies he kills one of the aliens, a very special alien that has the ability to repeat time. The power is transferred into Cage’s blood, which sets him on an insane course of dying and repeating. This is where Cage meets up with Rita (Blunt), who I believe to be the Edge of Tomorrow‘s “Wizard of Oz” – she basically helps Cage get brains, a heart, find his courage and his way back home.
While I expected more fighting, Edge is more of a character piece about moral values and facing your fears, especially the fear of death. If anything, it felt like catharsis for the writers. The screenplay is really what makes Edge of Tomorrow such a cinematic gem, and writers Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth and Hiroshi Sakurazaka (novel) never let the rebirth “gimmick” get in the way of storytelling. In fact, the third act completely does away with regenerative powers and leaves our heroes in the moment of truth – there is no second chance. By removing said gimmick, the film is injected with an insane amount of tension and an extreme sense of urgency.
But none of that would have mattered if you didn’t care about the main characters. Cruise’s character arc was absolutely incredible; it was like watching the birth of John McClane, Ellen Ripley or Neo. And even though Cruise is the big name, Blunt ends up being the one who carries the film on her back by delivering a tremendous performance.
Edge of Tomorrow is the return of the summer blockbuster. It really does have it all. Instead of turning in an effects bonanza that’s lacking in heart and built on fear, it has the courage and brains to deliver something fresh, smart and everlasting. Edge will have you dying for repeat viewings for the rest of eternity.