Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

Edge of Tomorrow is Groundhog Day but with hostile aliens.

I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, I love Tom Cruise’s humorous approach and his dedication to the role; the special features talked a lot about how much effort was required to operate in the exosuit and how central the suit was to the portrayal of the main character, whose gradual transformation Cruise made believable. On the other hand, I found the war very real and very threatening.

This review has interesting things to say.

The repetition of certain shots and/or scenes is deftly handled and serves the story without ever becoming cumbersome, gimmicky or overused – which is really a feat in and of itself.


More on what I liked and disliked about the movie, including spoilers, below.

Death, death, and more death in
Edge of Tomorrow

I can’t imagine war. I can’t imagine being a man and being drafted. The recruits are jogging and chanting something about how they are soldiers and they are going to kill. And clearly Cruise’s character, in the general’s office, is not interested in touching that with a ten-foot pole. Me neither. So his horror as he is sent to the battlefield for the first time (and the second and third and so on) is real and understandable. Too real and understandable.

Throughout the movie, he gets better at killing; he gets better at dying. He knows he can start over, like a player of a video game, so it doesn’t matter if he dies; it doesn’t matter if other people die; they become unreal. Except for the woman, of course. He has to watch her die over and over. That horror is real, too.

Despite the fact that he comes back, all that dying or getting injured and having to be killed or commit suicide was inescapably dark, in my opinion. Okay, so you come back to life when you die, but doesn’t getting hurt still… hurt?

The ending of Edge of Tomorrow

So how does this movie have a happy ending? It kinda has to, but then, it feels wrong that it does. If Tom Cruise destroys the alien, surely he shouldn’t also get to survive. As it is, he doesn’t get the girl, since she doesn’t know him from their time fighting together, which didn’t happen.

It doesn’t make sense that he gets to start over from an earlier point in time, and that the aliens died from something that never, um, happened yet or whatever. I think it would make more “sense” (pfft, this is a time-travel plot) if maybe he survived and restarted (any old time) but didn’t remember. Or if every reset started with the helicopter and the failed conversation with the general, though that would have caused other plot problems, since he could just not go and talk to the general…

Actually, what I was expecting was to find at the end, a la Douglas Adams, was that the Earth had never been attacked in the first place, and Europe wasn’t in ruins, and nobody knew what a mimic was. Nope, that’s not part of the happy ending we get.

This article says Cruise pushed for a happy ending because he saw the film as a comedy.

What I didn’t like about Edge of Tomorrow

At the start of the movie, I thought mimics were shapeshifters that could look like people. I thought maybe Cruise was secretly a mimic, possibly a rebel mimic, or an unknowing spy. Nope.

After I saw the mimics, I thought the name didn’t fit but that they were pretty cool. Seeing the special feature about the mimics made me even more impressed. Still, I think they’re badly named.

I thought they were going to do something clever to get off the beach. Nope. Kept doing the same thing until it worked. But then all that was a dead end anyway.

This awesome sarcastic plot summary points out that there is no ticking time clock in the movie. Even when the reset power is lost, nobody says “We only have X hours left, according to this watch I’m going to keep looking at.”

What I liked about Edge of Tomorrow

I liked the humor. Cruise’s approach is to the plot structure is the source of that humor. The character seems omniscient because he has experimented and memorized what worked. It’s  exhausting but hilarious to watch. One mistake, and he has to start over and do everything again, perfectly—like that guy who plays that Super Mario Brothers Frustration level, cursing all the while.