As always, when I see a movie in theaters, I will (attempt to) write the five things you need to know about it.
5 Things You Need to Know About…
EDGE OF TOMORROW
1) My Edge of Tomorrow cinematic experience was easily the most fun I have had in a movie theater since the awestruck majesty of Gravity. Coming on the heals of the depressing and disheartening redundancy of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, my continued movie theater patronage was at stake. Edge of Tomorrow was exhilarating with a purpose, expertly navigating an otherworldly premise (an ultimate reset button in a futuristic Groundhog Day scenario) with logic, consistency, and justifiable rules. Yes, it couldn’t happen, but at the same time, it all seemed to make sense (so, the anti-X-Men: Days of Future Past). Unabashedly humorous and intentionally staying away from a funereal mythology, Edge of Tomorrow reminded me of all that can be fun about an original action/science fiction picture and how more such highly original concepts (thank goodness for Christopher Nolan, Inception, and the overwhelming promise of Interstellar) should be made. Please.
2) It is no surprise that at the forefront of this temporary reversal of cinematic fortune is a performer who over the years has consistently been the reason to spend the extra dollars to see a movie in theaters: the man born Thomas Cruise Mapother IV. At the youngest age 51 (52 next month) in recorded history, Tom Cruise remains ever the magnetic force of nature. His onscreen draw and appeal, imbedded in his fearless commitment to character and story, to passionate determination, to performing his own stunts, and to maintaining the illusion that he is taller than 5′ 5”, crackles and sparks with classic Tom Cruise luster in Edge of Tomorrow. He is having a great time and exuberantly invites the audience to ride shotgun on the ride.
3) As this movie’s female counterpoint to the scene-chewing dominance of a Tom Cruise performance, Emily Blunt fits into her role with an “I don’t really care what you think, so I am going to do what I want whenever I want” command. She pitch matches every Cruise energetic burst with a powered punch of her own. Their strategic and plotted co-dependence appreciatively stays largely out of “will they get together?” trope zone. The goal is to survive, save lives, destroy the alien insurrection, and then, if possible, save each other. Blunt is just as her name suggests without losing an iota of likability (she had this going for her in Looper as well).
4) Thank you to Edge of Tomorrow for recognizing that action humor has a place in a dystopian destruction movie. Despite my love of his work, the Nolan-nification of storytelling has largely yield worlds of morose melancholy. In Edge of Tomorrow, although the world is in the roughest of shape, the movie does not lose sight of how both the audience and the players within the story have to laugh a little at the challenging circumstances. Doug Liman’s editing and quick hitting cuts pop and spark moments of joyous levity that force an audible audience response usually in the form of laughter, if not a inhabited smile.
5) The Edge of Tomorrow is a movie that feels like both a relic of the golden era of the non-superhero summer action movie (this is a great thing by the way) and a fresh and perfectly executed piece of modern audience entertainment. It moves with a pulse, with a swagger, and with the confident smile that has marked much of the career of its top-billed movie star. It is a movie star’s movie and easily one of the best ways to be entertained this summer.