Edge of Tomorrow ★★★½

What do you call a movie that gives away the gist of the entire plot in the trailers, has its share of noticeable plot holes and still manages to woo its audience? I don't know but after a first viewing Edge of Tomorrow certainly fits that category. After more than 10 years after experiecing Mission: Impossible II in the movie theather I returned to watch yeat another action-packed extravaganza starring Tom Cruise. Much like that day all those years back, he failed to disappoint.

This time, he shares the spotlight with the lovely Emily Blunt as they star as two grunts who are part of a global cohalition army fighting an alien invasion in the near-future (feel free to look at the whole thing as a prequel to last year's Oblivion). Although Cruise is obviously the bigger name, his character Major Cage starts out by playing second fiddle to Blunt's Rita Vrataski, a sword-wielding war hero and the face of entire armed movement. But when Cage discovers that his death is everything but everlasting, he discovers the truth behind Rita and both end up forming a secret alliance against the invading horde.

As it was made obvious by the trailers, the plot draws from the Source Code/Groundhog Day formula of having the protagonist return to a checkpoint back in time. What separates Cage from the other two protagonists is the fact that his experience doesn't have an alloted time before it has to restart. That only happens when Cage dies, which triggers him waking up back where he started. It's not really a fresh approach to the genre but as derivative options go, this one does pretty well with its material to even begin being called a carbon copy of any other script.

The marriage between action sci-fi ultimately ends in fruition following on the steps of 80s classics like Aliens or Terminator but the relationship is a little rocky at first. The script doesn't dwell on the past so there's little background on the aliens or the human race before the events of the film. It insists on introducing characters that we get to see again and again but, apart from Cage and Rita, no one is fleshed out outside the lines they repeat again after the chain of events is restarted. There are also some inconsistencies regarding Rita's storyline that don't connect well into the science we are taught during the film but that, for better and worse, end up not mattering to the protagonists' endgame. Still, they're there and they're evident.

After a slow first act, the film finally decides it has enough to let the audience work with and starts kicking up gears faster, ending in an amazing third act that felt straight out of a James Cameron movie. The action tends to fast-paced, even if the exoskeletons the humans use in combat seem clunky and heavy, and it goes everywhere from a colossal beach landing to encounters with a stealthier approach. Doug Liman doesn't shy away from displaying all the blood and gore on the screen, even if he's usually credited for beginning the "shaky cam" craze back in the 'Bourne' franchise. I'm surprised he got some of the imagery through considering this a PG-13 film.

In the middle of it all there are those two characters and in the end the movie is more about them than anything else. However, not in the way you might think. There some small sparks here and there but the relationship between Rita and Cage never takes that extra step into the romantic field, which is all for the better. It breaks the stereotype of needing your leads to have ulterior motives to be together and it makes the resolve of both characters seem more genuine because, for once, action heroes actually worry more about the fate of their world on the brink of Apocalypse rather than their funny bits.

Cruise is a natural at running over the place and Emily Blunt is a revelation as a valkyrie. It's odd that, after all those romantic and comedic roles, it ends being an action film where she hits her stride in charisma, acting prowess and even sexual appeal. It's not too late to recast Wonder Woman, DC...

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