“Edge of Tomorrow” isn’t expected to be the box office smash its $178 million budget suggests Warner Bros. hoped it would be, but at least audiences can expect one of the best big-budget movies in theaters this summer.
Critics love Tom Cruise‘s latest action film, which blends science fiction elements with a premise borrowed from classic Bill Murray comedy “Groundhog Day.” Like Murray, Cruise plays a man who is forced to “Live. Die. Repeat” for what must feel like an eternity, except instead of picking up women and causing trouble in a sleepy Pennsylvania town most famous for a rodent, Cruise must team up with a female war hero (Emily Blunt) to figure out how to stop an alien race from wiping out humanity.
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“Edge of Tomorrow” — director Doug Liman‘s adaptation of “All You Need Is Kill,” a Japanese novel with (arguably) a much cooler title — has garnered acclaim from 64 out of 70 critics currently aggregated on Rotten Tomatoes, which leaves it with a 90 percent “fresh” rating, at the moment.
TheWrap‘s Alonso Duralde joined the majority in praising the high-concept thrill ride, as well as the “nicely underplayed performance” by its 51-year-old star.
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“For a film about repetition, ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ never feels tired or familiar,” Duralde wrote in his review. “If there’s anything disappointing about the film, it involves the ending; it’s a defensible one, but everything leading up to it fooled me into expecting something smarter or more daring. Ultimately, though, ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ feels sharper and more clever than it might have been in other hands, and for a big summer star vehicle, that’s surprise enough.”
With a high-profile divorce from Katie Holmes and numerous bad headlines stemming from his involvement with the Church of Scientology now behind him, Associated Press critic Jake Coyle noted the well-made alien invasion extravaganza could do wonders for Cruise’s likability in the public eye.
“Cruise dies dozens of times over and over, often in comical ways. Does this sound like a great movie, or what?… Dying again and again, Cruise has rarely been so likable,” Coyle wrote. “Among countless sequels and remakes, the high-concept ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ — both a Tom Cruise celebration and parody — is the right kind of a rerun.”
New York Daily News critic Elizabeth Weitzman hammered home the same point before summing up the film as “everything you could ask for in a summer blockbuster.”
“You know what? None of us will ever marry Tom Cruise, or couch jump with him, or discuss our competing spiritual philosophies. Really, all he needs to do is entertain us. And as the sharp, suspenseful ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ reminds us, there are still very few superstars who do it better,” Weitzman wrote. “Cruise seems almost pathologically devoted to giving us a good time, which means he usually aims high in terms of material and collaborators. He’s got a dream team here.”
Film.com critic James Rocchi called “Edge of Tomorrow” the “pure-pleasure blockbuster to beat this summer.” Instead of focusing on its similarity to other films, he advised moviegoers to enjoy the new spin it puts on familiar tropes.
“It’s easy to dismiss the film as a pastiche of its influences — ‘Starship Loopers Save Private Ryan on the Longest Groundhog Day’ — but accurate as that joke is, it nonetheless does the film no justice,” Rocchi wrote. “Director Doug Liman and his team of screenwriters, Chris McQuarrie and the pair of John-Henry and Jez Butterworth, aren’t just re-cycling old plots and tropes but, rather, up-cycling them, making them shiny and new and fun in a way that not only works as entertainment but also works, superbly, with star Tom Cruise’s abilities and image to groovy, goofy effect.”
Guardian critic Peter Bradshaw, one of the few who found the repetition-based premise to be “dull,” also appears to have based much of his judgement by comparing it to “Groundhog Day.”
“Playing the same plot over again may conceivably be Liman’s postmodern tribute to the late Harold Ramis’s matchless comedy masterpiece, but when Bill Murray repeatedly lived out the same ridiculously banal day, it was (at least partly) a symbol of his emotional stagnancy. As for Tom Cruise as Cage, well … he starts off bad and winds up good, but really this isn’t a metaphor,” Bradshaw wrote. ” It is basically deadly serious, and after some moderate knockaboutfun, settles into something pretty dull. Where’s the edge?”