You know when you play a hard video game and you die a thousand times, but you slowly take into account your mistakes and eventually get to the end? That's basically Edge of Tomorrow.
Aliens have invaded earth and we must keep them from leaving the European continent and spreading to other parts of the world. We have developed exoskeletons to fight these creatures, which seem extremely effective after a woman, nicknamed "The Full Metal Bitch" killed over 100 of them with her exoskeleton. The humans think they are winning, so they begin a full-on invasion in order to wipe out the rest of the alien scum. Tom Cruise, basically a military ad man, gets sent to make this invasion look favorable to the remaining European people....by filming acts of valor on the front lines. Cruise plays a scummy coward, not really up for the task of joining the front, but ends up there anyway. Through certain events, he discovers that he is reliving the same day over and over again, and must die to reset the day.
My main concern about this film was the potential for boring repetitive battle scenes; how many times can I handle watching the same battle over and over? This ended up not being a problem at all, each day managed to stay fresh and have different outcomes than the last. What we got was a movie where Cruise was extremely out of character as a coward, scumbag, and weakling, who eventually developed into his usual cocky, Ethan Hunt-style badass self. Bill Murray proved that if you are reliving the same day over and over, it's a perfect opportunity for self-improvement, and that's what happens in Edge of Tomorrow. Cruise has no idea how to fight, but by the end, he's a warrior.
Another thing I appreciated about this movie, the female lead had substance. Played by Emily Blunt, she wasn't just the typical, mindless action film sex doll. She had thoughts, independence, and was actually pretty awesome all around. The character almost seemed conscious of female action film stereotypes, doing whatever she could to veer away from that idea of a woman. Ultimately, she was a soldier, and she never broke character at any point. I expected to see her soften up to a woman dependent on Cruise, but at no point does she ever fall into this trap of the damsel in distress.
There were so many opportunities for failure in this movie, but somehow, Edge of Tomorrow managed to work. The main complaints I have were small, such as the dumb naming strategy that this movie had for naming aliens. The humans called the aliens "Mimics", giving no real reason for the name, or any clues as to why the entire earth calls them that. You'd think that after thousands of alien movies that the endangered citizens would have come up with less stupid names by now. Tom Cruise's last scifi blockbuster, Oblivion, fell into the same naming trap with "Scavs". I would gladly accept a job where I could come up with better names for alien races portrayed in movies.
Edge of Tomorrow is a movie worth the ten or so dollars you end up spending nowadays. It has all the makings of a summer blockbuster, and it will keep you at the edge of your seat (no pun intended), and give you a few chuckles along the way.