I finished watching Edge of Tomorrow, and I was confused. After riding high on a well-written plot that moved quickly and stayed logically consistent, it broke its own rules.
A good story sets expectations from the beginning as to what kind of story it’s going to be. This is a comedy, there will be silliness. This is action, there will be many shots fired and few people hit. This is sci-fi, it will show you an alternate reality. But all of them establish some frame of belief, a code of law, the laws of this particular story.
Art comes in different flavors, some strongly themed and some light stuff, because we all need to have some candy and indulge ourselves. So it’s important to observe art on this sliding scale.
With Edge of Tomorrow, I came away disappointed, but I take as much responsibility for this as the creators. My expectations were set a bit higher than a sci-fi action flick, and that is thanks to the acting ability of Cruise and Blunt.
But ironically, my disappointment came from the power of the plot, a plot which marched forward with clear premise. Cruise’s character, Cage, relives the same day, again and again, after he dies, and his purpose is to find the Omega to destroy it and save the earth. Then, in the last scene, the foundation of the premise was broken, causing structural failure of the story.
This movie was sweet, airy cotton candy from the start, weakly themed and with no meaningful lesson learned by the characters. But I believe that films with more depth have a responsibility to the consumer to stay focused. Otherwise, the piece becomes self-indulgent, the writers and directors not showing up fully, and, in fact, disrespecting their own story. And just as important, disrespecting the consumers’ time.
Luckily, the internal contradiction of the Edge of Tomorrow came at the end where it didn’t confuse the rest of the movie, but being at the end, it deflates the feeling of awe at Cage’s success, and so diminishing its levity.
He saved the world! Ehhh, is that all he did? Ah, well, that was entertaining.