jgarron’s review published on Letterboxd:
Like last year with Oblivion, Tom Cruise has kick started the summer with a fun, above average, "original", and smart sci fi film. I put original in quotations because firstly the film is based on a graphic novel and secondly because to be honest it is pretty much Groundhog Day but with aliens and guns. However this film does what I thought Oblivion did well also (though others may disagree on this point). The film borrows this idea that we have seen before, a time loop and the day playing over and over again, yet it finds a way to put its own twist and make it its own. The time loop idea is not so much original but rather the use of it, to put it in a war scenario made it something not seen before and thus that is where the originality comes from. I said this with Oblivion where everyone likes to point out that many ideas come from other films yet I felt that Oblivion did a good enough job of putting a twist on them and that twist, that re imagining if you will, gave the film some creativity or originality.
Now what the film does a fantastic job of doing is finding the perfect balance of humour and serious action. The humour and jokes that came from reliving the same day over and over where spot on and hit their mark. When the film was supposed to get serious it was evident based on the stark contrast to the humourous bits. The tone shifts were very clear and precise. With the action as well I was glad that, apart from the mimics, this was not some huge overblown CGI mess. The effects and look of the film was top notch and the action set pieces were well set up.
No matter what happens, you just can't bruise the Cruise. Cruise is one of those rare actors where even though in the movie always see him as Tom Cruise he finds a way to really become his character. Its not so much look at Tom Cruise pretend to be a soldier it really is look at Tom Cruise BE a soldier. He did a great job of bringing the humour and seriousness needed for the character and looked great kicking ass. With Emily Blunt it is hard to say much about her since the majority of the film she was kind of one note, the serious bitch. There were a few moments where she kind of opened up but not enough to really connect with her. With this it was kind of hard to establish any real chemistry between Cruise and Blunt. This leads into the only real downfall I had with the film.
Until the end bit I was really enjoying this film and thought it was fantastic, but then I was suddenly brought back to Earth and reminded that this was a summer blockbuster. It kind of irked me that they had to try and insert a romance between both Cage and Rita when really it wasn't necessary and actually when you think about it a bit creepy. Again its like Groundhog Day where he learns everything about Rita and seemingly uses that to his advantage to almost woo her. The romance seems so one sided in that Cage has gotten to know Rita yet she has no clue about him at all. Thus in the ending when they kiss it seems even more forced especially since she still doesn't know him all that well. Like Source Code, which also uses a type of time loop thing, the film feels like it has to finish a good film with a by the book happy ending out of no where. Unfortunately it is by creating this happy ending that the film finally raises unwanted questions about the consistency of its use of time travel or loops and leaves too much to assumption and thus available to nitpicking for paradoxes or plot holes. The convenience and use of it was just a bit too much for me.
Even with the poor ending it is not enough to overshadow the whole film for me. As I said it was only till the ending that I was reminded that this should be a dumb summer blockbuster, meaning that the majority of the film was a smart, entertaining, and above average blockbuster. Looked great, the acting was well done, the script was clever, humourous, and serious when it needed to be, there weren't any clear paradoxes or plot holes in regards to time (looking at you Days of Future Past), and finally it ended with a FIFA song. What more could you ask for in a summer sci fi blockbuster?