Edge of Tomorrow ★★★★½

I enjoyed Tom Cruise's most recent sci-fi vehicle, Oblivion, so I was looking forward to Edge of Tomorrow, but I didn't expect it to be as intense, exciting, and cool as it was. I'm a sucker for movies dealing with time travel, or time loops in this case, but that is not the only reason I was fascinated by Doug Liman's latest effort. I haven't cared for any of Liman's films since The Bourne Identity. He has a knack for adrenaline-fueled pacing and integrating special effects skillfully, but the script isn't always there for him. It is this time thanks to a trio of screenwriters adapting Hiroshi Sakurazaka's novel All You Need is Kill. The universe is laid out well, the characters are colorful, and the blend of humor, action, and intrigue is fabulously handled.

Tom Cruise still knows how to bring his A-game. He is an excellent performer and is magnetic on screen from start to finish. Never count him out. He establishes innate chemistry with Emily Blunt, who is also wonderful. I could watch her do that yoga pose for days. Elsewhere we have terrific supporting turns from Bill Paxton and Brendan Gleeson, just to name a couple.

I also loved the battle sequences in Edge of Tomorrow. They conveyed a realistic sense of what war is like, utilizing random dangers and unpredictable encounters to create an atmosphere of chaos. We are dropped in the middle of this same battle over and over again, yet the setting is continually observed in newly mesmerizing, powerful, and vivid ways. I also appreciated the design of the alien. Too often in modern science-fiction films, one immediately gets reminded of the xenomorph or predator, but these creatures didn't give off that vibe right away.

Sure, we have had comparable offerings like Groundhog Day or Source Code, but the beauty of time travel as a concept or a means to an end is that it can be weaved into the fabric of a story in a fresh manner all the time. Character development might take a backseat to the action and slick visuals, but it is still there, especially towards the last act. The music by Christophe Beck is solid as well. Even though the plot embraces a basic good versus evil approach, we still get the feeling like this is a "spur of the moment" movie, as if it character's decisions and mistakes are constantly changing the outcome. I dug that. Edge of Tomorrow will definitely end this summer as one of the more satisfying blockbusters and one I will eagerly be picking up to watch again. BUYABLE.