Add "Edge of Tomorrow" to the list of blockbusters that critics love this summer. Doug Liman's rollicking time-loop adventure has a 90 percent Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, putting the Tom Cruise film's critical assessment on par with "X-Men: Days of Future Past" and well ahead of "Godzilla," "Neighbors" and "The Amazing Spider-Man 2." There's a reason for that: "Edge of Tomorrow" is awesome! It might be the best movie Tom Cruise has made since ... "War of the Worlds"? "Minority Report"? "Vanilla Sky"? "Jerry Maguire"? It's just so good. Ahead, the five most effective parts of "Edge of Tomorrow," the summer's best blockbuster thus far.
Tom Cruise Acts Like He Time-Traveled To His Halcyon Days
Playing a cowardly military official whose primary job is to convince people to join the armed forces and battle murderous alien monsters, Cruise is at his slick and slimy best in the early parts of "Edge of Tomorrow." Later, as he works his way up from scaredy-cat to battle-tested pro, he becomes the cocky action hero we all know and love. Cruise's Lt. Col. Bill Cage is Jerry Maguire in an exoskeleton, and one of the many joys of Liman's film is watching the 51-year-old Cruise summon the charms that made him a superstar in the first place.
It's Kind Of A World War II Movie (But With Aliens)
From the battle scenes set on Normandy Beach to the platoon of grunts that Cage is thrown into after he's accused of being a deserter to Bill Paxton's mustache, "Edge of Tomorrow" has a distinct throwback vibe throughout its running time. It's an old-school military movie, one that John Wayne would have probably made if there were alien spider monsters in 1948 Hollywood.
There's A 'Vanilla Sky' Reunion
Tech support! Noah Taylor is in "Edge of Tomorrow," not that anyone would know since he's been left out of the marketing campaign in favor of Cruise, Emily Blunt and explosions. (We still love you, Noah.) Taylor -- who appeared with Cruise in "Vanilla Sky" -- plays a scientist-y type who creates a key doohickey that helps Cage and Blunt's Rita Vrataski learn something very valuable about the alien invaders. His scenes are great, even without accompaniment from The Beach Boys.
Let's Make Emily Blunt Lead All The Action Movies
Burying the lede somewhat, but, man, Emily Blunt completely destroys everything in "Edge of Tomorrow." As the aforementioned Rita, aka the global military's "full metal bitch," Blunt is a war hero and beacon of hope for the human race. She also never once lets Cage off the hook. To wit: As part of the film's time-loop structure, Cage finds Rita and trains with her to better equip himself to fight and survive the Normandy battle. When he fails at the training -- either because he breaks a bone or worse -- Rita shoots him, sometimes in the face, to reset the clock. Rita is not Cage's equal; she's his superior in every sense of the word. The beauty is that "Edge of Tomorrow" never sabotages that notion.
The Very Last Scene Is Super Confusing
Time-travel movies rarely make a lot of sense, something that "Edge of Tomorrow" kind of acknowledges -- either directly or indirectly -- with a finale that comes right out of Doc Brown's Delorian. It's been a few weeks since we saw this movie and the last scene is still a question mark. Why is that a positive feature? Because even though knowing is half the battle, sometimes it's really fun to be completely stumped by a multimillion dollar blockbuster starring Tom Cruise. "Edge of Tomorrow" never takes the easy route, right through its closing credits. It's the kind of summer blockbuster all summer blockbusters should aspire to reach, and few actually do.