'Edge of Tomorrow': What the Critics Are Saying

Based on the Hiroshi Sakurazaka novel "All You Need Is Kill," director Doug Liman's post-apocalyptic drama stars Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt.

Edge of Tomorrow, which is in theaters on Friday, stars Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt in an alien invasion apocalypse drama that is based on the novel All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, with the script adapted by Christopher McQuarrie and Jez and John-Henry Butterworth.

Cruise plays U.S. Army Major William Cage, a PR guy and spin doctor who has never seen combat and does his best to avoid going to the front line to face "the mimic scourge," an invasion of ferocious metallic spidery creatures with tendrils that whip around and pierce like javelins.

Female warrior Rita Vrataski, played by Blunt, is a strong juxtaposition to Cage, who keeps getting killed, but then, thanks to a playing-God-type technological breakthrough, he wakes up on the same morning ready to undertake the same mission again. 

Opening against The Fault in Our Stars, Fox 2000's adaption of the hit YA novel, Edge of Tomorrow is expected to open in the $25 million range in North America. However, Warner Bros. is counting on the movie doing exceptional business overseas, where Cruise remains a far bigger star than in the U.S. Edge is already doing particularly well in Asia and the movie will be playing in more than 60 markets this weekend, including key players China, Australia, Mexico and Russia.

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Read what the critics are saying about Edge of Tomorrow

The Hollywood Reporter's film critic Todd McCarthy describes the sci-fi action film as "RoboGroundhogDay," explaining that there are questions marks hovering over "the extent to which audiences will tire of the let's-play-it-over-again storyline."

"Although the humor helps, the Groundhog Day-like repetition gets tedious; it makes you feel more like a hamster than a groundhog -- or rather a hamster's wheel, going round and round, over and over again," he goes on to say. "Unfortunately, the final stretch becomes dramatically unconvincing and visually murky." However, McCarthy says "the effects are exciting, convincing and gritty," and adds that "supporting-role casting decisions seem to have been based more on humor than brawn, with Brendan Gleeson and especially Bill Paxton as the troop leader contributing a healthy amount of levity for this sort of fare.

"Cruise's self-deprecation plays well, a good thing in that he's really too old for this role, while Blunt is toned, burnished and physically refurbished into a blunt," he concludes.

For the New York Times, Manohla Dargis focuses on Cruise's comic skills, "He's funny! And watching him glide through the opening of Edge of Tomorrow -- a suggestion of Jerry Maguire edging his smile -- it’s hard not to think, 'Where has this guy been?'

"It’s been years since Mr. Cruise felt this light onscreen. His smile might have helped make him a star but, like Julia Roberts’ megawatt grin, it rarely beams as brightly as it once did," says Dargis. "In Edge of Tomorrow, Mr. Liman brings Mr. Cruise’s smile out of semi-retirement and also gives him the kind of physical challenges at which he so brilliantly excels."

Eventually, the "eccentricities and the morbidly funny neo-screwball vibe that he [Liman] establishes are swamped by generic pyrotechnics and noise."

L.A. Times reviewer Kenneth Turan says that the action film "saves the day" from "cookie-cutter, been-there blockbusters." He credits Liman's "confidence and elan as a director, his filmmaking bravado, if you will. Working with cinematographer Dion Beebe, editor James Herbert and visual effects supervisor Nick Davis, Liman is so adroit at layering in action and tension that we are swept away by his brisk cinematic tide even when we lose track of where it's taking us."

As for the film's star, "Cruise takes full advantage of the plot's notion that all that combat repetition gradually changes him into a fighting force to be reckoned with," praises Turan.

STORY: Box-Office Preview: 'Fault in Our Stars' Set to Defeat Tom Cruise's 'Edge of Tomorrow'

Richard Corliss of Time says, "For most of the film’s two hours, Liman keeps the plot plates spinning with the suave dexterity he showed in Swingers, Go, The Bourne Identity and Mr. & Mrs. Smith.

"Only toward the climax, when the live-die-repeat cycle is abandoned, does Edge of Tomorrow go logy. But it’s two-thirds of a sensational ride -- one you can ride over and over without buying additional tickets."

SF Gate film critic Mick LaSalle credits the action drama, saying: "Though the time is constantly resetting, Edge of Tomorrow consistently has a feeling of forward motion, even momentum, and the filmmakers always keep things clear so that viewers always know exactly where they are in the story.

"In a way, the film schools us in how to watch it, so that, at our most advanced, we can catch on as to whether a scene is of the characters doing something for the first time, or the 20th."

Edge of Tomorrow opens in theaters on June 6.