12 Big Questions Left Unanswered By ‘Edge of Tomorrow’

Tom Cruise Dumbfounded in Edge of Tomorrow

Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

It may be the best action movie of the summer, but Edge of Tomorrow is far from perfect. Like most Hollywood blockbusters, the latest Tom Cruise vehicle has a good share of plot holes. And because it’s sci-fi, there are also a lot of questions left over that maybe even the screenwriters can’t explain. It’s no Oblivion, of course. Where that got overly convoluted with its Moon-like reveal, this one is still easier to figure out than its own Duncan Jones-directed precursor.

Not that anyone is referencing Source Code so much as Groundhog Day. The classic time-loop comedy left us with a ton of questions of its own, yet in a fun way, proof that just because we make one of these lists for a movie doesn’t mean we necessarily think it’s bad. There is a ton to love about Edge of Tomorrow, for instance, including its energy and its surprisingly suitable self-aware humor.

But it almost loses a lot of us in that ending. There’s much to discuss about that, and in fact many of our questions below are devoted to elements of the third act, with a couple directed at the last few minutes. Maybe the key is that we need to watch the movie again and again and again until we get it all. Maybe there’s an appropriate trick involved where things become clearer in retreading. Is Edge of Tomorrow itself a game? Or is it just a little too complicated and also a little too sloppy?

Obviously, everything beyond this line involves spoilers for Edge of Tomorrow. Enter at your own risk.

1. Why Did General Brigham Send Cage Into Battle?

This question isn’t hard on a surface level. Brigham (Brendan Gleeson) sent Cage (Tom Cruise) into battle because he wanted him punished, likely in the form of quick death on the beach at Normandy. He didn’t like Cage’s cowardice or especially his blackmail attempt, and this was his way of getting back at a guy with rank but no experience, a position he clearly didn’t care for. So why let him waste a battle suit and risk the lives of others who could be lost due to Cage’s certain incompetency? At least find a way to throw him into the front without weaponry like the Soviets did when they just needed extra bodies on the field.

2. How Did Nobody Recognize Cage From All His Media Appearances?

At the start of the movie, we’re treated to an expository montage of background information courtesy of news footage, including talk shows where Cage is a spokesperson for the conflict against the aliens. The easy answer is to accept that none of the soldiers he encounters were privy to television enjoyment recently. There’s also the possibility that at least Master Sergeant Farrell (Bill Paxton) does know who Cage is and why he’s there, and he’s just following Brigham’s orders. Again, though, he must also be concerned for himself and his squads by having an untrained person joining them on the battlefield.

3. Why Does Farrell Have His First Name On His Uniform?

I didn’t notice what Paxton’s character’s name is listed as in the credits, but most reference sites give him the full moniker of Major Sergeant Farrell Bartolome. That’s a name right out of the source material, Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s illustrated novel, “All You Need is Kill.” For the movie, it’s possible that he was just named Farrell, and that’s his last name, and therefore it’d make sense to be on the front of his uniform. Otherwise, that could be an oversight on the part of the filmmakers.

4. Is There Any Need For Noah Taylor’s Character?

Noah Taylor plays a scientist named Dr. Carter, who was working on a breakthrough in how to defeat the aliens, but for some odd reason instead of being encouraged in his project he was labeled a nutty old kook and made to work as a mechanic or whatever. Oddly Brigham went easier on him, maybe because there was no blackmail involved. Anyway, never mind that there’s some sort of conspiracy Brigham is involved with in sweeping all these guys under the rug. Plot-wise, he’s a useless character. He mostly just stands there while Rita (Emily Blunt) explains everything to Cage, so why bother with him at all? The question is especially worth asking later when we’re led to believe that Carter has to be the one to use his magic gizmo, but then it turns out Cage can just do it himself.

5. Why Does Brigham Keep Carter’s Gizmo In His Personal Safe Anyway?

It’s a small safe. A lot of other things could have been put in there. The gizmo is, as far as Brigham seems to believe, worthless. Why didn’t they just destroy it or leave it wherever, thinking it was nothing? Did he actually trust that it would have some value but he’s a warring type who would rather fight the old-fashioned way?

6. Where Was Jeremy Piven?

I guess his character was even more disposable than Taylor’s. 

Rather than a reject, Christopher Campbell is a film school dropout. But he has since gotten a master’s degree in cinema studies and has been blogging about movies since 2005. Earlier, he reviewed films for a zine (a what?) that you could buy at Tower Records (a what?). He is married with two children.

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