It’s still the opening weekend as I write this, but I’ve already watched the latest Tom Cruise action blockbuster Edge of Tomorrow three times. I loved the way the story is told, I loved the editing that actually makes you feel smart, I loved seeing Emily Blunt in a way I’ve never seen her before.
I also loved Tom Cruise in this new anti-heroish avatar. At the start of the movie, he’s a selfish media whore, who’s just doing rounds of TV to get out of actual duty. He actually hates the sight of blood and jokes about it. My alternate ending is based on this aspect of his character. If you haven’t watched the Edge of Tomorrow yet, go watch it and then come back to continue reading this.
Warning: Spoilers ahead.
As mentioned earlier, Tom Cruise is more of a public relations representative for the war than an actual soldier with a sence of duty. He doesn’t want to fight. He actually is a deserter. But all that is put to test when he has a run-in with an alien in the first few minutes of battle and the day is reset. At first he doesn’t know what’s happening, but he quickly figures out that he’s stuck in a time loop and tries to make the most of it with a nearly unlimited retries-like option. I like how he, at one go, just skips the entire Rita Vrataski element and goes at it all by himself. That’s a good example of how his lack of patriotism is slowly replaced by valor and even self-sacrifice.
This was all great, but I thought the actual ending was slightly too happy and sunny. The helpless feeling you get when he loses his power to reset the day is very real. It’s like reaching that point in a game at which you cannot save. You’re on the edge. You know it’s his last retry. Everything has to work. But with Rita dead, there isn’t much of a reason to continue hoping, so he goes out in a final act of glory. In the original ending, he gets hit with alien blood once again and resets the day yet again. This time, it’s one day earlier than before, but the effects of killing the aliens have been made permanent even then.
This… kind of doesn’t make any sense. Why one day earlier? And why has the future changed in the past? In his previous retries, everything was exactly the same. All he could retain were his memories. No results of his actions in the real world stick around in the loop. If he actually does manage to kill the omega, then the time loop is forever closed. Unless, he’s now received a super shot of omega blood that allows him to actually control time as if it was a DeLorean. And that’s probably why he goes back to the previous day, so he can have unlimited tries at hitting on Rita. That’s just silly.
I think the following is a better ending:
As he’s sinking to the bottom of the lake or pool or whatever that water body is in the climax scene, there’s a close-up of his face. He’s going down and his life flashes before his eyes. His previous life – in which he was a prick who would run from duty, in which he’d just be an actor of sorts on TV – to his actions in the war during the time loop. This is intercut with real-world events following the death of the omega and the fall of the alien invasion and real world TV reports of the ‘hero’ lost in battle, hailing both Rita and Cage as martyrs. Redemption. After that shot… cut to black. Credits roll. No reset. No retry. Everything’s full and final.
It’s a new tomorrow.