The Edge of Tomorrow
Love Tom Cruise? Well here’s a splendid sci-fi vehicle for him, one that make more sense and is more interesting than Oblivion. With aliens rather similar to The Matrix‘s Squiddies, but better this is as everyone has said, Groundhog Day mashed up with Starship Troopers. Essentially our man Cruise has to relive the same day of war against a relentless, psychic foe until he can get it right and kill the alien queen/whatever they called it. He’s teamed up with a tough Emily Blunt (“Full Metal Bitch”). Of course he’s not a real soldier so he has to learn quite a lot and do it over and over and over again.
Naturally a lot of the film falls into lengthy montages, but rather than harm the film they provide a good sense of the time and stress on the main characters. Blunt is very satisfying, especially with her sword and rifle combo.
Hate Tom Cruise? Well, you’ll love this – in order to relive the same day again he has to die. He gets shot in the head by Emily Blunt again and again. It’s great. It has a fine mix of sci-fi nonsense, squaddie bickering and D-Day Landing style action.
X-Men – Days of Future Past
The X-Men films have gone from strength to strength, except for Brett Ratner’s abomination of a third film which I like to pretend doesn’t exist. First Class was such an excellent film that I feared it would be difficult to match. It was, sadly. The trailer for Days of Future Past is a blur of activity, strong action scenes and is my favourite kind of preview, because it tells you nothing about what’s going on. It’s perhaps too tantalising compared to what you get…
The film opens with the future war – mutants being ruthlessly hunted by the future Sentinels. Very violent, kind of scary with some awesome mutant powers unleashed. Maybe it’s too exciting a beginning to beat. Once they hurl Wolverine back in time to stop Mystique from killing the inventor of the Sentinels it all bobs along quite nicely, but the new (or returning) mutants get short shrift in the script. Quicksilver isn’t even named, although he does have a fine super-slow-motion scene.
It’s great to see Mystique and the young Magneto and Professor X, but the story is one of those time paradoxes where if you save the day, then the day never happened and so it… doesn’t matter? Seeing the rise of the Sentinels was satisfying, and there are all sorts of incredibly brief appearances by favourite X-Men which make it an enjoyable success despite the story.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
I should start by saying that I really like Tobey Maguire as Spider-Man – the first two films he did were great, but the third was beset by too many villains and struggled to juggle them in a way that you could care about. Now only two films into the completely unnecessary reboot and poor Andrew Garfield is facing the exact same problem. Mind you, he is also incredibly irritating and I can’t stand him as Peter Parker – the stupid hair and teenage whimpering make me not care about him.
It’s a nice-looking film, and Garfield’s acrobatic background pays off for the amazing street-swinging action. The real hero is Gwen Stacey – the only smart and interesting character in the piece. The primary villain is Electro (showing Hollywood’s usual antipathy towards diversity, they immediately turn the only black character into a nice blue-white). He’s another of Spidey’s vulnerable, damaged enemies which makes it very difficult to root for the spider. The main story, although there are several that clumsily interweave, is of Parker finding out about his Dad, who died trying to stop his research being used by Oscorp.
You’d think that would be enough… but no, we get the rise of Harry Osborn, who needs spider-blood or something to stop him mutating weirdly like his dad and then dying. Sigh. Cue a terrible Green Goblin, and then Rhino finally gets shoe-horned badly in at the end. Oh, and Gwen Stacey dies. Peter is a bit sad. A busy and messy film.