Gender Roles – Women
Gender Roles – Men
Room for Improvement:
Self-Esteem and Body Image
Language and Sexual Content
Gender Roles - Women: 5 Stars
Sergeant Rita Vratraski is battle-tested and determined. She is a celebrated war hero who single-handedly secured an unprecedented victory against the invading Mimics at Verdun. Although Rita's incredible heroics were the result of a rare ability to reset time whenever she was killed in battle, she was smart and fierce enough to take advantage of this unique circumstance and repel the enemy's advance. Even after Rita loses her ability to reset time, she continues to fight the Mimics, and also provides Major Cage with the guidance he needs to grow from a cowardly officer into a hero.
Gender Roles - Men: 3.5 Stars
Major Cage is an unlikely hero. He is both a coward and a deserter, who is sent into combat despite his protests, with no training or hope of survival. It isn’t until he stumbles into battle with an Alpha Mimic and unexpectedly gains the ability to reset time that he has a chance of developing into the sort of brave and selfless soldier that audiences can emulate and love. Edge of Tomorrow gives us an unexpected glimpse of how even frightened and untrained men can become heroes under the right circumstances.
Plot: 3.5 Stars
Rita is the sort of character that easily outshines the protagonist, even if she plays more of a supporting role. She’s a strong character who trains Cage, guides him, and teaches him everything she knows about the enemy. She coaches him on how to maximize and hold on to the rare opportunity that he’s been given. Her grit and determination make her a hero in her own right, even if she isn’t the chosen one who ultimately saves the planet. Edge of Tomorrow makes it clear who is the stronger and more courageous of these two gifted warriors, and does so in a way that is both believable and well balanced.
Self-Esteem and Body Image: 2.5 Stars
From beginning to end, Rita is a confident and self-assured woman who is more concerned with defending civilization than perfecting her appearance or finding romance. Unfortunately, she’s given too little backstory or personality to make much of a lasting impression on audiences. She isn't even likely to be remembered for any snappy lines or impressive battle strategies. As a whole, she is more of a hot body in a metal kill machine than flesh and blood, and her sex appeal easily eclipses her spirit.
Character Development: 1 Star
Unfortunately, Edge of Tomorrow doesn’t give us a deep look into Rita’s character. We know that she’s tough and guarded and that she’s suffered a great deal, but we’re given very few details about her life before the war, or even during her repetitive and agonizing battle at Verdun. We don’t know if Rita was always this ruthless, or if she was just another average soldier who went through the same brutal metamorphosis as Cage. We never see her display any real emotion or open herself up in any meaningful way. She is more or less a caricature of a die-hard femme fatale, with no resounding story of inner strength to match her hardened exterior.
Language and Sexual Content: 2 Stars
Edge of Tomorrow tries to get away with referring to Rita as a “full metal bitch” and passing it off as a compliment. This might have worked if Rita herself had adopted the title and owned it with pride, but it seems to be something that has been thrown at her without her consent. Early on in the film, Rita punches a bystander for using the phrase, suggesting that she finds it offensive. While there is a definite ferocity and even reverence in the title, it is only a compliment if Rita feels empowered by it. As it turns out, even war heroes such as Rita are subjected to unwelcome labels that demean, trivialize and sexualize their accomplishments. Edge of Tomorrow occasionally refers to Rita as the “Angel of Verdun” rather than “full metal bitch.” Filmmakers would have done better to simply stick with that title.