Perhaps the most surprising thing about “Edge of Tomorrow” — apart from the movie’s great sense of humor — is how it cedes many of its badass moments to Emily Blunt and not its leading man Tom Cruise.
Cruise’s Cage eventually becomes a peer to Blunt’s battle-repeating Rita thanks to the movie’s “Groundhog Day”-like conceit, but not before establishing one of the best movie heroines in recent memory.
A lot of that has to do with Blunt’s stellar performance. She’s everything you could want from a hero: tough, smart and vulnerable. Rita is nearly as central to the story as Cage, without getting pigeonholed into being just his love interest. In fact, because of the story’s day-long time frame, there are only a few moments of actual romance, so most of the run time is spent establishing how tough Rita is.
And Blunt absolutely sells it, but that isn’t too surprising, since she’s been uniformly great since her breakout in “The Devil Wears Prada.” Her turn in “Edge of Tomorrow” makes it perfectly clear why Marvel Studios has been so eager to work with her for years.
The connection between Blunt and the house of Iron Man dates all the way back to the second outing of Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark when she was originally cast as Natasha Romanoff a.k.a. Black Widow. She eventually dropped out of that film do “Gulliver’s Travels” with Jack Black.
Marvel tried again to bring Blunt into the fold with “Captain America: The First Avenger,” but she turned down the part of Peggy Carter. She explained to MTV News that, “It just wasn’t what I wanted to do next, to be honest.”
But maybe the third time is the charm.
One of the most popular rumors about “Avengers: Age of Ultron” is that Captain (née Miss) Marvel, Carol Danvers, is set to appear in the team-up sequel before getting her own standalone movie. And what do you know! Blunt was one of two actresses rumored for the part when we first heard about it in late 2012.
If “Edge of Tomorrow” is any indicator of what Blunt might be able to do with her own superhero movie, let’s hope that Marvel Studios made the extra effort to lock her into the part this time.
A potential Captain Marvel movie is an exciting proposition whether Blunt stars or not, but if she’s to be Marvel’s first lead heroine, at least we know she can nail it.
“Edge of Tomorrow” opens in theaters on June 6.