The Tomorrow War (2021) Review

The Tomorrow War (2021) Review 1
| Jul 7, 2021

The Tomorrow War, a sci-fi action film about coming back to the past to save the future, is constantly at odds with itself. At one point I abandoned all hope that I would care about the logistics of its version of time travel; as well as any emotional resonance with its cast. Part of that is on the cast itself, but by and large, the burden is on the execution. It feels like Amazon got three different action directors from three different eras to make a movie; then edited it all together hastily.

At one point in The Tomorrow War I abandoned all hope that I would care about the logistics of the film’s version of time travel; as well as any emotional resonance with its cast. Part of that is on the cast itself, but by and large, the burden is on the execution. It feels like Amazon got three different action directors from three different eras to make a movie; then edited it all together hastily.

The Tomorrow War (2021) Review 2
The Tomorrow War (2021)

The premise of The Tomorrow War isn’t really a spoiler, as we get endless exposition right in the beginning as to what it entails. Humankind has come to the past to recruit soldiers to fight in their future against an alien threat. At first it seems like they just need bodies, but its mystery starts to unravel the more time we spend with Chris Pratt’s character, whose name doesn’t really matter.

The first 30 minutes (before we get to the actual conflict) are an absolute wash. Pratt mulls about reflecting on his identity as a scientist, a former soldier, and a family man. Nothing established here pays off in any meaningful way, save one brief scene later in the film that provides the exposition needed to justify completing skipping it in the first place.

“The Tomorrow War is kind of like a less clever and infinitely duller Live Die Repeat.”

It does get a little more interesting when Pratt’s squad is formed, and we start to see what the future looks like, coupled with a neat initial twist. But like most hopeful sequences in this movie we’re promptly whisked back to generic-city. The premise of a Everyman teacher with a special forces soldier background sounds great on paper but Pratt doesn’t inject any gravitas into the role and feels miscast.

But the biggest misstep has to be the general action playbook, which is completely all over the place. We get stock music, stock action, and even stock acting. There’s laugh-out-loud bad slow motion galore, which somehow has been downgraded from the ‘90s effects popularized by The Matrix and other decades-old films.

The Tomorrow War (2021) Review 3
Chris Pratt in The Tomorrow War (2021)

It’s a shame, because there are kernels of good ideas in here. I did feel something, albeit briefly, during a scene with Yvonne Strahovski, which would be spoilery to explain but is fairly easy to guess. And really, that was it. It was a brief lapse of emotion, bookended by two unsatisfying shooty action bits. The Tomorrow War is kind of like a less clever and infinitely duller Edge of Tomorrow. It doesn’t succeed as a sci-fi film, an “aliens vs. marines” action flick, or a family drama. This one needed a lot more than just a few tweaks to actually reach its potential.

Final Thoughts

The Tomorrow War (2021) Review