Since having his big breakout with Guardians of the Galaxy, Chris Pratt has headlined his fair share of big-scale genre blockbusters, with The Tomorrow War being his latest endeavor. Prior to Amazon acquiring the film for a streaming release, the plan was for the sci-fi movie to get a traditional theatrical release. Considering The Tomorrow War's premise and VFX-heavy action, it's easy to see why it was intended to play on the big screen. However, shifting to a streaming service may have actually been beneficial for the film, as it doesn't truly stand out from the crowd. The Tomorrow War boasts an interesting setup and solid performances by the cast, but it still comes across as unremarkable, if standard, genre fare.

In The Tomorrow War, soldiers from the year 2051 travel back in time to alert humanity about a deadly war against aliens known as "Whitespikes." Due to heavy losses, they call upon people to jump decades into the future and help the cause. Army veteran and current high school science teacher Dan Forester (Pratt) is one of the citizens drafted into active service. Vowing to do what he can to save the world and his family, Dan goes to 2051 to see if there's a way he can help end the war for good.

Related: The Tomorrow War Cast & Character Guide

Chris Pratt in Tomorrow War
Chris Pratt and Edwin Hodge in The Tomorrow War

As a director, McKay is best-known for animated efforts like Robot Chicken and The LEGO Batman Movie, but he demonstrates solid chops making the jump to live-action tentpole fare here. The Tomorrow War features a number of well-crafted action sequences, and even though they may not raise the bar in terms of genre thrills, they're still exciting to watch. Each one contains tense and suspenseful moments, and the action's easy for viewers to follow. The Whitespikes are suitably terrifying sci-fi villains, punctuated by good creature design. They're a step above generic sci-fi aliens and prove to be a scary presence throughout the film. McKay smartly builds up to an eventual reveal (similar to Jaws), making the Whitespikes' first appearance work to greater effect.

Where The Tomorrow War struggles a bit is with the script, written by Zach Dean. The film does have an interesting premise and it tries to sneak in some social commentary (particularly on the issue of global warming), but it rarely digs beyond the surface in the exploration of its themes. This makes the story, which is partially a mishmash of previous sci-fi movies, play out as more of a by-the-numbers plot, rather than being something special. Still, The Tomorrow World deserves credit for its world-building, as Dean has crafted a universe that could be worth exploring in future installments. Some viewers may be able to spot logical inconsistencies, but overall The Tomorrow War's plot works as a serviceable foundation, and it does have a handful of touching moments designed to tug at the heartstrings. Dan's dynamic with his daughter Muri (Ryan Kiera Armstrong) is the film's emotional core.

JK Simmons in The Tomorrow War
JK Simmons in The Tomorrow War

In terms of the acting, Pratt does a riff on the usual action hero character viewers should be familiar with by now. His everyman persona works as a gateway into The Tomorrow War's world, but Pratt's arguably outshined by the supporting cast. In particular, Sam Richardson is a definite standout as Charlie, one of the civilians Dan fights alongside with. Charlie is a fun fish-out-of-water character, responsible for levity and laughs. J.K. Simmons also makes the most of his screen time as Dan's estranged father, James, giving the part necessary gravitas another actor may not have. That said, a number of characters in the film aren't fully fleshed out, feeling as if they're there to simply fill out expected roles in a movie like this. Admittedly, The Tomorrow War isn't aiming to be a deep character study, but it doesn't have a wholly well-rounded ensemble audiences can truly get attached to.

As evidenced by The Tomorrow War breaking Amazon Prime streaming records, the film is achieving great success on the platform. This is the kind of big-budget movie that may have gotten lost in the shuffle at the box office in a traditional moviegoing year, but it's right at home as a streaming release where audiences can watch it from the comfort of home. The Tomorrow War is a fun entry into the sci-fi/time travel genre, though the pieces never add up to something all that memorable. Those who are interested in the film should check it out, as The Tomorrow War is certainly worth a watch one day this summer - even with a number of high-profile releases making their way to theaters.

Next: The Tomorrow War Official Movie Trailer

The Tomorrow War is now streaming on Amazon Prime. It is 138 minutes long and is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, language and some suggestive references.

Let us know what you thought of the film in the comments!

Our Rating:

3 out of 5 (Good)
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