Tom Cruise doesn’t really tackle sci-fi all that often, but when he does, the results tend to be stellar at the very least. The A-lister has only made a handful of movies set in the genre, but they’ve each been distinctly different and taken a unique approach to the well-worn tropes audiences have become accustomed to over the decades.
Cameron Crowe’s Vanilla Sky was a heady thriller that was equal parts psychological and existential, while his Steven Spielberg collaborations Minority Report and War of the Worlds yielded strong reviews and bumper box office. Edge of Tomorrow is comfortably one of the finest sci-fi blockbusters of the last decade, but Joseph Kosinski’s Oblivion often tends to get lost in the shuffle when discussing Cruise’s recent filmography.
A Rotten Tomatoes score of 53% and a $287 million gross is middle of the road by the star’s lofty standards, with the visual polish and heady ideas on display often undercut by a script that’s painfully lacking in several important departments. Cruise is as reliable as ever in the lead, and you can never fault a Morgan Freeman performance where he’s relied on to deliver exposition in those syrupy tones of his, but Oblivion is lacking a certain spark to take it to the next level.
Nobody’s going to take issue with the visuals, which are regularly stunning, nor the impressive sense of scale and world-building on display. That being said, it just isn’t one of Cruise’s best efforts. Still, that hasn’t stopped the 2013 epic from finding a new lease of life on HBO Max, where it’s one of the most-watched titles on the platform.