The Tomorrow War (2021) Review

The people of future earth go back in time in order to recruit humans to fight against an alien invasion that threatens to extinguish humanity.


  • Great action scenes
  • Chris Pratt does a good job as Dan Forester
  • Good supporting characters
  • Gorgeous graphics, especially with the cityscape of future Miami


  • Science fiction elements only exist as a means to tell an action story
  • Movie is more action than science fiction

The Tomorrow War Review

The Tomorrow War, directed by Chris McKay and starring Chris Pratt, is a science fiction movie that uses science fiction tropes like time travel in order to tell an exciting action movie. Like other action movies that utilize science fiction elements but really disregard the science or realism, The Tomorrow War won’t really leave audiences contemplating the deeper questions likes Arrival.

Chris Pratt’s acting is fine, and his role of the father is great, though there is a bit of awkwardness later in the movie. Supporting characters like Charlie, played by Sam Richardson, do well to provide a sense of relief, even if Charlie’s background as an academic seems like a mismatch with his personality.

A lot of science fiction movies use science fiction elements as a crutch or to avoid having to explain science ideas. Devices like “warp drives” work well in Star Trek because the point of the series is to explore other ideas. But as many fans of the series will agree with, the amount of times the deflector dish magically saves the crew can feel too contrived. The Tomorrow War has that same feeling of contrivance when it comes to the science fiction elements.

The Tomorrow War uses time travel as device that enables the telling of a larger story that bridges the present (or the past, from another perspective) and the future. Shortly into the movie, Charlie asks why the future doesn’t build additional time travel devices. But how the device works is quickly dismissed by a character because the technology is held together by “chewing gum and chicken wire.” This dismissal tells audiences what they need to know about the hows of the movie: it doesn’t matter.

The flashy CGI with the time travel, explosions, and devastated cityscape do well to lull readers into disregarding questions about the issues regarding the movie. Magazine capacities seem ignored, as well as the question of throwing bodies into the future and not equipping them with adequate weapons. Questions about potential solutions, the paradoxes of time travel, developing a string of time travel devices to enable travel further back, or even speeding up technology development, are not really explored.

However, other aspects of the movie are done fairly well. For instance, the merging of the past and the future, along with the short thirty-year period between both times, allows for some interesting development between Dan and his daughter, though it should come as no surprise what the big twist is for science fiction fans.

Unfortunately, not much is revealed about the Whitespikes, and their appearance does well to elicit a feeling of disgust in the audience, though people should be wary of judging aliens by their appearance (or other humans, for that matter). In this case though, the Whitespikes seem to deserve every bullet that goes their way.

Their unnatural strength, speed, and ability to shoot spikes make them a very difficult enemy, and this power imbalance establishes the tension and suspense in the movie. In a way, the Whitespikes are almost reminiscent of some zergling or hydralisk hybrid from Starcraft. Questions raised by the Whitespikes are barely addressed, leaving audiences with even more questions that are not answered (except maybe in a sequel).

The Tomorrow War, directed by Chris McKay and starring Chris Pratt, is a fun, action-packed science fiction movie, emphasis on the action, that will entertain audiences with gross-looking aliens that are asking to be obliterated.

Read reviews of other science fiction movies.