In theaters this Thursday, The Mummy is hampered by its lack of an identity and Tom Cruise’s overacting.
Universal’s brand new Dark Universe starts in Iraq as a couple of United States soldiers, Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) and Chris Vail (Jake Johnston), are 100 miles away from their unit looking for ancient artifacts to sell on the black market. They encounter a group of insurgents who Morton feels they can sneak around and continue their quest for artifacts to sell. The insurgents quickly spot them and they take heavy fire. Left with no options, Vail calls in an airstrike in the hopes of driving back the enemy. His plan is not only successful, but the aftermath of the bombing also revealed a massive Egyptian tomb. Nick and Chris see dollar signs, but Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis) arrives and has her own agenda. Halsey is the head of the United States efforts to preserve any artifacts found in Iraq.
This isn’t the first time Jenny and Nick have met one another. Apparently, it was Nick who stole a map from Jenny (during a sexual encounter) that lead them to this site. The group quickly realizes that this is not any ordinary tomb. Jenny immediately declares that contents of the tomb must be taken back for further study. Of course, this decision doesn’t end well as Chris ends up possessed and kills an officer on the plane, and an engine blows out, plus a flock of ravens crash into the plane causing it to spiral out of control. The plane crashes into the English countryside. The mummy (Sofia Boutella) is freed, and somehow Nick survives the wreck. We come to learn that Nick survived for the sole purposes of being ritually sacrificed by this mummy. The film then dissolves into chase scene after chase scene that was reminiscent of most any Mission Impossible film.
Russell Crowe’s portrayal of Dr. Jekyll is one of the highlights of this movie. He was able to demonstrate the duality of this character and was entertaining. The only downside is that Crowe’s character wasn’t supposed to overshadow both Cruise and Boutella.
The discussions of Prodigium or the Dark Universe were some of the most compelling moments of the movie. What’s Prodigium? They are similar to S.H.I.E.L.D. in the Marvel Universe, but instead, deal with the forces of darkness.
Director Alex Kurtzman didn’t shy away from making this version of The Mummy his own. I loved seeing Tom Cruise be the one who was being chased by the Mummy. Instead of being the solution in the film, he was the one searching for answers. My only wish is that he would have taken more chances like this one.
What Didn’t Work
Tom Cruise was a poor choice to help usher in this new era of “Gods and Monsters.” His role didn’t call for that same intense tone he takes every time we see accept another impossible mission. This is a world that no one understands and nothing can change that. A more nuanced approach to the role would have gone a long way.
Jake Johnston’s character was incredibly pointless and should have been killed off when the plane crashed in London.
Why would you introduce a whole new Dark Universe to fans yet not take the time to lay the groundwork for future films?
Why was there a need to deviate from the movie’s most intriguing moments to have another sequence with Cruise was being chased?
At times the narrative was trying to be too witty and even a bit comedic as well.
This version of The Mummy is the tale of two different stories. The first being your typical Cruise film with an ending that will leave audiences seeking refunds. The other being a unique approach to laying the foundation for a brand new cinematic universe. Had the film just stuck to building this new world, then maybe Cruise’s latest movie would have come across as good summer fun instead of something typical and full of tedium. One can hope that the films in the Dark Universe will improve, but after The Mummy, that’s far from a sure thing.