Looks like Warners Bros now doesn’t have a reason to sue Universal for the Dark Universe name because this universe is DOA
Directed by first-time director Alex Kurtzman, The Mummy stars Tom Cruise, Russell Crowe, Annabelle Wallis, and Sofia Boutella. The first entry in the Dark Universe and a modern day reboot of The Mummy franchise, an ancient princess, whose destiny was unjustly taken from her, is awakened in our current day bringing with her malevolence grown over millennia, and terrors that defy human comprehension. This film truly scares you but for all the wrong reasons.
I went into this with fairly low expectations. I genuinely like Tom Cruise as an actor and was ready to see what kind of universe they were going to set up here. Unfortunately, this was very, very bad. It reminded me of how I felt after seeing Independence Day Resurgence last summer. Just embarrassed for everyone involved. The same “universe building” problems that Man of Steel, BVS, Suicide Squad and even The Amazing Spider-Man 2 had been the same in The Mummy.
I can normally forgive a film for treating its audience like dummies, but this was next level. The exposition scenes are so clunky, and they refer back to things multiple times that were already clearly shown/explained. At one point, Russell Crowe is explaining everything to Tom Cruise. Cruise’s character acts disinterested, says “oh..uhh..ok..” and walks away. Tom’s character literally has a dialogue about him not being interested in anything that’s happening, and I couldn’t believe it. It mirrored the entire audiences’ feelings. I always try to find some artistic merit in bad films, but this one has no soul. Every other monster movie reference was awkwardly forced. The ending is left open-ended for future installments in the franchise, but I felt like they should have ended on a stronger note.
The movie does have a few bright spots though. Russell Crowe’s transformation was pretty cool to see but I expected more considering how much CGI was in the film. Tom Cruise and Sofia Boutella genuinely look like they are giving their all to make this film great but their efforts couldn’t save it. When the film commits to the horror elements, it’s actually really creepy. I wish they spent more time with those elements. Lastly, the action scenes from the first act and third act were pretty neat. Everything else….oh man. Painful.
I’m stumped and perplexed as to how they thought this was the right story and film to start the Dark Universe. I think they needed to assess the popularity of the Universal Monsters before starting this franchise. That being said, if they reduced the budgets for these movies and made them straight-up horror, they’d be more likely to strike gold. The big studios really need to stop overspending on generic tentpoles and put more marketing effort behind mid-budget original films. They need to stop pulling a Sony Pictures and put more interesting movies people actually want to see out there. Universal had a great opportunity here to do a reimagining of horror’s biggest icons for a contemporary audience. Instead what we get is just another generic action adventure CGI fest which if it wasn’t for Tom Cruise would probably be a total failure.
SUPERSAM RATING: ★★