With the announcement of its Dark Universe, Universal is diving deep into its world of Gods and Monsters. Borrowing from Marvel’s playbook, Universal plans to build a world with “A” list actors that will star in their solo films, with a guest star here and there, all leading to an Avengers-style epic. Anyone can copy greatness, but executing it like the originators is a whole different story (just as DC). The idea of bringing back these once great properties is a wonderful idea, the question that comes to mind though is, has time passed by these once scary monsters? Like any good series you need a starting point and since we had a false one in “Dracula Untold”, “The Mummy” is first on deck.
Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) is a solider who has other priorities in life. He is not serving his country; instead he and his partner Chris (Jake Johnson) are only looking to make their lives more profitable. The way they do that is finding treasures from the past, when that search leads them to a place they should have never found. After escaping death, a missile launched from a drone uncovers a tomb. With their discovery Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis) is called in to help figure out what they just found. Underground ends up being a prison of Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) an Egyptian that was pretty much bad news. She was buried far from Egypt with the hopes that she would never be found again. Not heeding the warnings, Nick, Chris, and Jenny disturb her tomb, and soon unleash a force the earth has never seen, and only they can stop it before its too late.
Unfortunately using the Mummy as their lead off for the Dark Universe was almost as bad an idea as young Dracula. Using Cruise as your universe’s Robert Downy Jr. is not a bad idea. I mean if you need someone to run from something and save the world, why not use Ethan Hunt? Cruise is not the problem here; in fact he is pretty much in cruise control when it comes to being an action star. The problem starts with their choice of his female counterpart, Annabelle Wallis. Every scene she is in feels as if something is missing, which in this case feels more like chemistry between her and Cruise. Wallis is not the only thing holding “The Mummy” back from being entertaining.
While trying to build the Dark Universe, they forget to build the world of The Mummy first, instead making it feel more like a ride than a movie. Sure you have great action set pieces and Cruise does them all himself, because you know he is Tom Cruise. However the action feels hollow because the story in between is lacking so much. The other bright spot besides Cruise is Boutella’s turn as The Mummy herself. Again none of the performances make a movie, these movies should lend itself to adventure with a mild tone of horror that inspired the originals. I wanted to enjoy this movie, especially being a fan of the previous franchise that bore The Mummy name. Instead I left disappointed, asking myself why can’t they get these films right? Maybe I am being too hard but when you are hoping the film gets saved by Abbott and Costello, that might not be the sign you are looking for.