Oh, where to start?
The Mummy was promoted as being the first entry in Universal’s new Dark Universe, a shared cinematic universe that would supposedly do for the classic monsters what the MCU did for super heroes. (Of course, horror fans with a good memory remember that Dracula Untold was originally supposed to be the first part of the Dark Universe franchise but, after that film bombed with both critics and audiences, Universal announced, “We were just kidding. The Dark Universe starts with The Mummy.”) The Mummy was released in June and it got absolutely decimated by critics. That wasn’t too surprising. One could tell from the commercials that, even with 2017 being a good year from horror, The Mummy was not going to be a critical favorite. But then, audiences rejected it as well, throwing the whole future of the Dark Universe franchise into limbo.
To be honest, I think The Mummy could have been a fun little movie if it had only been 90 minutes long and hadn’t gotten bogged down with all that Dark Universe nonsense. There are a few moments that actually do work, though they are few and far between. The film stars Tom Cruise, who is a veteran at handling nonsense and who gives a somewhat lighter version of his standard Mission Impossible performance. Jake Johnson shows up as a talking corpse and he has a way with a sarcastic line. Some of the special effects are effective, though The Mummy is often far too dependent upon them.
The plot is damn near incoherent and it didn’t take long for me to give up on trying to follow it. The film started with a bunch of crusaders moving in slow motion and then it jumped forward to modern-day Iraq, where Sgt. Nick (Cruise) and Cpl. Chris (Johnson) uncovered an ancient tomb. Apparently, opening the tomb unleashes Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella), who is thousands of years old and is still alive because she was cursed to be both immortal and buried alive. So, now, she’s free and apparently, she wants Nick to merge with Set, the Egyptian god of all things evil. But Nick doesn’t want to be evil. He just wants to save the lives of Chris and Jenny (Annabelle Wallis), an archeologist who basically has the same role that Natalie Portman had in the first Thor film.
Meanwhile, Russell Crowe is wandering around as Dr. Jekyll. This is where the whole Dark Universe things kicks. Dr. Jekyll is in charge of this secret organization that keeps tabs on all the paranormal stuff that’s happening in the world. However, if Dr. Jekyll doesn’t regularly get his injection, he turns into evil Mr. Hyde. In this movie, that means that Crowe suddenly starts talking with a cockney accent. I’m assuming that, much like Samuel L. Jackson did for the MCU, Russell Crowe is meant to link all of the Dark Universe films together. Of course, the difference is that the early MCU films usually only had Jackson show up at the end of the movie, often in a post-credits scene. Crowe, on the other hand, pops up out of nowhere, takes over a huge chunk of the film, and then vanishes. I was already having enough trouble trying to keep up with the Mummy’s schemes without having to deal with a random Mr. Hyde sighting.
The Mummy is a mess. When it starts, it’s a likable mess, with Cruise and Johnson exchanging silly lines. But then the movie gets caught up in trying to launch a franchise and it all goes downhill from there. There’s even a scene where Ahmanet stands in the middle of a London streets and starts throwing cars around. It’s such an MCU scene that I was surprised Robert Downey, Jr. didn’t come flying by. If The Mummy had just been a content to be a silly monster movie, it could have been fun. But instead, The Mummy tried to launch an entire universe and it just wasn’t up to the task.