How Not to Start a Cinematic Universe: “The Mummy”

The Mummy is back and rebooted! This time there is no goofy and likable Brenden Frasier helping us slodge through a stupid action movie… now we have the stilted and unlikable Tom Cruise making the stupid action movie stretch on for ages. That’s right, Universal is trying to make a cinematic universe for their classic monsters but don’t get used to that idea because it looks like they’ve messed it up right out of the gate.

The new Mummy movie finds Tom Cruise being a complete criminal and bumbling onto an archaeological trove after, and I’m not kidding here, he steals a map from an archaeologist after sleeping with her so that he can steal the riches for himself. However, due to some really questionable writing that sees him go into the tomb with the archaeologist instead of prison where he should have gone in the first place, he uncovers an ancient cursed mummy that begins to spread her evil throughout the world and Tom Cruise, with the help of the archaeologist and Doctor Jekyll of all people, set out on a quest to stop her.

I’m really getting tired of the whole concept of a cinematic universe because, aside from Marvel and finally DC, not a one of them ever seems to take off. Yeah, there are some things about this movie, however dull it is, that intrigues me and I would like to see continued… but I know it probably won’t because its conception was ill-advised and poor. So, a lot like Green Lantern, The Golden Compass, and dozens of other failed franchises that might have been bad, but at least they promised cool things in the future… we’ve been left dangling again… the audience is the one who suffers.

Okay, so “suffers” is a strong word. More like “annoyed.” Honestly, if the “Dark Universe” never puts out another film, I will live my life with no regrets.

As for the movie itself, it’s got some neat ideas. I like that they’ve gender-swapped the Mummy, I like that they’ve gender-swapped the lady… uh… man in distress. There were a couple of times I laughed at some of the jokes in the movie, and I like that, at one point, they actually captured the Mummy and held her prisoner. But still, the movie is pedantic and offers no real surprises. Tom Cruise is really becoming an insufferable celebrity and I’m not sure why… It’s not the Scientology thing or anything like that because I can overlook it, but lately he’s just becoming less and less likeable, as though he’s emanating clouds of smug everywhere he goes. I almost feel judged when he shows up in a movie these days and it’s a weird feeling.

I can’t say that The Mummy is a terrible movie, but you can tell that it was a movie made by committee and, thus, it’s mostly soulless and banal. Its frantic insistence to establish its own universe comes off as desperate and the choices that the movie makes is irritating — I’m not a fan of Russell Crowe either, but he is especially bad in this movie which is weird because, despite the fact I don’t care for him, he’s not a bad actor.

If anything, The Mummy killed The Dark Universe quicker than a stake through the heart, but if DC can bounce back from Green Lantern and establish a cinematic universe, there’s still hope for this dumpster fire.

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