Universal kicks off its Dark Universe by putting it on the shoulders of one of the biggest movie stars in the world.Tom Cruise kicks off being the face of another franchise with “The Mummy” (in theaters on Friday), the first of what’s planned to be many reboots of classic monster movies owned by Universal (“Frankenstein,” “Dracula,” “Wolf Man,” “Bride of Frankenstein,” “Invisible Man”). Think the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but scarier.
Or that’s the idea, at least.
“The Mummy” lays the groundwork for what could be an entertaining series of movies featuring some of the most classic monsters ever put on the big screen. But as a standalone, “The Mummy” is not that memorable.
Though the movie, directed by Alex Kurtzman (who is also one of the main producers behind all the Dark Universe movies), has the thrilling action sequences we’ve come to expect in a Tom Cruise movie (yes, once more Cruise does intense stunts on an airplane), it gets stuck with a lot of plot and an unecessary, shoehorned love story.
Cruise plays Nick Morton, an adventurer who with his sidekick Chris Vail (Jack Johnson, who should just show up in every blockbuster from now until the end of time) hits pay dirt when they come across the tomb of an Egyptian princess. After airlifting the sarcophagus out of the desert, with little care for the fact that it’s an important artifact, Nick and Chris realize they’ve been cursed by the newly awoken princess, leading to a cat-and-mouse game between Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) and Nick, whose soul she needs.This eventually leads to Nick corssing paths with Dr. Henry Jekyll (Russell Crowe), who has been searching for Ahmanet and other monsters. Dr. Jekyll even has a nice collection of vintage monster pieces in his lab, like the skull of Dracula and the arm of The Creature from the Black Lagoon.
And I’m sure you guessed it: Dr. Jekyll also becomes the crazed Mr. Hyde.
There’s a lot of fun action and jump scares in this new “Mummy,” but not enough substance to make a lasting impression.