The Mummy Review
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As Marvel continues to build a highly lucrative cinematic universe of superheroes, other studios have decided to jump on the bandwagon, too. DC’s superheroes have joined forces to build their own universe—which, until recently, produced less-than-stellar results. And now, with The Mummy, Universal launches its Dark Universe, built around the gods and monsters of classic thrillers.

The Mummy tells the story of ancient Egyptian princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella), who made a pact with Set, the god of death, after losing her throne to her father’s newborn son. But before the rituals could be completed, she was captured and mummified and taken far from Egypt. Her tomb is unearthed centuries later by a couple of antiquities looting soldiers who inadvertently set her free in the process. And when she chooses Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) to help her complete her pact, he finds himself in the middle of the battle against evil.

This first installment gets the Dark Universe off to a perplexing start. On one hand, it has the makings of a thrilling summer blockbuster. Tom Cruise does love action—and he definitely doesn’t shy away from it here. The Mummy is grand and action-packed, with over the top sequences and an abundance of flashy effects.

Unfortunately, though, it’s also uncomfortably wacky. Though it generally takes itself very seriously, it also has way too many bizarre attempts at humor—and that throws off the entire tone of the movie. Jake Johnson, who plays Nick’s sidekick, Chris Vail, could be hilarious in a completely different movie—but here, in his role as a kind of zany undead spirit guide to his troubled friend, his humor often feels incredibly awkward and entirely out of place.

It seems as though the franchise is trying to set Cruise’s Nick Morton up as the Dark Universe’s Tony Stark—the fast-talking, wise-cracking, adventure-loving leader of this group of monster misfits. But while he has that roguish grin, he doesn’t quite have the same swagger and charisma—or at least not yet.

The story, meanwhile, is a mess of monsters. Not only does Nick battle the spirit of an ancient mummy who’s taking over his mind, but he also faces her growing army of zombies. In the process, he also gets tangled up in a group led by Russell Crowe’s Dr. Henry Jekyll. And while this monstrous ensemble certainly sets the stage for a universe filled with things that go bump in the night, it throws audiences into a strange and muddled assortment of classic stories and characters that, to some, may feel almost sacrilegious.

The idea of a universe filled with classic monsters is definitely intriguing. But before the Dark Universe can develop into the successful franchise that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has become, it’ll need to work out a whole lot of kinks.

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