“… less ‘Iron Man’ and more ‘Batman v. Superman’ in terms of kicking off a franchise.”
Despite the myriad of terrible reviews I have read for it, I was still kind of excited to see The Mummy. I’m not claiming superiority or anything, but I know that I can appreciate a stupid action movie for what it is: fun. With this in mind I went to my local theatre, sat down, and buckled up for what I assumed would be a ride that isn’t half as bad as people are saying. I was wrong. The Mummy follows Nick Morton, a kind of budget Indiana Jones who just steals shit. Morton is once again up to his usual antics when he finds, then releases an ancient Egyptian princess who then chooses Morton to be her chosen one, cursing him in an attempt to bring forth the god of death. The rest of the movie is pretty much Morton and co. running away from this mummy, and cracking jokes along the way.
This review is going to be spoiling every aspect of The Mummy because, why not? I’m sure there are hundreds of non-spoiler reviews you can read if you’re not into it.
What better place to start discussing this mess than the beginning? The Mummy opens up with a very annoying scene that is a shining example of why “show, don’t tell” is such an important rule in movies. I sat down to have a fun time watching Tom Cruise do a shitload of unnecessary stunts on his own, but instead I was greeted with a ten minute history lesson; the contents of which I not only don’t care about, but they’re fictional as well. So after this fucking boring chunk cinema we get into the actual movie where Nick Morton is being a loveable trickster (actually, he’s just kind of an asshole to literally everyone he meets). This part of the movie really spoke to me because it was exactly what I wanted. I don’t like it when movies, especially action movies, take themselves too seriously and The Mummy definitely showed that it would not fall into that trap. Was the beginning of the movie funny? No, I can’t say that I actually laughed at any of the jokes. Was it thrilling? I wouldn’t say so. But I will admit that I liked the fact that it tried to be these things. It didn’t put up a front trying to present itself as serious, and I appreciated that. And besides, it would get better as it went on, right?
Unfortunately the answer is no. The Mummy is a movie that doesn’t know what it wants to be. It tries its best to be filled with comedy, action, and horror, but it falls short on all three fronts. What we’re left with is this half-baked attempt at a movie. I have no doubts that had it chose only two of those genres it could have been great, but it instead spread itself too thin trying to make audiences love it. What really pissed me off was that the entirety of the movie had little to no point. Instead of it being a grand adventure like the movies it was trying to emulate, it ended up just feeling like a drawn-out chase scene. And this was made even weirder by the fact that Nick Morton was mind-controlled by the mummy so he was kind of like a double-agent. There was nothing below the surface of The Mummy, what you see is what you get; unfortunately what you see is very bland. I will say that I found the CGI to be pretty good most of the time, and I really liked the design of the ‘monsters’. I did however find it weird that the movie seemed to rest so heavily on the use of spiders, because aren’t beetles like the mummy ‘thing’?
But apart from all of that shit, the thing that really stood out to me about The Mummy was the realization that Universal is leaning really hard into this ‘Dark Universe’ thing. When I heard people talking about this before I saw the movie, I assumed that was just a fan name, or a name used by filmmakers and executives to quickly get to a point. Imagine my surprise when The Mummy started and right after the universal loge, a logo for the “Dark Universe” popped up. How fucking conceited can you get? Not even Marvel, arguably the biggest franchise in film history, puts a logo up for their fucking universe. You can tell that some poor son of a bitch at Universal was rubbing his (or her, I’m an equal opportunity bully) hands together thinking about how much money this universe is going to make, only to have this movie come out and everyone shit on it. Like they can’t even fall back on the whole “we don’t really care” because they made a fucking logo for their universe. How pathetic is that? Moving past the sad attempt to try and make the “Dark Universe” a thing, we have some fundamental issues with how they went about starting a universe. The best way for me to describe it is to say that The Mummy was less ‘Iron Man’ and more ‘Batman v. Superman’ in terms of kicking off a franchise. For those who don’t get it, Iron Man focused on one thing: Iron Man. It established the character (very well, might I add), then at the very end it hinted at a larger universe. Batman v. Superman did the complete opposite. Coming off of the very successful MCU, DC decided that they needed to play catch-up. Now instead of taking their time and making their own “Iron Man”, they put the cart before the horse and made one movie that half-assed the introduction of literally all of their characters. Now The Mummy didn’t fuck up to this degree, but even the inclusion of “Dr. Jekyll” was way too much for me. Let the character speak for itself, you fucks. And not only was the introduction of Jekyll (then Hyde) enough to scoff at, but then they and to have him constantly talk about how there are monsters in the world and we need to band together to fight them, and other bullshit like that. We get it, you’re starting a franchise. Let us decide if we like this movie first before you start to bombard us with “world-building” bullshit. And this decision to fast track the universe hurts the ending to the film as well. Instead of getting a nice resolution to the story we just watched what we got was a cliché, and very anticlimactic “end” to the movie that cared more about setting up the next shitty movie than actually wrapping up this one.
Now don’t get me wrong I don’t hate The Mummy, I just don’t think it was very good. It’s not a movie that I would ever want to watch again, but let’s just say that if it was on cable and I had literally nothing else to do and I couldn’t find the remote and I was sitting in a really comfy position then I probably wouldn’t get up to turn the TV off.
I give The Mummy a C