Not Even Tom Cruise Can Save The Mummy From Terrible Writing

Written by Tommy Tracy

Sigh. I had hope. Unlike most people I legitimately had hope. I know, I know that sounds crazy. But if you think about it, the Universal Monsters era was the very first cinematic universe in film over eight years ago with the release of The Wolfman with Benicio del Toro, and the critically panned, but financially successful Dracula Untold.

However, The Mummy from the 1930’s is one of my favorite monster movies and there is a lot of fun to be had with the Brendan Fraser films. So, when I hear of another film based around this character, starring one of my favorite actors in Tom Cruise, I was in. 110 minutes later, I was out. So, let’s just get this over with, shall we?

We follow Nick (Cruise), a clear rip off of Indiana Jones/Nathan Drake from Uncharted. Along with his annoying friend, Chris (Jake Johnson), the two discover an ancient crypt in Iraq, holding our titular mummy named Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella). You see, Ahmanet was the sole heir to rule Egypt but grew jealous as she lost her riches to her newborn little brother. After killing everyone, she makes a deal with Set, the God of Death, to rule the world together. Her plot foiled, Ahmanet is mummified and taken to a prison far away.

When the treasure hunters find the tomb, along with an archeologist named Jenny (Annabelle Wallis). Ahmanet’s corpse awakens, sends plagues upon our heroes, and is hellbent on finding an ancient dagger buried in England which can bring Set to the real world. Attempting to stop her are our heroes, as well as Russell Crowe’s Dr. Henry Jekyll. Yes, he’s that Jekyll. Sigh.

If this sounds like a lot of exposition, it is. Audiences understand that exposition is needed to fully understand a story but when it is hitting them over the head like a mallet, it starts to get tiresome. Instead of giving an audience the credit to figure things out for themselves, the screenwriters and director, famous mouth-breather Alex Kurtzman, decide to spell everything out for us, while also failing to build up a future universe. Just five years ago, Kurtzman failed spectacularly at this exact thing with Amazing Spider-Man 2. Just make a damn movie, sprinkle in some universe building but DO NOT hamper a film with B.S. that can be put into an after credits scene or, and here’s a novel concept, another film.

I’ll give credit where credit is due; Tom Cruise is awesome in this role. He plays, well, kind of a dick. He’s the Nathan Drake I want to eventually see on screen — using his wit, charm and military training to survive everything he can. Cruise commits, playing smarmy but also dangerous; you believe this man can survive anything. Crowe also fully commits to the role of Jekyll, playing a brilliant scientist with a dark secret. Not to spoil anything, but there is a fun little fight scene between Cruise and Crowe that was the best part about this film.

A little Easter egg from the 1999 film also makes a cameo and it was fun to see. Sofia Boutella does her absolute best to make this mummy scary but unfortunately, the writing lets her down. She’s dangerous but not as scary as she should be. Wallis’ Jenny is completely pointless. How, a week after Wonder Woman, do we get a female star so devoid of any redeeming qualities? She constantly needs to be saved and has nothing to offer. Finally, the less I say about Jake Johnson, the better. This role was unnecessary.

While sitting in the theater, I was still enjoying myself, despite the many faults of the film had. It was setting nicely into “So Bad It’s Good” territory. Then, the ending happened. It made little to no sense and it took away the whole point of a “THE MUMMY” character! It’s heavy handed, tries too hard to be romantic and sets up…I don’t even know what the hell it sets up! I hate to give spoilers but is the mummy dead? Is the mummy a good guy? And what the hell are they going to do with this whole Dark Universe thing? Are these monsters going to be heroes and team up to take out a bigger evil? Is this just going to be The Monster Squad? And why are they hiring actors in their ’50s to play roles that will probably take them on into their ’60s? Confused? So am I!

The Mummy sucks, plain and simple. I was so disappointed because, as I said, I really did think this would be, well not good but maybe decent. Somehow, and I don’t know how, Marvel is the only one able to expertly and coherently succeed at making a shared universe (though DC has its high spots too). The ONLY thing saving this film is Cruise, who gets way too much hate. Crowe is also fine and the action set pieces are fun. The first 50 minutes can be considered campy good-bad movie quality. But everything else, the plot, the universe building, most of the acting and the lack of frickin’ horror in a frickin’ MUMMY MOVIE is unforgiveable.

I guess my Final Grade is a 2/10, which may be quite generous. Sigh.

Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites