You know, sometimes doing film reviews don’t work out in your favor. I had this whole first paragraph for my THE MUMMY review prepared by telling you a true story. This friend, when I was growing up, picked up one of his dog’s giant shits, let it sit in the sun for a couple of days, wrapped it in gauze, and called it a “gross, smelly mummy.” Then I was going to compare that experience to this movie by calling it a “mummified piece of shit.” There was more to it, but the review was absolutely going to work in my favor. I went into the theater expecting the movie to be DOA, because I was never excited by the trailers, the Rotten Tomato score is awful (somewhere in the 20s), and I still love the 1999 one with Brendan Fraser (the rest of them sucked). But alas, the movie is honestly not bad at all. I was entertained by it, Tom Cruise still brought his A-game, even though he was terribly miscast, the effects were good, I chuckled several times, and I liked the way they set up the Dark Universe and look forward to seeing more films, especially if Crowe’s Dr. Jekyll comes along for the ride.
I think critics were expecting too much. I think they were expecting the Dark Universe films to be well…darker? And while this is much darker than the 1999 Mummy film, it still has that “tone.” In fact, there is one scene in the film, if you spot very carefully, that makes me think that those Mummy films exist in this Dark Universe canon (you’ll see, and if you don’t see, there are plenty of articles already spoiling what that connection is). Maybe the critics didn’t want that ‘tone’ again? But if you get too dark, then people start complaining Batman V Superman style and you get royally stomped on in that regard. So where is that line? Where is the line where you can be dark, but also fun and adventurous and have a great time at the movies? I thought this movie honestly traveled that line very well. There were parts that made me jump, and parts that were intense, but also parts that were fun and exciting. So…again, what is the line that audiences and critics are expecting?
I agree with the critics on a couple of things. The movie does almost start out as an exact storytelling remake of the 1999 film, but then gets into it’s own thing by the plane crash that you see in the trailers. Tom Cruise didn’t need to be in this movie at all. He is in his 50s and is playing a character that seemed to be written in his early to mid 30s. And there are a couple of scenes where a dead character is talking to Cruise a la a giant rip off of An American Werewolf in London. But other than those three complaints, the film really isn’t that bad. In fact, the hour and 45 minutes went like that *snaps fingers.* I was incredibly entertained, the action was well shot and fun, Sofia Boutella makes a better Mummy than Arnold Vosloo did in the 1999 version, Tom Cruise still brought his acting A game, I liked the humor, and a whole bunch of other little things.
Plus, I really like the way they handled Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (if you think that is a spoiler, come on). You know that CGI crap from Stephen Sommers Van Helsing movie? Nowhere to be seen here. Hyde comes out more like the novels made him, more human like with a menacing behavior and a little more strength, with it very much being a change in performance required by Russell Crowe. Really loved what they did with that. And the little nods to future films were cool (by the way don’t stay after the credits, nothing there).
So will you like it just because I think the critics were wrong and I liked it? Of course not. You might hate it as much as them and think I am completely out of my fucking mind. I am just giving you my opinion. I had a fun time, think it is a fun adventure that families could share together, and think there are worse films to see at the theater right now than this. Does it get close to the masterpiece that is Wonder Woman? Hell no. Is it better than Guardians Vol. 2? Those are two different films, but again, hell no. This movie isn’t the freshest batch of popcorn you could have at the theater right now. It is more like day old popcorn, that you just douse and douse with a whole bunch of butter to enjoy at the moment, nothing more and nothing less.