(*Loosely based on the 1932 Boris Karloff film of the same name)
It has since been revealed that it will serve as the first installment of the Dark Universe, a series of movies based on Universal's stable of old-school monsters. In that vein, the film also features Russell Crowe as Dr. Henry Jekyll (+1). The story being told is that of a larger world filled with similar supernatural phenomena. With that, the success of this shared universe looks to depend on the success of its first entry. Yeah, about that...
Tom Cruise is gonna Tom Cruise, which isn't the worst thing if you like Tom Cruise, but the movie confuses very early on. It starts with a flashback to knights in 1127 A.D., then moves forward to London, telling a story about an Egyptian Princess selling her soul to an Egyptian god for power. From there we're back to present-day mercenaries Nick Morton (Cruise) and Chris Vail (Jake Johnson) discovering the tomb of said Egyptian Princess accidentally after calling in an airstrike on an insurgent stronghold. This is the first ten minutes.
The Mummy force feeds you information in this fashion for just under two hours, not giving a moment to digest in between courses. The movie played out as if an improv troupe took turns adding elements to it. "...then he yells at her, as a monster, and she wakes up from the dead!!" Oh, believe me, I only wish I made that up.
The best part about the Brendan Fraser movies is that they were fun, and aimed to be that way. There were attempts at being funny here, but this version of The Mummy was far from fun. It was frustrating. It flipped between serious and dispassionate, at times acting as believable science fiction and others as campy and exaggerated. The romance is negligible.
When I imagine Universal looking for stars to add into their Dark Universe - which also includes the likes of Johnny Depp and Javier Bardem - Ricky Bobby running frantically in a helmet and undies comes to mind. They got the help they were looking for, but failed to provide him with what he needed to be successful. In the end, we get a movie filled with disconnected action sequences and scattered plot points. There's no mention of a sequel at the moment, and that's probably a very good thing.
Rotten Tomatoes: 16%
Verdict: Don't See That