Let’s just clear the air so this isn’t awkward for either of us during this review. The newest The Mummy has a strong premise that could have had a better execution cast-wise (which I’ll come back to). When we compare the revival of this series to the one Brendan Fraser put on the boards (back in 1999), it isn’t as well rounded. You know it. I know it. Cruise knows it, but that check he got cut for the movie don’t know or care.
We open up with Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) and Sgt. Vail (Jake Johnson), who are a part of the military, going rogue. They’re scoping out a village hoping to run it for antiquities for sale on the black market. It makes sense for these characters to be scoundrels (yeah I said scoundrels) but there’s something about a couple of white dudes in the Middle East / foreign lands running the jewels on ancient culture’s artifacts that makes me cringe. Perhaps that was the point of the character. Nick is charmingly selfish, a liar, and will kindly screw over others for his own benefit. Through his bumbling (such a parent word to use) a hidden tomb is revealed. A tomb that Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis) had been looking for before Nick stole her map to run the jewels for himself.
Jenny figures out this tomb isn’t what it appears to be in terms of traditional burials of important Egyptian figures. It’s more of a prison for this would-be queen and once Nick raises the sarcophagus from its imprisonment all hell breaks loose. A curse is set upon Nick and we are running with him, seeing him learn the ramifications of what he has done. There’s a much more intimate connection between the protagonist and the antagonist Mummy, Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella), this time around that makes for a compelling story. Plus, factor in this is the beginning of the Dark Universe, the studio’s plan to incorporate all the monsters (sans Monster Squad) in the same universe. I fux with this set up for world building. Russell Crowe’s character initiates this bridge subtly as more layers of the world are unveiled to us.
I’ma be honest — this movie isn’t bad so much as it is safe. Cruise is funny in his role and can still do action movies. The boy can still bang with the best of em but we’re getting a movie about ancient Egyptian mythology, we don’t need a new iteration with a white male lead to tell this story homie. Let’s be clear. That makes this pretty repetitive and safe, which can hurt the franchise in the end. There is a mass of actors of color that could have done this as well as actors coming up that are younger that could have taken the reins for this cast. Crowe’s character (let’s call’em The Doctor) could stay but this could have been an entirely different movie with a more diverse cast (as Andrew Wheeler fleshed out).
The effects were chill though. It’s PG-13 so I dunno how hard in the scare y’all may get from this (although my friends were jumping). This is a very dark looking movie for PG-13, which is a good look. There wasn’t any overdone CGI and the moments of scare were all grade A in execution. We get more story, motivation, and drive from this Mummy than that of Imhotep. (I was never a fan of the naming of the first Mummy’s being Imhotep. Imhotep was a fucking polymath; the first real life Batman of skill and this is how you do him? Foul.) The previous incarnation of The Mummy had a lot of humor ingrained with the ridiculousness of fighting monsters whereas the humor here is well done and chosen for choice moments.
All in all, you don’t have to see this movie for a profound experience but it’s really not as bad as some may make it out to be. The ending … man listen, the ending is different but again would have been an entirely different feel with a more diverse cast (as well as not having characters of color dying right at the beginning of the movie either). Shit was alright man, I’m not dying on a hill for this movie or anything though. It’s still Brendan Fraser’s franchise for life, don’t you get me wrong. I’m just saying on the grand scale of things this was an aight movie that could have been hard as fuck with a few select choices. That’s all I’m saying.