For a studio that essentially created the cinematic universe with its decades-long "Universal Monsters" series of films, it seems ironic that after their second attempt Universal Pictures' are finding it difficult to resurrect the concept and claim their own piece of the Cinematic Universe trend started by Marvel Studios. Recently released in theaters The Mummy, starring Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella, and Russell Crowe has been met with almost universal critical panning, although it looks set to be a moderate success at the box office. Conversely, the studio's previous attempt at resurrecting its Monsters Cinematic Universe 2014's Dracula Untold received much more favorable reviews but failed to cross the magical $300 million mark that is now viewed by many as the necessary minimum earnings to be considered a box office success.
With Dracula Untold retconned out of the Dark Universe Universal Pictures have been pushing The Mummy as the new first chapter in their fledgling cinematic universe, and in all honesty, it shows. Whereas Marvel has SHIELD and Legendary has Monarch, the Dark Universe has Prodigium, which is established as a centuries old, infinitely funded monster squad with, ironically, a monster running the show in Russell Crowe's Dr. Henry Jekyll. If the name of this organization wasn't bad enough then imagine the disappointment when Crowe transforms into the evil Mr. Eddie Hyde. Fans of 2003's League of Extraordinary Gentleman may have been expecting a hulk like transformation, but unfortunately, the limit of Crowe's mutation is the acquisition of some dark makeup around the eyes and a cockney accent (pictured below). Thankfully though Crowe's stiff upper lip adaptation of Marvel's Nick Fury is only a supporting character.
Unfortunately, the performances offered by both of the movie's main stars is just as underwhelming, with Cruise playing his default character type and Boutella frequently mimicking Arnold Vosloo's performance from Stephen Sommers first two Mummy movies. Which brings us to the inevitable truth; that despite pulling in a big name like Tom Cruise and trying so hard to establish its own cinematic universe. This new adaptation is nowhere as fun, exciting or even as polished, both narratively and in terms of direction and editing as Stephen Sommers 1999 movie. Considering the actor's recent resurgence in movies such Oblivion and Edge of Tomorrow, it comes as a surprise when Brendan Fraser's gun toting hero is more entertaining and more believable than anything Cruise has to offer in this poorly conceived rehash, and while we praise Boutella's performance as the first female Mummy on the big screen, Vosloo's performance as Imhotep still reigns supreme. Though of course, Boris Karloff's legendary performance remains untouched.
Even the movies well publicized zero gravity plane crash action sequence does little to elevate this movie above its mediocracy, chiefly because most already know that Cruise survives the crash due to both his casting and that his resurrection was "spoiled", as with most movies recently, in the movie's marketing. There is literally nothing about the movie that can be commended and as such, The Mummy, in my opinion, doesn't even deserve Scified's lowest rating of one star.