Disjointed as a severed arm, The Mummy has a tangled knot of a plot. Its story is as confused as its grasp of mythology and geography, yet still it survives. The key to this life among certain death is, simply, fun.
The Mummy comes alive when it is aiming for enjoyment over excellence or just going for the jugular, be that in the action beats, comic dashes, even fear, gore and horror. Zipping around Iraq, London and, oddly, Surrey, The Mummy moves from stunts to set-pieces each enjoyable for their own reasons. The connecting tissue, however, is paper thin.
Taking twisted inspiration from hieroglyphics, director Kurtzman frequently resorts to telling instead of showing, needing exposition to mind the gaps. There’s an awful lot of world-building for the Dark Universe which is utterly unnecessary, and even within the confines of The Mummy‘s own story there is too much superfluous bumf which only complicates without purpose.
The Mummy is, essentially, Mission: Impossible – Zombie Mode (down to featuring an epic plane scene and making use of Ethan Hunt’s breath-holding abilities). Here we have a different Tom Cruise to usual; not worse, just different. He’s less serious, more rogue, still magnetic and energetic. Backed up superbly by the ever-watchable (new franchise favourite) Jake Johnson and Russell Crowe really relishing his dual role, The Mummy does have an issue with women – both Sofia Boutella and Annabelle Wallis are given too little to work with and are deeply underserved when they should be the heart.
The Dark Universe may have bitten off more than it can chew at its first sitting, making The Mummy too much of a parent to the infant franchise. However, this opening film is certainly fun enough to make the prospect of The Mummy‘s return or other stories a welcome one.
CAST: Tom Cruise, Annabelle Wallis, Sofia Boutella, Russell Crowe, Jake Johnson
DIRECTOR: Alex Kurtzman
WRITERS: David Koepp, Christopher McQuarrie and Dylan Kussman (screenplay), Jon Spaihts and Alex Kurtzman & Jenny Lumet (story)
SYNOPSIS: An ancient princess is awakened from her crypt beneath the desert, bringing with her malevolence grown over millennia, and terrors that defy human comprehension.