Tom Cruise got hit by a bus, he fell out of a plane, he kissed an evil Mummy, which is kind of the same. The Mummy reboot is the first opening creak of the casket that is the Universal Dark Universe (bad name, cool idea), and it’s a popcorn blockbuster with an emphasis on the corn. Tom Cruise plays Nick Morton, the ditzy anti-hero with some wonderfully jarring wisecracks.
The Mummy juggles monstrous action, slapstick comedy and a wafer thin love interest, but is saved by an encouraging return to Universal’s true spooky horror roots. The first half of the film delivers some genuinely impressive scares, bone crunching undead zombies and the same CGI creepy crawlies of the Brendan Fraser era. Having Sofia Boutella play the mummified villain Ahmanet is a refreshing gender flip, plus it’s cool to see Cruise get thrown around like a rag doll by a woman half his size.
Despite The Mummy‘s sluggish final act and truly embarrassing hallucination scenes, there’s exciting potential for what else the Dark Universe can excavate from its own tomb. There’s a throwaway shot of a skull with fangs that screams DRACULA 2021 and we get a ridiculous insight into the Jekyll to Russell Crowe’s Dr Hyde (it’s just Russell Crowe with a stronger British accent).
Perhaps The Mummy tries to cram too many cursed gems into its own sarcophagus, but I don’t think we should bury our hopes just yet. Just as Russell Crowe barked randomly through his jowls: welcome to a world of gods and monsters. You’re in for some big, dumb, freaky fun.