REVIEW: Dark Universe’s The Mummy (2017) by James Wright

Image copyright Universal Studios 2017

The film itself, I believe, is good and actually left me hopeful for the follow-on films in the franchise.

The action was adequate without being too much and the idea that a lot more is coming was enough to make me want to wade through this movie.

And unfortunately, that’s where things start to go wrong.

Whilst it is a good movie, there seems to be too much going on from a narrative perspective.

There’s the whole Tom Cruise’s character arc, the backstory for the Mummy herself, the Annabelle Wallis’ story, and the whole Prodigium thing going on, with Russell Crowe’s Dr Jekyll easily being the best of the bunch at this early stage – but therein lies the movie’s greatest problem, I believe.

Whilst it was nice to see Dr Jekyll in the movie, I feel that Universal should have opted more for an Iron-Man and Avengers angle to it all, by which I mean, we have the whole movie play out with Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella, and Annabelle Wallis.

All throughout, Wallis references this organisation she works for that deals with ancient evils like the Mummy, and the movie leaves little side notes about its presence without making it an overarching plot point.

Tom Cruise defeats the Mummy, good conquers evil, you know, that whole shebang, and then during the closing scene, Russell Crowe pops in with his team and introduces Tom to Prodigium.

From here, Tom becomes a defacto member of the organisation who is tasked with uncovering and defeating all these evils, in the same way, that Iron-Man does his own movie in Iron-Man 1, then at the very end, Nick Fury comes along to introduce the Avengers angle

That, I feel would have made more sense narratively, because you’re not playing too many cards at once, and you get to see who the chief protagonist is.

Instead, the way the movie actually plays out is Russell Crowe’s character takes almost as much of the centre stage as Tom Cruise, making you wonder who the main character is supposed to be.

I know the movie has to establish a lot of backstories, but there is around 75% exposition and around 25% of actual worthwhile content happening, and it makes that last 20 minutes or so feels so rushed that you may find you missed key plot points being relevant.

A number of ongoing storylines throughout confuse the plot to a point where you can’t quite follow what’s happening in certain areas, and there are certain plot points that come up that don’t even matter apparently.

Added to that, you get an ending that doesn’t so much leave room for another movie in the franchise to come along but rather the thought of “oh, right, so what exactly is going to happen now then?”

Now don’t get me wrong, I thought the movie was good, and as I said in the beginning of this review, it’s left me hopeful for the rest of the franchise, and whilst I’m not the biggest Tom Cruise fan, he isn’t awful in the lead.

I just wish that they could have focused more on the actual movie and the narrative central to it, then setting up the story arcs that will undoubtedly come up over the series – like I said, only around 25% of The Mummy feels like it was actually part of this movie and not just setting things up for later.

But above all this, despite everything else I may have said on the matter, the biggest regret I have with the movie is the fact that they introduced Dr Jekyll not only far too early in the movie, but had to also include Mr Hyde – something I feel could have, and probably should have, had an entire movie for in it’s own rights.

In summary then, I’d rate it a solid 3/5 Nerds – worth watching and hanging around for with the knowledge that it’ll lead to (hopefully) bigger and better things, but ultimately, not enough to warrant a 2nd visit to view.

-James, 12/05/17

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