The Mummy kicks off  the “Dark Universe,” which promises to interconnect all the classic movie monsters from Universal Studio’s past. Taking note from DC and Marvel it’s not entirely surprisingly this is happening after all. Big budget movies these days have to promise an expanded universe, and spin-off sequel potentials to its audience. There’s a huge problem with the debut Dark Universe film in that might be sucking the life, and fun that made these films classics in the first place.

Perhaps the problem with this movie in particular lies in the Mummy’s flawed backstory. The beautiful Egyptian princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) — spurred by revenge against her father for having her destiny as the Queen of Egypt wrongfully taken away from her — is entombed deep in a crypt in the desert, where she’s held imprisoned in her tomb for thousands of years until she’s awaken by a trio of adventures (Tom Cruise, Jake Johnston, Annabelle Wallis). Upon being awakened by Nick Morton (Cruise), she unleashes her mighty wrath on the modern day world.

But where is all the romantic allure of this new Mummy? Almost every cinematic incarnation of the monster from the original’s Boris Karlof to Arnold Vosloo in the campy Stephen Sommer version offered a doomed romantic undertone. The “Love Never Dies” tagline of Francis Ford Coppola’s brilliant Bram Stoker’s Dracula comes to mind when thinking of the Gothic romantic appeal of these films. Kurtzman’s revenge fueled Mummy feels like it misses the mark completely here.

The film also feels like it’s made purely as a coming attraction to the upcoming Dark Universe films. Russell’s Crowe’s Dr. Jekyll makes an appearance telling Nick about the mysterious secret society that searches the world for monsters to exterminate. (Don’t worry his laboratory is fully of Easter eggs that will probably lead to other films, as well as a cute little nod to the Brendan Fraser’s Mummy).

For all of this grouchy review has to say it should be mentioned that Sofia Boutella hands down walks away with every scene she’s in. After making memorable appearances in Kingsman and Star Trek Beyond this woman is clearly a force to be reckoned with. Boutella is fun to see in the role even if the bore of a script doesn’t give her a lot to work with. Hopefully she’ll be making a return over Cruise’s character in the upcoming film if they go according to plan.

While I applaud certain horror elements to the story, like Ahmanet sucking the life out of people to create minions of the undead to accompany her, the story never quite rises above to anything particularly that exciting. Almost settling too comfortably into a star vehicle for Cruise, with his leading lady running along side of him. – You can add one more Cruise running away from something dangerous to the YouTube supercut- There’s something about the star vehicle that feels a little stale, and Cruise feels miscast here. It’s a monster movie that is neither scary, or has the campy thrills the franchise should have in the first place.

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