Universal recently unveiled their very lofty plans for Dark Universe, a cinematic universe centered on their classic monsters that is going to use A-list talent to hopefully get audiences on board for these movies. The first of these thrilling adventures, Tom Cruise’s reboot of The Mummy, is set to kick the whole thing off this weekend. To put it lightly, things are not off to a great start. The first wave of reviews for The Mummy have arrived online and they could spell the end of Dark Universe before it even begins.
Tom Cruise is a credit to most movies that he is in, but it doesn’t seem as though he is going to be able to outrun some of the problems, at least as far as many critics are concerned, that director Alex Kurtzman’s The Mummy has going for it. As of this writing, the movie has a pretty dismal 29 percent approval rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, with 56 reviews counted. Universal was surely hoping for better. Many critics are close to the borderline on this one, with some calling it fun but airing on the more negative side. However, IndieWire’s David Ehrlich goes so far as to call it the worst Tom Cruise movie ever.
All of this is to say that not only is The Mummy the worst movie that Tom Cruise has ever made, it stands out like a flat note on a grand piano. It’s not that Cruise hasn’t had misfires before (and between Rock of Ages, Oblivion and Jack Reacher: Never Stop Never Reaching they’re happening at a faster rate), but The Mummy is the first of his films that doesn’t feel like a Tom Cruise movie. It’s not that it’s bad, it’s that it never could have been good. It’s an irredeemable disaster from start to finish, an adventure that entertains only via glimpses of the adventure it should have been. It’s the kind of movie that Tom Cruise became a household name by avoiding at all costs.”
That may be on the more extreme end of things, but it’s a bold statement nonetheless, and doesn’t bode well for Dark Universe. This whole thing is being built on the back of big name stars and Tom Cruise is about as big as they get. If he can’t save The Mummy, this whole thing could be in trouble. That said, the next movie is Bill Condon’s remake of The Bride of Frankenstein, which could be significantly different and distance itself from this movie if need be. However, some critics are really enjoying the movie for what it is. Perhaps this is an expectations driven thing. Here’s what MovieWeb’s own Brian Gallagher had to say about The Mummy in his review.
“While there is no shortage of spectacle in The Mummy, with some top-notch action scenes handled deftly by director Alex Kurtzman, it becomes quite clear that the story is the top priority, not only delivering a complex narrative that is emotionally resonant and satisfying, but also cultivating compelling characters. On top of all that, it also thoroughly sets the table for this universe, and how there is an organization like Prodigium equipped to handle whatever monster hits the big screen next.”
Hollywood doesn’t run on critical response. Money talks. If it didn’t, we wouldn’t be on the verge of seeing Transformers 5 in a couple of weeks. Unfortunately, things don’t look great on that front for The Mummy either. It is almost certainly going to lose out to Wonder Woman this weekend, with tracking putting it somewhere in the neighborhood of $35 to $40 million domestically. That is not the kind of money that screams “cinematic universe.” Still, the movie did very well in South Korea already and, depending on other international markets, The Mummy could still make enough to keep Dark Universe alive. But things are off to a rocky start, that much is certain.