Critics Curse ‘The Mummy’ as ‘Bland’ and ‘Mechanical’

Reviews castigate inaugural “Dark Universe” title for eschewing true horror in favor of rote franchise tropes

Universal Pictures’ “Dark Universe” series has not gotten off to a good start, as critics have damned “The Mummy” as a bland and predictable big-budget summer title that, unlike the pharaohs of Egypt, will soon be forgotten in the mists of time.

With early reviews in, the film currently stands at 30 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, as reviews have criticized it for failing to dedicate itself to true horror like the original Boris Karloff it is based on. They also say it fails to establish a different identity in place of that horror, as Brendan Fraser’s campy spin on “The Mummy” did last decade.

“It’s the same loud, excessive strain of blockbuster that’s cursing multiplexes, barely qualifying as horror, adventure, fantasy, thriller, or even Tom Cruise vehicle,” writes TheWrap’s Robert Abele. “The erstwhile movie star — already currently involved in two other movie franchises — has rarely seemed so diminished or ill-used by the event-sized chaos around him.”

For more critical reviews, plus some rare positive ones, check out the critics below.

David Ehrlich, IndieWire

“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.”

Geoffrey Macnab, The Independent

“The jokiness risks undercutting any tension the filmmakers might have hoped of stoking up. It’s dismaying to see an actor of the power and presence of Russell Crowe hamming it up like just any other evil scientist in an overcooked B-movie. The use of London locations is on the tokenistic side.”

Fionnuala Halligan, ScreenDaily

“Everything about ‘The Mummy’ strains solely towards setting up a franchise in a world which only makes sense to its writers. Robin Hood could just as easily drop from Sherwood Forest, Aslan from Narnia, or even Pippi Longstocking from Sweden, and the plot would soldier on regardless. That’s fun for a while, perhaps, but it’s a short while. The sole mission here is to give Universal/Tom Cruise a stake in a new world of franchises […] And ‘The Mummy’ puts the cart before that horse.”

Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

In the end, having encouraged us to cheer for Tom Cruise as an all-around hero, the film tries to have it both ways and confer upon him some of the sepulchral glamour of evil, and he almost has something Lestat-ish or vampiric about him. Yet the film really won’t make up its mind. It’s a ragbag of action scenes which needed to be bandaged more tightly.

Hugh Armitage, DigitalSpy

“The movie has a popcorn sensibility that raises it above its shortcomings. It combines a sense of humour (channelling the Fraser films more than you might expect) with moments that are genuinely creepy and unsettling. Crowe provides a delicious helping of ham, and Cruise brings his usual charisma to the mix, almost reaching ‘Jerry Maguire levels at points – though the opportunity for him to cry ‘show me the mummy’ is tragically squandered.”