'The Mummy' Review Round-Up: Some Fun To Be Had, But It's A Derivative, Messy Adventure

Last night brought the first round of press screenings for The Mummy, the first film in Universal's ambitious Dark Universe franchise that will see remakes of classic monster movies from the studio's history, including The Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Wolf Man, The Invisible Man, Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, as well as recently announced additions The Phantom of the Opera and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

With a lot riding on its shoulders, how does The Mummy fare not just as the start of a major franchise, but as a new vehicle for Tom Cruise? Well, the reviews don't have many kind things to say, which doesn't bode well for the Dark Universe, despite Universal's confidence in the franchise.

Find out more in our The Mummy review round-up below.

Peter Bradshaw at The Guardian was extremely unimpressed, writing in his review:

This has some nice moments but is basically a mess, with various borrowings, including some mummified bits from An American Werewolf in London. The plot sags like an aeon-old decaying limb: a jumble of ideas and scenes from what look like different screenplay drafts.

The Cruisemeister himself is left high and dry by plot lurches which leave him doing his boggle-eyed WTF expression. In one scene he is nude so we can see what undeniably great shape he's in. The flabby, shapeless film itself doesn't have his muscle-tone.

Daniel Krupa at IGN isn't quite as harsh, but still found the movie unsatisfying:

The Mummy isn't completely rotten, but given its heritage and larger ambition it feels frustratingly generic and unfulfilling. There are moments where it reaches out for horror and produces something interesting and distinct from Hollywood's other blockbusters, but those moments are buried beneath unremarkable and, by the end, tedious action sequences. As the first chapter in the coming Dark Universe films, The Mummy contains glimpses of promise and potential, but it's far from the most solid foundation.

David Ehrlich at IndieWire doesn't pull any punches in bashing the movie:

Not only is "The Mummy" the worst movie that Tom Cruise has ever made, it's also obviously 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.

Vince Mancini at Uproxx came up with a damning simile to describe The Mummy:

Watching The Mummy is sort of like going to Vegas' newest casino, where you get to witness corporate America's most cynical vision of what the average wage-earning slob should do with his disposable income. It's all chintzy faux extravagance, a simulacra of a real experience, a strip mall recreation of a better place. Vacation Island has all-you-can-eat crab!  And between the cement Eiffel Tower and plaster sphinx there's the surprisingly well-preserved corpse of Tom Cruise, reanimated for three shows nightly.

The Mummy trailer 3

John DeFore at The Hollywood Reporter doesn't think Tom Cruise works well in this movie:

Weirdly out of place here, Cruise brings little daring and less charm to the film, though to be fair to the actor, his character's a stiff: Nick Morton, an Army sergeant who secretly loots antiquities from Iraqi war zones, might have been a charismatic anti-hero in Drafts One or Five of a script credited to David Koepp, Christopher McQuarrie and Dylan Kussman (with story by Jon Spaihts, Alex Kurtzman and Jenny Lumet). But what made it to the screen is a watered-down version of "irresistible rogue" with all the irresistibility trimmed away.

Meanwhile, Chris Nashawaty at Entertainment Weekly praises Tom Cruise as the movie's secret weapon while also lamenting the film's stumbles as a whole:

It all feels a little derivative and unnecessary and like it was written by committee (which a quick scan of its lengthy script credits confirms). Cruise turns out to be the film's secret weapon. He may not be totally comfortable selling some of the film's jokier moments, but at 54, he's a seasoned pro at selling narrative silliness with a straight face, a clenched jaw, and a superhuman sense of commitment. I'm not sure that this aimless, lukewarm, but occasionally rollicking take on The Mummy is how the studio dreamed that its Dark Universe would kick off. But it's just good enough to keep you curious about what comes next.

Dan Jolin at Empire was entertained despite the movie feeling messy and uneven:

For his first big blockbuster as director, Star Trek/Transformers co-writer Alex Kurtzman has stitched together pulpy adventure (a la the last Mummy remake), horror (as you'd expect), Mission: Impossible (perhaps inevitable with Cruise in the lead and Christopher McQuarrie sharing script duties) and mad-stalker-girlfriend psycho-drama (yes, we weren't expecting that either).

It's a strange mix all right, but it is at least lighter on its feet than the iconic Doctor's lumbering, bolt-necked revenant. Rattling along at a fair old clip — as most Cruise movies do these days — The Mummy '17 proves a hokey entertainment that should keep you sufficiently distracted for a few hours without unduly bothering your higher brain functions.

An odd but frothily entertaining genre cocktail, which coasts on the charisma of its two biggest names and keeps things just fun enough to forgive its considerable lapses in narrative.

Michael Phillips at Chicago Tribune only liked two things about The Mummy:

I never thought I'd miss Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz's wide-eyed facility with droll camp quite so much. I liked two things about "The Mummy." The design idea and digital execution of the mummy's eyes, both sporting two separate pupils, works nicely. And the way Crowe pronounces the phrase "the past," which goes past "the past" all the way into "the pust," really is stunning. Now that's an upper-crust dialect! The rest of the movie is a pain in the sarcophagus. I fear that it will anger the gods.

The Mummy sofia

Matt Singer at ScreenCrush didn't enjoy himself much either:

The Mummy is the sort of film that feels like four different stories written by ten different people (and, sure enough, the script and story are credited to six different writers, including Kurtzman, David Koepp, and Christopher McQuarrie).

The nonsensical story would matter less if The Mummy would get out of Cruise's way and let him do what he does best. Instead, it buries him beneath punishing dialogue scenes and surrounds him with unconvincing and unoriginal special effects; one of the centerpiece action scenes, with Cruise trying to outrun a sandstorm as it engulfs London, is a rehash of a similar (not to mention better-looking) beat in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.

Rodrigo Perez at The Playlist think The Mummy is a poor start for the Dark Universe:

How presumptuous is Universal, who haven't earned an ounce of goodwill with an audience yet, and still has the stones to flash a title sequence announcing Dark Universe, a giant film franchise that begins with "The Mummy." You can't fault ambition, but unfortunately for the studio, their confidence that you'll love the film and want future monster movie installments is only matched by a total unawareness that the picture is a dreadful mess, tonally incoherent, and often unintentionally funny. It's a deadly combination that's both cynical in its mercenary view of franchise assumptions and clueless about its worth.

Brian Truitt at USA Today is one of the few critics who seems to have genuinely enjoyed The Mummy, though he does call it more of a guilty pleasure than an outright good movie:

The Mummy unwraps a surprisingly welcome gift for moviegoers: a film with Tom Cruise being unheroic for a change, a freaky-deaky breakthrough for Sofia Boutella and a satisfyingly nutso beginning to a grand monster revamp.

Directed by Alex Kurtzman, The Mummy (*** out of four; rated PG-13; in theaters nationwide Thursday night) is a tomb full of action-packed guilty pleasure that owns its horror, humor and rampant silliness equally. It also pays faithful homage to its previous namesakes: This Mummy shares a weird romantic bent with the 1932 Boris Karloff classic and is just as adventurous as the more recent Brendan Fraser vehicles, though with less of an Indiana Jones vibe and more in common with The Walking Dead and Shaun of the Dead.


The reviews of The Mummy certainly don't seem to be very kind, but each of them does say that the film has some impressive action sequences here and there. It's just not enough to make the proceedings all that interesting, to the point that it seems not even Tom Cruise can save the movie, which is a bummer.

The Mummy hits theaters on June 9, if you dare to take a chance on it.