29 June 2017 | gwyckoff
Much better than the reviews. Not your usual stale monster film
This movie is quite enjoyable. I'm not sure why it's getting so many bad reviews. The action is fast paced and the acting pretty good, plus it avoids most of the major structural pitfalls that plague the monster movie genre. There were some flaws, which I will mention later, but first the strong points:
"The Monster Always Dies". One big structural problem with monster movies is the lack of suspense. In the end, the monster is always vanquished. Any suspense revolves around the hero discovering the monster's 'fatal weakness' just in time to save the heroine. In some cases, as with the 1999 Mummy remake, the resolution is telegraphed so early and so strongly that you grow board waiting for Brendon Frasier to wade through all the special-effect laden cliff hangers to finally win the day.
This remake handles the problem in a very creative and unexpected way by first making the monster venerable almost from the start and then secondly by introducing another antagonist who turns out to be equally threatening to the hero. This builds suspense as the protagonist is threatened from multiple sides.
Ultimately all this climaxes in a completely unexpected ending that I honestly did not see coming; something really unique for a monster film. It may, in fact, be this ending that contributes to the negative reviews since strictly speaking it violates the hallowed monster flick formula most people have come to expect.
"Damsel in Distress". Another tiring issue with monster films is the obligation to service the inevitable damsel-in-distress theme. Again, Mummy 2017 takes a unique approach by making Tom Cruise and Annabelle Wallis effectively co-equals protagonists. Sometimes she saves him, sometimes he saves her, often with a good deal of humor in the role reversal.
All-in-all a movie worth seeing, but of course there were some flaws. Character development is kept to a minimum; only enough to service the plot line. This contrasts with the 1999 Mummy which excelled in wonderfully interesting characters who, unfortunately, were deployed in the service of a mundane and predictable plot. Other flaws include under use of Jake Johnston as the comic relief and a serviceable but uninspiring performance by the heroine Wallis. Had she matched the charisma brought by Cruise's performance it would have added a whole new dimension to the movie. In general, though, I liked it and am interested to see more of the 'Dark Universe'.