A fairly forgettable and ill-conceived summer blockbuster, The Mummy follows Tom Cruise’s Nick Morton as he unwittingly awakens a centuries-old Egyptian princess and must subsequently stop her from essentially destroying the planet. It’s interesting to note that The Mummy, before it goes seriously downhill, fares quite well in its opening stretch, as director Alex Kurtzman delivers an Indiana Jones-like adventure that boasts a number of genuinely exciting and high-energy sequences – with the affable atmosphere perpetuated by Nick’s fun chemistry with sidekick Chris Vail (Jake Johnson, going full Jake Johnson here). Kurtzman does an effective job of peppering this portion of the proceedings with a number of memorable moments, including a fairly captivating interlude detailing the chaos that ensues aboard a cargo plane after said Egyptian Princess begins to wreak her havoc. It’s clear, then, that The Mummy begins to lose its tenuous grip on the viewer as it progresses into its oddly static midsection, as the action shifts to a bizarre underground bunker in which Russell Crowe’s Henry Jekyll delivers what feels like a solid half hour of exposition – with the momentum-killing nature of this stretch paving the way for a dispiritingly tedious final half hour that’s jam-packed with run-of-the-mill, special-effects-laden set pieces (eg a massive sandstorm that threatens to overtake London). By the time the final battle and silly twist ending roll around, The Mummy has definitively squandered any good will afforded by its comparatively masterful first half – which is too bad, really, given the expectedly committed work from star Tom Cruise.
** out of ****