Universal Pictures has created some of the most iconic monsters in the history of film. Frankenstein’s monster, the Wolfman, Count Dracula and many more were brought to life and immortalized on the big screen by the studio.
It stands to reason that fans of the monster franchises would be excited Universal is bringing all the evil together in a new cinematic universe, dubbed the Dark Universe. Recreating such iconic characters in the horror genre and tying them together is certainly going to put people in seats.
This week, Universal begins their new Dark Universe with “The Mummy” – and it’s a pretty good start.
“The Mummy” introduces us to a “world of gods and monsters,” and does so with a nearly perfect blend of horror and comedy.
If you’re going to create a cinematic franchise based on the pioneers of horror, you better deliver some scares. And while this movie isn’t going to be causing any nightmares, it certainly makes the audience jump on more than a couple of occasions.
Princess Ahmanet, played by Sofia Boutella, is a wonderfully menacing villain. Boutella delivers a creepy performance while also allowing the audience to connect with the character. Her ever-growing army of decrepit undead followers certainly helps add to the film’s overall creep factor.
Russel Crowe’s Dr. Henry Jekyll also adds a very different kind of creepiness to the film. He fits in as sort of that anti-hero that you are not entirely sure you trust.
When it comes to cinematic universes, Marvel is the master, so it’s hard not to make some comparisons as Universal launches their own.
The comedic presence of the film is what might catch moviegoers off guard. It appears that Universal is following Marvel’s example by injecting humor into movies that are really covering very serious subject matter. (If you’re building a cinematic universe, it’s a smart move to follow this successful formula.)
Tom Cruise takes a break from playing the straight action hero and turns in a rather refreshing performance as Nick Morton. He scatters some great one-liners throughout the film and masters the comedic confused look, making him a very likable, relatable protagonist.
Jake Johnson, who is known for his comedic work, delivers as the hilariously reluctant best friend. The character appears in surprising ways throughout the film, some of which come across as a bit forced, pulling viewers out of some of the film’s more intense moments. Fortunately, this doesn’t happen often and the movie maintains an overall strong balance of horror and comedy.