The Mummy has a 21% on Rotten Tomatoes, and the dismal rating (that’s been steadily declining) is well-deserved – the plot was mindless, the characters lacked depth, and the overall film was incoherently busy. It’s the first in the “Dark Universe” series, eight films that will interweave the stories of classic Universal monsters. Cool concept, and no doubt the special effects are impressive (expensive), but the initial installation was utterly uninspiring. Tom Cruise plays Nick Morton, a mischievous relics thief with military expertise and a continuous internal conflict about being a little shit. The glib flake of hero is a role that’s so overdone, but I guess I have to give Cruise credit for his ability to make an unlikeable character a little more charming. Jake Johnson from New Girl plays his sidekick, Sgt. Vail, who provides his signature whiny but charismatic comedic relief – I’ll allow it. And Russell Crowe rolls up with a dapper 3-piece suit and a sinister secret that could have an interesting “Dark Universe” twist, but the lazy follow-through is unrewarding.
But then there are the women. . . of course, we have blonde bombshell archaeologist Dr. Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis) who’s as dynamic as a box of rocks and has an unexplainable desire to see the good in Cruise’s character. All he did was, ya know, fuck her for an alleged 15 seconds, steal a treasure map from her place, then skip town. Boys will be boys, amirite? But even they don’t seem convinced of their supposed emotional connection throughout the movie. We also have Ahmanet, the supermodel Mummy (Sofia Boutella), who almost manages to be a fierce bitch but falls short because her rise to power is completely dependent on her ability to succubus the men around her. And, of course, the filmmakers pit the women against each other in competition for Cruise’s attention. Somebody pls expose these fools to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED Talk sample in Beyonce’s “****Flawless.” The women’s roles in this film are a representation of the concerns that Jessica Chastain voiced at Cannes – the female characters lack self-sufficiency, and their actions are primarily reactions to the dudes. This common occurrence at the box-office has a powerful implication: If we, as women, are constantly fed the narrative that we need men to save us, how are we supposed to believe that we’re actually capable of saving ourselves?
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