The idea of a ‘cinematic universe’ isn’t as new as you might think, particularly as Disney has been sharing characters frequently for some time, and of course the Marvel brand his been mixing up its various heroes and villains for several years now. Naturally, however, the relatively recent success of Iron Man, Captain America et al has inspired several studios to start thinking about how they might possibly be able to tie in various characters and plotlines. Certainly, it’s a lucrative concept – earning Disney billions in the past few years alone – but as DC have shown (up until recently with the great Wonder Woman), getting a cinematic universe off to a good start isn’t as easy as it necessarily seems.
Universal have pushed their concept of a ‘Dark Universe’ – featuring various classic movie monsters and creeps – for some time, and this week the world has largely seen the debut of the first movie in the run, a retooling of The Mummy, starring Tom Cruise. The franchise had previously been helmed by Brendan Fraser and later Dwayne Johnson, though this latest version of the bandage-wrapped zombie’s curse comes in an entirely new flavour – that’s right, it’s another reboot – however, as Universal may be soon finding out, getting their critical foot in the door with a new cinematic universe isn’t as simple as they may have first thought.
The Mummy has so far received poor reception from critics, with the Rotten Tomatoes consensus currently dwindling at below 30%, and our review at One News Page scoring it two stars out of five - main complaints surround just how derivative or unoriginal the plot is and how many avenues for humor and lighter moments are left behind in favor of twists and stiff characterization. Some critics are even yearning for the halcyon days of Fraser’s Mummy-busting adventures – meaning that, at least at present, Universal’s Dark Universe has not gotten off to the best of starts.
Universal’s Dark Universe has tons of recognizable properties lined up for future instalments, with Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, Phantom of the Opera, Creature From the Black Lagoon and more supposedly being eyed up. It’s also thought that big stars such as Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender and Charlize Theron are on the books – but can they resurrect these beloved stories satisfactorily? The full verdict on The Mummy is yet to be solidified – but by the looks of things, it’s an adventure that should have stayed under wraps!