The 1932 version of The Mummy, starring Boris Karloff, is phenomenal. It’s one of the best monster movies ever made. There have been many mummy-related films since then, but I haven’t seen any that come close to the original. The 2017 version should be ashamed of itself for even thinking that it’s fit to share the same title.
A long, long time ago, an Egyptian princess named Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) wanted to summon Set, the god of death. She was caught, mummified while she was still alive, and entombed in Mesopotamia (now Iraq), far away from Egypt. In modern times, Nick (Tom Cruise) and Chris (Jake Johnson) are soldiers who are involved in a black market operation to find antiquities and sell them on the black market. They come across Ahmanet’s tomb, but their commanding officer (Courtney B. Vance) gets to them before they can loot the grave. He brings in Jenny (Annabelle Wallis), an expert on Egyptian culture to help with the excavation, which Nick screws up by releasing the magical chains that kept the mummy in check. And now Ahmanet wants to kill Nick and use his body as the vessel for Set’s return. Also featuring Russell Crowe as Jekyll and Hyde, because apparently, the movie wasn’t quite terrible enough when it just stuck to the mummy storyline.
It’s pretty appalling how stupid this movie is. There are so many things that don’t make any sense or that are completely contrary to anything resembling logic. Some of these are explained away by magic and destiny and Egyptian gods and stuff, but I guess most of the time, we’re just supposed to go along with it without asking any questions. We don’t need to know why these delicate, centuries-old items are so well preserved and so durable. We don’t need to know why there are zombies in a mummy movie. We don’t need to know why Nick can fire an automatic rifle but seems terrified of holding a pistol. We don’t need to know why Nick goes from annoyed at Jenny to utterly in love with her at the drop of a hat.
The film is also annoyingly schizophrenic. Sometimes it wants to be Indiana Jones. Sometimes it wants to be The Da Vinci Code. Sometimes, it wants to be a monster movie, although it can’t even manage to stick to one kind of monster, and it definitely doesn’t do “mummy” very well. Sometimes, it wants to be a superhero movie, and by the end, it definitely feels like it’s an origin story for some kind of analog to X-Men or The Avengers or The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. The only thing that’s really consistent throughout the movie is just how bad it is.