Over the years, Tom Cruise has been many things, but he's almost never been marginalized. As far as I can tell, The Mummy is the first Cruise-starring picture in decades in which his part seems like it could have been played by anybody.
That wouldn’t be a problem if the movie surrounding Cruise were in any way worth it. But alas, The Mummy turns out to be a drab, nonsensical affair that squanders its potential for humor, atmosphere and sweep -- qualities that the much-maligned, Fraser-starring 1999 Mummy had in droves. In this one, Cruise plays Sgt. Nick Morton, a treasure-hunting U.S. soldier in Iraq who, alongside beautiful archaeologist Dr. Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis), comes across the Ancient Egyptian tomb of Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella), a princess who once made a pact with Set, the god of death, in an attempt to gain power. (Yes, this Egyptian tomb is buried in Iraq. Don’t worry, the film has an explanation for that. Sort of.)
There's an idea here, and it might even be a good one: Tom Cruise trying to remain a good guy while struggling against the mental hold of the evil, seductive Ahmanet. It's a conceit that could play to Cruise’s strengths: the narcissism of his characters, their cocky bluster and charming opportunism. Unfortunately, as directed by Alex Kurtzman and written by a platoon of screenwriters (including Cruise's most recent Mission: Impossible collaborator Christopher McQuarrie), the film fails to turn any of this into a compelling cinematic throughline. This Mummy plays like a wan assemblage of underdeveloped concepts.