By Sean Nelson
Universal wants in on this current trend started, and perhaps perfected by Marvel in having a cinematic universe. Lucky for them they have a whole bunch of movie monsters from back in the day to exploit and create a shared universe, what they are calling Dark Universe. As the universal logo appears as it normally does, the camera closes in slowly the earth gets darker and “Dark Universe” appears on the screen. It’s effective, and a way of distinguishing itself from other monsters movies that might be made while this new shared universe still exists.
But will it continue? After the failure to launch this shared universe in 2014’s Dracula Untold, Universal went all in on their second try. Getting one of the last true movie stars, Tom Cruise to headline the first entry of the series as well as other A-lister Russel Crowe to play the combo role of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde.
If anyone follows Rotten Tomatoes you’ll see as of the time of writing it’s on a well and truly rotten score of 17%. It does not deserve that rating, and it looks like after a few bad ratings and a lot of critic’s general dislike of Cruise some have jumped on the bandwagon of tearing it apart. And this movie does deserve to be torn apart, it’s not a great movie but it’s not the worst movie ever conceived. It’s just, a bit dull and treats the audience very dumb because Universal knows, even if critics don’t understand this, but the money for movies (especially Tom Cruise movies) is in non-English speaking countries. So western audiences will watch it, and the amount of exposition is insane but it makes sense, globally, and financially.
The storyline follows Tom Cruise’s character Nick, who while working for the U.S. Military actually is a hunter of antiques to sell on the black market. After he battles soldiers in Iraq and airstrike uncovers a tomb/prison for the evil princess Ahmanet played by Sofia Boutella. After being taken out, she awakens but needs Nick to perform a ritual to give his body to the deity named Set who will take over it and they’ll rule the world. Lots of action sequences, Tom Cruise running and exposition ensue, we have Ahmanet’s origins explained about three times to us and I won’t delve any deeper into the plot because it’s not necessary.