Universal Studios has a dismal track record of trying to update its classic stable of iconic monsters. The Wolfman remake from 2010 was critically lauded, Dracula Untold attempted to kickstart a shared universe, and it fell flat on its fanged face. Most recently, 2018’s The Mummy reboot starring Tom Cruise was a boring action flick that had no scares, no heart, and failed so severely it killed the already planned spinoffs and sequels.
Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man remake acts as a course correction of sorts. Universal supposedly disposed of their plans to create an Avengers-esque monster team-up in favor of telling more personal, low budget stories. I was curious as to whether or not Universal would use the motion logo for their Dark Universe branding; is that plan 100% dead? There was never an official announcement. Perhaps The Invisible Man would serve as yet another brand-new launching point? As I pondered on these thoughts, the movie finally started, the Universal logo popped up, flickered black, and then went right into the film. That adorable Dark Universe logo was nowhere to be found. Universal’s Dark Universe is dead. Long Live Universal’s Newer, Darker Universe.
“Celia begins noticing strange things happening around her…”
I still had an uneasy feeling Universal was going to try to force the shared universe stuff into this film, and I’m happy to report that’s not the case. The Invisible Man is a fantastic horror-thrill ride from start to finish with no cameos and no setups to distract from the story and the characters. If this is truly the beginning of a modern update for their Universal’s Classic Monsters, then this is the direction they should stick with. The Invisible Man works because it’s a respectably clever psychological character piece with a fantastic performance by Elizabeth Moss.
I’m so damned happy we didn’t get Johnny Depp in a zany and wacky over-the-top showing where he injects himself with an invisibility serum, fights fodder monsters with a badly CGI’d Russell Crowe, and then forcefully pushes the next poorly written chapter that nobody wanted down our throats. Universal has seemingly learned its lesson and made a successful pivot. More of this, please.
"…Universal’s Dark Universe is Dead. Long Live Universal’s Newer, Darker Universe."