The obligatory threequel in a series that barely had enough steam for first outing alone, Secret of the Tomb stretches the ‘museum exhibits that come alive at night’ idea to breaking point, yet in doing so, manages to provide a pleasing sense of closure for the franchise.
With the magical tablet of Ahkmenrah losing it’s power, night guard Larry (stiller) takes the gang overseas to the British Museum, and seek Ahkmenrah’s parents, Merenkahre and Shepseheret, for help.
There’s nothing new in Secret of the Tomb and the narrative and jokes are thoroughly retreading the same ground, but this film is still a massive improvement on Museum‘s second outing. By this point, Ben Stiller knows the character inside out, and his leading man Larry is much of what’s good about the film. Here he plays a second character in neanderthal Laa with equal aplomb.
The likes of the late Robin Williams and Steve Coogan keep the film ticking over with charismatic segments, while Rebel Wilson is her usual jokey self even if some of here character’s stereotypes quickly grow old. As dastardly villain Sir Lancelot, Dan Stevens is typically dashing too.
There is a wider problem with the comedic tone of the film though and the dumb humour and slapstick didn’t work for me. Frequently too juvenile for adult viewers, there’s nothing clever in the script, just people slip-sliding around amid the toilet jokes.
This is a passable job of the ‘sequel on the road’ plot which will be a lot more fun for younger audiences. It is nice to see the characters round off their franchise arcs, and here giving a central role to Larry’s son (Gisondo) brings an extra element to the film. But the feeling upon the closing credits is more one of relief; with the plot nicely tied up, hopefully Shawn Levy gets the hint and finally moves on to try new things with his career. Though it’s generally been worth the ride, it’s time for the dust to finally settle on these characters.