Similarly, the three credited screenwriters -- Christopher McQuarrie, David Koepp, and Dylan Kussman -- provide Cruise's protagonist with an enjoyable "scoundrel finds a heart" arc, but unlike the actor's 2014 vehicle Edge of Tomorrow, which followed a soldier on the path to self-awareness, the writers don't pair him off against a worthy adversary like Emily Blunt. He's adrift here. Digging for treasure that's not there.
But there's reason for hope. Even if Universal wants him to be the Iron Man of the Dark Universe, which seems unlikely given the film's tepid reception, there's still reason to believe that Cruise, one of our most hard-working movie stars, will rediscover his mojo. Later this year, he's starring in American Made, a drug-trafficking thriller that re-teams him with Edge of Tomorrow director Doug Liman. It might not lift the curse, or save the Dark Universe, but it should give him a chance to crawl out of the tomb-like hole he's currently in.