8 years since it all began with 2006's Night at the Museum, 5 years since Battle of the Smithsonian and the franchise comes to a close with this year's Night at the Museum 3 - a delightful conclusion to a delightful trilogy.

Ben StillerRobin Williams, Ricky GervaisOwen Wilson, Sir Ben Kingsley; these are just a mere few of the greats fronting the finale of the Night at the Museum trilogy - Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb - complete with rampaging dinosaurs, mutated devil serpents, exploding volcanoes and the best cameo of the year. F*ck yeah!

We begin in the past, in Egypt, with a little boy (we later find out that this boy was Dick Van Dyke's Cecil, from the first film, who has a brief appearance in this) who falls into a Pharoah's tomb, full of gold, riches and all sorts of other treasures. Warned by the locals that taking all of it, especially the tablet of Ahkmenrah, would disturb the Pharoah's peace and will cause "the end", Cecil's father and his men decide to continue and extract EVERYTHING anyway. Well, that's only foreshadowing all the trouble this will cause for our heroes.

Flashing forward a few decades to today and picking up several years after the events from the end of Night at the Museuem 2, we're reintroduced to Stiller's night-guard Larry as he, along with Robin Williams' Teddy, Owen Wilson's Jedediah, Steve Coogan's Octavius and the others, undergo preparation for a special launch event for a new planetarium exhibition at the National History Museum. However, things don't go to plan.

When Rexy, Teddy, Sacajawea (Mizuo Peck) and the other 'exhibits' - including the new constellations that were being debuted - begin acting up, it's not long before the night is ruined and Larry's job yet again hangs in the balance. Realising that all the commotion was caused by the tablet withering away, he and a small group of primary characters head down to London - the British Museum - in search of answers about how to save the magic from Ahkmenrah's father Merenkahre (Sir Ben Kingsley).

Of course, along the way, trouble and chaos is guaranteed. When getting chased by a big-ass dinosaur, the group get rescued by a dashing knight in shining armour - Sir Lancelot, played brilliantly by Dan Stevens - who, in a way similar to Toy Story's Buzz, doesn't understand that he's not real and thinks his quest to find the Holy Grail is REAL (that gets out of hand quickly). They also lose Jedediah and Octavius during this sequence and things don't get any better from there onwards either but I don't want to spoil anything so I'll leave the rest a secret.

Now, I've actually enjoyed both the previous two instalments in this franchise; albeit if the second one wasn't as good and, since it was announced, I have been excited for Secret of the Tomb. Sure, after Battle of the Smithsonian, and Robin Williams' unfortunate and tragic passing earlier this year, I was skeptical about this and about whether it could work or not. It proved me so wrong! This film is so awesome and just such a delight.

It's funny, it's action-packed, it's even emotional at times, the visuals and the effects are simply stunning and it's just a fun movie to watch. Sure, there are a few plot inconsistencies here and there but given that this is a story about museum artifacts coming to life at night because of a glowing piece of stone, it can be easily forgiven for its fantastical approach. If you're picky about that sort of thing then, well, you must be one tediously dull person.

The acting in this is pretty good too. Everyone, all around, is on top form: with their performances; the humour; the cringey one-liners. Stiller has really grown into this role now and you can see that on-screen, this role is so effortless for him yet he's so great in it. He's in a double role too time time; also playing Laaa, one of the cavemen/native Americans/whatever you want to call them and he's wonderful as him too. He has some very palpable chemistry with himself. Robin Williams also shines, once again, as Teddy Roosevelt. It was emotional watching him and knowing that this was one of his very last films but he goes out riding (quite literally) with a bang. Mickey Rooney only appeared briefly in this too but it was lovely to see him on the big-screen for a last time. The two of them will be greatly missed.

Owen Wilson is great as Jedediah and, just like the previous two films, his relationship with Steve Coogan's Octavius is fun, quirky and so strong. I love both of them as actors and seeing them alongside one another is always a delight. The heart and the dynamic between the two is captured so beautifully. My favourite bromance, for sure. Newcomers Rebel Wilson and Dan Stevens also bring a new light to this family and world, with the latter taking the belly share of laughs and stealing every scene he is in.

Sir Ben Kingsley also makes a rather wonderful Pharaoh too, however his screen time resorts to nothing more than an extended cameo and, in fact, the actual cameo - one of the years' best, from such a HUGE (ackman) actor - in this has more lines than Kingsley. Nonetheless, I still loved seeing him in this. It's hard to deny the fact that everyone is fabulous and really pour a lot of effort and affection into bringing their characters to life - more so than what the tablet can do - and it's the veritable chemistry between them all that makes this so great and makes the finale to this even more emotional and poignant.

Everything about this puts a smile on your face, from the witty humour to the heartfelt moments to this cast sharing a real, genuine connection. Of course, being the last in the franchise (or so we've heard), this is just that little bit more special than the first two films and, arguably, is the best of the three Night at the Museum films. I had so much fun watching this and I know, for sure, that I'm going to miss these characters - especially Dexter because, let's be honest here, we all want our own Capuchin monkey.

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb is a fun film that's bursting with heart, warmth and emotion. Director Shawn Levy has crafted a beautiful goodbye to not only what has been such a memorable trilogy but to two of acting's greats - Mickey Rooney and Robin Williams.
★☆

About the Author

Awais Irfan
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.

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