Movie Review: Tomb Raider (2018)
The rebooted Tomb Raider is the latest video game adaptation to hit the big screen. Based on the 2013 version of the popular video game, the film follows Lara Croft as she journeys to find answers regarding her missing father. The film was directed by Roar Uthaug and was written by Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Alastair Siddons. Alicia Vikander stars as Lara Croft with Dominic West co-starring as her father, Lord Richard Croft. The supporting cast is also comprised of Walton Goggins, Daniel Wu, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Derek Jacobi.
After a brief introduction to her father’s work and the legend of Himiko, the story picks up with Lara Croft boxing in a ring at a gym. It is soon revealed that Lara is behind on her payments to the gym and works as a bike courier. When a paid gig ends up in an arrest, her father’s business partner, Ana Miller, posts bail and warns her about the future of the company if she does not claim her inheritance following her father’s prolonged disappearance. When Lara finally goes to sign the paperwork, though, she is given a Japanese puzzle from the lawyer, which leads Lara to discover Richard’s hidden office. Instead of destroying everything as Richard asks in a prerecorded message, Lara decides to set off on an adventure to find out what happened to her father and potentially find him herself.
So, I feel the need to begin my review by giving a disclaimer: I’m not a gamer. Everything I know about the character of Lara Croft comes from the previous Angelina Jolie movies or just promotions for the video game itself. Despite my lack of detailed knowledge about the game or the character, I found this adaptation to be enjoyable. I have already picked on it a little for all of the impossibly long jumps made throughout the course of the movie, but I genuinely think it has some great action sequences. I also think it has some pleasant twists and turns along the way. I especially appreciated the way they handled the legend of Himiko, which I won’t go into anymore here to avoid spoilers. Additionally, the casting choices worked for me, and I immensely enjoyed Vikander’s and West’s performances.
Obviously Lara Croft is the main character of the story, but her arc ended up being my favorite part of the film. I really like that this story is based on her becoming the character in the video games instead of her already being this tough, brilliant archeologist. She goes through a lot of self-discovery in the process of finding out what happened to her father. She is pushed to the brink physically, emotionally, and mentally throughout the course of the film, and it ends up informing who she becomes. I really liked that the heart of the film was a girl in search of a father she misses and loves, and they managed to craft an exciting mission of discovery around that premise. Also, I thought Alicia Vikander completely delivered on everything this movie required of her, and her dedication to performing many of her own stunts adds to the quality of the film.
In my opinion, Tomb Raider is neither the best movie nor the worst movie I’ve seen this year. It ends up playing out as the fun action adventure movie that I fully expected it to be. While it may not be a game changer in the video game adaptation world, it does stack up as one of the better ones to date. Vikander’s performance and the arc of the character guarantees that I’ll be back in the theater for a sequel if the franchise moves forward. Also, there were some moments that reminded me of Indiana Jones, which I absolutely loved. If you are a fan of archeology-based action movies, then I would say that Tomb Raider is definitely worth a watch in theaters.
Mollie is a film enthusiast, aspiring writer/screenwriter, and a lover of all things Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Doctor Who. She is the co-founder of The Digital Shore (@thedigitalshore) and Above The Line (@atl_movies). You can follow her many adventures through Twitter and Instagram at @mcbeach.