Before I dive into this review, out of sheer coincidence, I actually happened to replay Tomb Raider 2013 last week so a lot of the game is still pretty fresh in my head for this review.
So lets get down to a non-spoiler summary of the film then we’ll discuss what did and didn’t work.
Note: If you have a history with epilepsy I’m warning you there is a scene during the boat crash that consists of heavy flashing lights.
We meet a young Lara Croft, who after the disappearance of her father 7 years prior, is a struggling young adult trying to find her place in the world. When approached to claim her inheritance in the name of the Croft family left over from her fathers assumed passing, she discovers an artifact that leads her to the island of Yamatai. Her father ventured to Yamatai to investigate the mystery of the Japanese ruler Himiko whose spirit seems to haunt the island with her supernatural presence.
Lara goes to the island to seek out what happened to her father and runs into the shadowy members of the Trinity; an organization on the island that want to crack the mystery of Yamatai and use the power Himiko had to turn a profit.
So Lara must face all the odds, mostly alone, braving death and danger from both human and nature as she seeks to find what happened to her father and prevent Trinity from reaching Himiko’s power.
All in all the movie is…..not bad. Not ground breaking or amazing. It doesn’t really break the video game movie curse but at the same time I don’t have any major complaints.
Alicia Vikander I would say does a very good job as Lara Croft both in portraying the physical attributes of the character as well as the humanity, vulnerability, and sometimes stupidity of a more inexperienced Lara like we see in the game.
The father-daughter dynamic that is established explains why Lara seems so driven to find what happened to Richard Croft. It ends up being pretty heartwarming and somewhat relatable.
The way they tie in aspects from the game feels appropriate and not shoehorned in to the narrative such as where she gets her bow and arrow as well as the climbing axe.
The music does a solid job at helping keep the heartrushing pace Lara may be feeling during some scenes and there are some genuinely good action moments, as well as SOME clever integration of puzzles once they get into the titular tomb.
Also they do establish some of Lara’s abilities by giving them some backstory which I do enjoy because it explains why she is skilled later on the film and why she’s so fit by the time she reaches Yamatai.
I’m starting to notice when cameras have this weird slightly shaky effect and I am not a fan. Its quite disorienting even though I think the intention is to add a sense of drama but it doesn’t work for me. Please stop it movies.
The main villain, named Mathias, only shares a little with the one from the game but that isn’t the real issue. The issue is he doesn’t really come off as a threatening villain. Moreso just a guy doing a job. Walter Goggins unfortunately didn’t come off as intimidating in his role and was slightly underwhelming.
This sentiment carries over to the majority of the suppoting cast as well. Keeping in consideration that the cast doesn’t have many major names (Oscar winner aside). Outside of the Crofts, no one really LEAPT out at me as outstanding. Not even Nick Frost’s character cameo.
Also note how I said some stupidity before, there are a few headscratching moments in terms of Lara’s decision making that wouldn’t have really changed the narrative much had they streamlined it a little more. Although they do address it at the end and it ties into some potential sequel set up. I just think the way it was handled was clunky.
Lastly, there is a scene that is spoiled in the trailer and I knew it was spoiled in the trailer before going in. I wish they hadn’t put it there because it will mislead people into thinking she will have a certain recognizable weapon during her journey that she really wont.
Overall, it is a pretty straight forward plot. Fans of the new games will probably have a fine time with it and recognize attributes from Tomb Raider and Rise of the Tomb Raider. Honestly, I would say see it but go at a matinee screening to save yourself a little money.
It’s not a MUST SEE film but its an enjoyable time and if I’m being real with myself this experience did a lot more for me in getting the girl power message across than some other movies have as of late.
I would give it a solid 7. I wouldn’t mind seeing more of Alicia Vikander in this role to see where her character can go because she definitely has the range for it. It’s also made me very interested in her other work.
Like I said it wont break the curse but it does an admirable job at what its going for.