I was going into this movie with low to no expectations whatsoever. I’m putting that on record.
A reboot, a film based on a video game, a director I’ve never heard of; films with these labels attached to them tend to require an open mind and since this incarnation of Tomb Raider falls under all three categories, I went in not expecting much.
Tomb Raider stars Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft as her origins are explored by director Roar Uthaug and writers Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Alastair Siddons. Young Lady Croft discovers a clue to the reason behind her father’s disappearance seven years ago and sets out to find answers only to find trouble in the form of the menacing Mathias Vogel, whose ambitions to open a mythic tomb could put the entire world in peril.
I cannot say that this movie is perfect. Far from it; it is a run-of-the-mill action flick with the usual twists and turns one might expect to see from an origin story. Simultaneously, even though this movie features tropes and clichés that you may see, this movie did hold my attention from start to finish. I’m in the camp that says Tomb Raider is pretty fun; not spectacular but safe and fun.
Ultimately, Vikander is this film’s biggest attraction and her performance demonstrates that she was 100% committed to the role of Lara Croft. She definitely delivered a physical performance that honored the spirit of the renowned video game character; I’m willing to go as far as say that Vikander made a badass Lara Croft.
Suffice to say that the rest of the players of the picture don’t exactly amount to much. Walton Goggins did alright as the antagonist, Dominic West is okay as Lara’s dad, Daniel Wu is relegated to something of a sidekick for Lara, Kristen Scott Thomas, Derek Jacobi, Hannah John-Kamen, Alexandre Williaume and the rest of the cast are extras who are reduced to the point of practical nonexistence.
Ultimately, the fault in this movie lies with the screenplay. It does enough to honor the spirit the video games and the character but it doesn’t do or offer anything else and in effect, everything about the film is weighed down.
What’s more is that everything that went into the production of this film was very bland. Junkie XL’s score, George Richmond’s cinematography, the editing of Stuart Baird, Tom Harrison-Read and Michael Tronick, Gary Freeman’s production design, Colleen Atwood and Timothy A. Wosnik’s costumes, the art direction, the set decoration courtesy of Raffaella Giovannetti and Maria Labuschagne and even the visual effects were pretty meh.
Tomb Raider may not be spectacular but it is gritty and has the clout to be a fun film if you go in with a clear head. In fact, the framework is there for a potential sequel and if a sequel does happen, with the right writing and director, Vikander can allow this character, whom she has really dedicated her time and energy into a rock-solid portrayal, to truly reach her full potential. It’s not the greatest adventure you will have at the movies but I was entertained by the presence of a strong and grounded female protagonist.