Tomb Raider is directed by Roar Uthaug and stars Alicia Vikander, Dominic West, and Walton Goggins. Roar Uthaug is new to the Hollywood scene. Prior to Tomb Raider, Uthaug has only been credited with directing foreign Norwegian films. The cast however, has been around the block and I expected some decent performances from the core three actors.
Tomb Raider opens up with a narrated expositional scene. During this scene, we learn about some ancient corpse called Himiko. This women possesses a deadly power that if unleashed, could wipe out all of humanity. Luckily, Himiko rests within a tomb that resides on an “uninhabitable island” named Yamatai.
Enter Lara Croft
We find our Heroine in London, as a bike messenger trying to make ends meet. This is definitely not the Lara Croft I was use to growing up. My Lara Croft is rich, college educated, and always in a position of power. All those things aside, the first act of this movie was fun and very well paced. Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft added personality to a character that I always found to be lacking in the personality department. So this was a nice change of pace for me. I also appreciated the attempt to make Lara seem relatable. And she would have been relatable to a lot of moviegoers if she did not have nonsensical reasons on why she refused to accept her inheritance from her father’s large estate. As fun as the first act of the movie is, it adds nothing to the overall plot.
If have not seen the trailers for this film, I suggest that you don’t. The reason being is that ninety percent of the action sequences are shown in both trailers. This is not a knock on the film, but more so the production team. I can never fully enjoy a scene that I already seen in the trailer. And a lot of this movie is spoiled for me coming in.
The action in this film is heavily inspired by the action sequences in the 2013 rebooted Tomb Raider game. From a nostalgia standpoint, I enjoyed seeing these sequences recreated on the big screen. But there’s only so many times I can watch Lara barely survive a sinking ship, a crashing airplane, or a collapsing Tomb before I get bored. Be prepared to come into this film ready to suspend your belief. Lara Croft makes it out alive through a lot of scenarios where the average human being would have been killed, or at the very least be seriously injured.
How was the Villain?
Walton Goggins as Mathias Vogel seemed bored to me on screen. And maybe it was because Mathias’ motivations were weak. The goal for Mathias, was to unearth the Tomb where Himiko lays to rest, so Trinity can reek havoc on the world. Only then will he get to go home and see his family. The events leading up to Mathias discovering Himiko took seven years. That’s a long time to live on a “uninhabitable island”. And it’s even longer if you’re running an expedition funded by a secret organization bent on global genocide, and yet to come up with results.
I never got the sense that Mathias was all in for the Trinity cause. There’s a scene where Lara and Mathias finally find the remains of Himiko. And at the expense of a couple faceless henchmen, it’s discovered that one touch by the remains of Himiko means certain death. For a father who wanted so badly to get back to his family, it made no sense to me that he would want to supply something so deadly to an evil corporation.
Who Did It Better?
Leading up to the 2018 Tomb Raider release, you may have noticed in the comment sections of the inter webs, that a lot of people preferred and praised Angelina Jolie’s performance as Lara Croft. Jolie brought a level of cool to the character that would probably be classified as cheesy in today’s action films. The days of the 90’s action stars and cheesy one-liners are over. Jolie’s Lara Croft was perfect for the times that the movie came out. But it was certainly nothing worth praising. They were disposable popcorn action flicks.
And this rendition of Tomb Raider can also be classified as a disposable action flick. But the difference is, there’s a level of seriousness to it. Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft is likable. She seems like a real person. And her sense of desperation in tense scenes are believable. But like Jolie, their was nothing ground breaking about Vikander’s performance. So it’s a tie for me!
Hollywood has a terrible track record when it comes to making quality video game based movies. And the 2018 Tomb Raider does little to change that trend.
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