This review is spoiler-free.
For such a recognisable and established property, there seems to have been very little fanfare regarding the release of the new Tomb Raider movie. This has the potential to hurt the movie at the box office because this should feel like a big deal, but for the majority of cinemagoers, it doesn’t.
The film has some good things going for it though, it has a great leading star and is very believable. It is certainly more enjoyable than the two other previous Tomb Raider attempts as well as various other video game movie adaptions.
With that being said, the film does have some real problems to deal with.
The main issue with the film is the colour pallet. It’s too brown, and at times it needed an injection of colour and vibrancy to distract you from the story when things got a little stagnant. As for the budget, it just wasn’t enough for such a big brand property. While the reboot video games downsized and grounded Lara, they still had some epic action sequences and carried that big brand feel. Here it just did not feel like it was given enough gravitas. The action is limited and the puzzle solving and tomb exploration is pretty much confined to what we have already seen in the trailer.
So how does Alicia Vikander perform in the role of Lara Croft? Much better than Angelina Jolie that’s for sure. Not to do Alicia’s performance a disservice, but there are similarities between her performance here and Gal Gadot in Wonder Woman. She’s strong, funny and you believe in her as a character. You can tell Vikander has trained hard for such a physical role. And it’s a good job that she has been hitting the weights, as she carries the film a lot here! She is the best thing about the film and is probably the main reason to see this film.
As for the rest of the cast, Walton Goggins is his usual brilliant self, a true villain who you do not want to cross. He always plays engaging and interesting characters. It’s a shame he does not get more mainstream roles given his clear talent playing the complex antagonist. Daniel Wu did a good job supporting Vikander and had more screentime than I thought he would get. As for Dominic West, his role was brief, but with what material he did have, he did well. Kristin Scott Thomas, Antonio Aakeel and Nick Frost added little to the cast.
Overall, it’s probably one of the best video game movie adaptions so far, but even then it’s not groundbreaking enough. At times the film drags its feet and despite some excellent work from Alicia Vikander, it does not satisfy what you want from a Tomb Raider product. It comes close, but not close enough.