After the disaster that was Warcraft you can imagine my hesitation in going to see another action video game-based film but I wanted to support a female-led action film so I went to see the latest Tomb Raider movie. This is directed by Roar Uthaug who undeniably has the coolest name in movies today, and overall its an ok film.
I must admit that I struggled with Tomb Raider for the first act. There was a ton of set up before she gets to the island and aside from a fun bicycle chase it was not engaging me. I even fell asleep and my friend had to elbow me to wake me up…Yikes.
But when she got to the island things got much better, and I particularly enjoyed when they actually got into a tomb and did some raiding! There were some horror elements, and I liked the various booby traps and puzzles. There is a sequence with a key to a door that is particularly entertaining. These scenes are the kind of fun B movie material I expect in a movie called Tomb Raider.
On the other hand, a lot of the movie could have used more silliness. It is way more violent than it needs to be with people getting shot at close range and other pretty brutal moments. All the characters are taking the movie very seriously even down to nobody questioning the validity of a cursed tomb. You think there would be one person saying ‘you are all nuts to believe this hokum’?
Even the bad Indiana Jones movies are pretty sarcastic and funny, and I wish there had been more of that spirit in Tomb Raider. I realize not everything can be Indiana Jones but even more of National Treasure I would have appreciated. I guess that is more my style for this kind of movie.
That said, my friend did say that it emulated the game very well so I’m sure fans will appreciate those details. And it is an overall entertaining film. It will probably have a low rottentomatoes score, but I bet if you read the reviews they will be on the edge of fresh. It felt similar to last year’s Power Rangers Movie in that regard (I prefer Power Rangers because it had a lot of heart but I think review-wise they will be similar). I would find it hard to believe anyone saying it is Warcraft level bad. It’s solid, watchable adventure movie. I just would have made it a little more fun but that’s me.
The cast also helps elevate it. I really enjoyed Alicia Vikander as Lara. She is a kick butt character but she is also vulnerable and gets beat a lot. I also liked that she has a moment of shock when she realizes she killed a man. It’s in self defense of course, but still I appreciated they had her acknowledge what she had done. You don’t see that in many action movies. Walton Goggins is scary as the bad guy (like I said. He’s pretty brutal) and Daniel Wu is great as Lara’s friend. If they had thrown in one character for comic relief or to be the skeptic (ala Simon Pegg in Mission Impossible) that would have been perfect but it was still good.
Overall, if you saw the trailer for Tomb Raider and it looked like a good time I think you will enjoy it. It’s not perfect but there is enough entertainment there to justify a matinee ticket price. I hope it does decently because now they have set up the world and her skills, I think Lara’s next adventure will be much better.