Tomb Raider (2018)

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Video game movies are typically poor.  Perhaps it is because they try too much to stick to the way the video game presents the story.  Or maybe they just believe that the audience will simply be there because the I.P. is known.  I don’t know, but the track record is pretty poor.

The new rebooted Tomb Raider is not going to end the talk about the weak video game movie, but it is not too bad.  There is one main reason why Tomb Raider succeeds, and her name is Alicia Vikander.

Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander) is an independent woman who, despite being heir to a huge fortune, refuses to sign the papers that would give her access.  The reason?  Her father disappeared seven years before and by signing those papers, Lara would have to admit to the fact that her beloved father (Dominic West) was truly dead, and she was not ready to do that.  However, through circumstances, Lara discovered the truth about what her father had been working on at the time of his disappearance and she took off to see what she could find.

I was not a fan of the Angelina Jolie Lara Croft films or the video games, so I was easily able to step into this film without any predetermined opinions, and what I was able to come away with was something I can remember since seeing Ex Machina and The Danish Girl.  Alicia Vikander is absolutely gorgeous.

Vikander commands the screen like few stars today do.  She is amazingly beautiful and I would be willing to watch her in just about any movie at any time.  Vikander is not just a beautiful face and an unbelievable physical being, but she is also a tremendous actress.  She brings more to the role of Lara Croft than you would think could be brought.  In this film, there was not a great deal of dialogue for her to use, but you could always see the compelling and depth of emotions from Vikander via body language and facial expressions.  She is the type of actress that you simply cannot take your eyes off and she elevates this material.  I am absolutely certain that had this role been any other actress, I would not have enjoyed this film in the manner that I did.  Alicia Vikander is a total star.

Then, I really enjoyed the first two acts of this movie.  Lara Croft was not made out to be a super hero.  She had flaws and she failed as she moved along in her life.  This made her even more relatable of a character.  The scene with the bicycle race at the beginning of the film is a perfect example of this (which also was a fantastic action scene).

Another great thing about Lara was she is portrayed as being very smart and, I believed that, because of the way Alicia Vikander played her.

Now, the third act crumbled as the story took a turn into a different type of movie with a ridiculous premise and story twist that came out of nowhere.  There were several puzzles for Lara to solve to make it through the tomb and the problem with those was none of them were puzzles that could be solved by the audience.  It took much of the fun from the film.

The villain was played by Walter Goggins and he was a one note villain who was after what was inside the tomb for reasons… but none that made any sense.  Goggins is a great actor, but this role was so thin that it would not matter whom you placed in this role.  It would all be the same.

There were some very strong action pieces, such as Lara Croft hanging off a crashed airplane above a waterfall or a chase scene though London after some pickpockets.  Yet, I was not much of a fan with the action pieces in the third act, particularly the final fight with Goggins.

Still, there is more here that I think is good than is bad, and this film has the unbelievably talented and attractive Alicia Vikander making a perfect Lara Croft.  I think if they make more films in this franchise with the current crew, this could be just the beginning of something excellent.   For now, this film will have to settle for being fun and an overall good time.

3.3 stars

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