Starring Alicia Vikander, Dominic West, Walton Goggins, Daniel Wu, Kristin Scott Thomas, Derek Jacobi
Roger Ebert said, “No one can play Lara Croft like Angelina Jolie”. It turns out, he was right. Academy Award Winner Alicia Vikander (“The Danish Girl”) has struggled to find her place in Hollywood after winning such acclaim at an early age. The “Tomb Raider” reboot or prequel, is the first film to sit squarely on her shoulders. It turns out, she wasn’t the right choice for the role, despite her obvious dedication and determination physically. Vikander’s Croft doesn’t include the attitude or sass of Jolie’s, which closer matched the original video game personality, which has also been revamped. What’s worse, “Tomb Raider” 2018 leans into the absurd and the ridiculous just as much as the originals, learning nothing from the mistakes of the past.
Following her father’s disappearance, a young Lara Croft (Vikander) grows into a bitter one. Distancing herself from Lord Richard Croft’s empire, the young Croft discovers that her father was far more than just a business mogul. His secret office points her toward an island where an ancient Japanese Queen is said to lay entombed, holding a deadly curse that her father desperately didn’t want unearthed. Disregarding his instructions to burn all the clues that would lead others to the mysterious island, she charters a boat in Hong Kong to solve her father’s disappearance.
Roar Uthaug (“The Wave”) opens this new “Tomb Raider” with a bike chase sequence in London that screams to the audience, this is millennial Lara Croft. Despite some origin story mumbo-jumbo, the film is one perilous sequence after another. She always survives, no surprise, but outside of one boxing class, the audience should be very confused at how she manages all these jungle skills. There is little to no development with her character, or anyone else for that matter. It’s a rush to get to the dangerous island full of booby-traps. Walton Goggins (“The Hateful Eight”) appears on screen and says something that sounds like “I’ll will be your poorly written, resident bad guy for the duration of the film”.
It was Jolie’s charisma that made the originals tolerable, she was always the smartest person in the room. I understand the interest to revive this character during a time where female film roles have never been as popular, but writers have missed the entire point of the character. Vikander looks amazing with what she is doing, but she’s far more talented than the material presented here. “Tomb Raider” looks cheap and feels more “Resident Evil” than “Indiana Jones”. The originals were nothing to brag about, nothing is added to the franchise that we couldn’t live without. “Tomb Raider” is a reminder that video games should not be turned into feature films.
The third Tomb Raider film proves this franchise still has no business on the big screen.