Tomb Raider (2018)

TOMATOMETER

Critic Consensus: Tomb Raider reboots the franchise with a more grounded approach and a star who's clearly more than up to the task -- neither of which are well served by an uninspired origin story.

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Lara Croft is the fiercely independent daughter of an eccentric adventurer who vanished when she was scarcely a teen. Now a young woman of 21 without any real focus or purpose, Lara navigates the chaotic streets of trendy East London as a bike courier, barely making the rent, and takes college courses, rarely making it to class. Determined to forge her own path, she refuses to take the reins of her father's global empire just as staunchly as she rejects the idea that he's truly gone. Advised to face the facts and move forward after seven years without him, even Lara can't understand what drives her to finally solve the puzzle of his mysterious death. Going explicitly against his final wishes, she leaves everything she knows behind in search of her dad's last-known destination: a fabled tomb on a mythical island that might be somewhere off the coast of Japan. But her mission will not be an easy one; just reaching the island will be extremely treacherous. Suddenly, the stakes couldn't be higher for Lara, who--against the odds and armed with only her sharp mind, blind faith and inherently stubborn spirit--must learn to push herself beyond her limits as she journeys into the unknown. If she survives this perilous adventure, it could be the making of her, earning her the name tomb raider.

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Critic Reviews for Tomb Raider

All Critics (277) | Top Critics (41)

Vikander, who can balance flinty charm with sympathetic humanism, helped keep me invested, but Tomb Raider could best be described as a solid step forward, away from past wrongs.

Mar 21, 2018 | Full Review…

I longed for [Daniel] Wu to return to the screen whenever he left it.

Mar 20, 2018 | Full Review…

"Tomb Raider," stuffed though it is with curses, vaults, and locks that cry out for secret keys, is not really about a legendary quest, or family honor. It's about Alicia Vikander.

Mar 19, 2018 | Full Review…

There's no way to hate a movie that has spiked poles, booby-trapped caves and zombies, but you can fault it for not trying as hard as it should.

Mar 18, 2018 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

[Vikander] invests herself in Lara Croft, and the filmmakers, unlike the ones Jolie got saddled with, frame her with awe rather than lust. Now if only they could bring some of that awe to the tombs...

Mar 16, 2018 | Full Review…

For a while, it looked like director Roar Uthaug was going to deliver a video game movie that transcended the genre, mostly through the neat trick of having his ass-kicking heroine be driven by the thoroughly human desire to be Daddy's little girl again.

Mar 16, 2018 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Tomb Raider

So [i]Tomb Raider[/i] was a game from Core Design that was released back in 1996 primarily for the Sony [i]Playstation[/i]. Many sequels followed over the years taking us up to the 2013 release which was a reboot of the games series. This 2013 version gave us a new in depth look into the origins of the games protagonist, Lara Croft. This 2018 movie is an adaptation of the 2013 game reboot whilst also being a reboot of the first two [i]Tomb Raider[/i] movies from 2001 and 2003. A Tsunami of Cliches (the plot): The most generic plot they have come up with? Yep. Lara (Alicia Vikander) is essentially a mega rich British woman thanks to her fathers business of whatever. But for some reason Lara is not interested in accepting her fathers inheritance because reasons. Her father Richard (Dominic West) disappeared whilst searching for Himiko, a mythical Queen who was said to have power over life and death. Richard is presumed dead (of course). So after much personal angst and discovering the stereotypical hidden chamber stocked with clues, Lara goes off on an intrepid adventure in search of her dad. Briefly, she meets up with a good looking toned Chinese bloke. She convinces him to help her. They both sail off to find this mysterious island set right in the middle of a treacherous section of the Pacific (where no on ever survives type scenario). They get shipwrecked on the island. Lara gets 'rescued' by what turns out to be the bad guys. The bad guys work for a dodgy company who are also after this mystical supernatural power. The bad guys are all big muscular blokes carrying large automatic weapons. They find the location of the mystical Queens tomb. Its chock full of booby traps. They get past all the booby traps. All the bad guys get killed. Lara makes it out alive as the whole place comes tumbling down. Generic enough for you? The start of this movie doesn't really help. Lara is in London working for as a bike courier and decides to enter into this rather childish game of chase for money. Basically loads of blokes try to catch her and grab this fox tail off her bike (essentially a flag) before she can reach a certain destination, I think? The entire sequence looks lame and stupid. Its cringeworthy because the whole time there is this rock soundtrack playing in the background as if the entire sequence is supposed to be 'kewl'; like its some kind of extreme sports around west London, pfft! All the guys chasing her have these extreme haircuts, shades, clearly expensive bike gear, inked and pierced up etc...Its so flippin' pathetic. But at least that sequence was real in real locations. Unfortunately so much of this movie looks fake because its bolstered with tonnes of CGI. The now infamous waterfall sequence which we all saw in the trailers, yeah it looks terrible. The bomber looks terrible, the rapids look terrible, and Vikander copy and pasted against it all looks terrible. Speaking of that bomber, kinda looked like a WWII plane. That in itself would be a huge discovery...but who cares! No time for that. Literally everything Lara does in this movie is against bloody obvious CGI. All the set piece backdrops, every time she leaps across something (in cliched slow motion), hangs from something, stands in front of something. Not only that but Lara is bloody useless in this movie too. She literally spends the whole time getting beaten to a pulp by various blokes, only occasionally does she manage to actually win...kinda. I mean on one hand that's more realistic for sure but blimey does she take a beating in this. Lara also takes a huge amount of damage ranging from really nasty landings from heights, getting struck by objects, and even getting a puncture wound in the belly! Its like they went for realism in terms of fighting blokes, but went down the videogame invincibility route for surviving really nasty incidents. The whole bit with Lara finding her dad was incredibly [b]incredibly[/b] predictable and cliched. I mean it was so fudging obvious right from the start. The fact it actually happened and director Roar Uthaug tried to make it surprising just made me facepalm. Not only that but naturally her dad just happens to have a bow and arrow with him, something that Lara just happens to be a dab hand at (ugh!! please!). So now Lara's running around with an apparent unlimited supply of arrows. Oh and all the bad guys drop dead straight away after being shot by an arrow, stone dead instantly. Lets take a quick look at the bad guys who are led by Mathias Vogel (Walton Goggins) and who all work for the shadowy Hyd...I mean Trinity organisation. Well as I said before they're pretty much you're bog standard merc type in movies these days. All roided up with hipster beards and tattoos. There only appears to be about six of them at first but their numbers become inexplicably bigger during an action sequence. Suddenly there are loads of guys just waiting to get shot with guns or arrows. The only bad guy of any worth is of course Vogel. A solid slimy villain who is quite happy to kill people. The rest are just background fodder for weapons and booby traps. I find it amusing in movies like this how both the protagonist and antagonist are looking for one specific item and often ignore everything else. Like in this movie they discover this ancient tomb with wall to wall treasures such as ancient text on walls, markings, various artifacts, what looked like precious gems or stones to stop a booby trap etc...Heck even the various skeletons lying around the place could be historically important. But they always totally ignore all that, often allowing the stuff to get destroyed in the process. Frankly the entire movie is a snooze fest until Lara and co reach the subterranean tomb of Himiko. There we get some nice thrills with the booby traps but even that can't detract from the fact its retreading very familiar ground from a certain Spielberg/Lucas franchise. I mean they virtually copy some aspects beat for beat to a degree. I quite liked the notion that this ancient mystical power turns out to be a deadly potent disease. But then they absolutely ruined it by going down this zombie-esque state route. I mean honesty, hasn't that whole angle been totally milked dry already, come on guys. I quite liked how they made the movie a bit more adult orientated, a bit dark. Its was also acceptable that Lara wasn't a superhero type character all the time, although I felt she did need to be a bit tougher at times. Its a fine balance I know but Lara did seem a bit sidelined in her own movie at times (maybe that's just me). But overall I'm pretty shocked at how generic this was and the fact they copied other movies.

Phil Hubbs
Phil Hubbs

Super Reviewer

½

You just can't win with game adaptations. This one is so close to the two latest games that you sometimes wonder if you played exactly that action sequence before. Alicia Vikander is also a pretty perfect cast, both likable and tough. Unfortunately the showdown in the proverbial tomb falls a bit short, both in design and delivery. This is still a fine adventure film that would deserve to be continued.

Jens S.
Jens S.

Super Reviewer

How to deliver a film based on a video game known for its lust appeal, physicality, and some few puzzles to figure out? Well, this is more than simply a decent attempt, that's yards better than the previous one. Vikander provides the charisma aplenty and the action fully engages the physicality of the video games. Interestingly, the "little girl looking for her long lost Dad" angle was possibly the weakest element here. Felt like the second one would be better somehow.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

½

Lara Croft was best known for her exaggerated physical assets (rendered as Madonna-worthy pointed polygons) and short shorts than as any sort of character. She was realized on the big screen in 2001's Tomb Raider as an elite physical specimen portrayed by Angelina Jolie, where the filmmakers went the added step of padding Jolie's bosom to better reflect the source material's image. The filmmakers literally thought this aspect would be make-or-break with fans, as if Jolie herself was not naturally vivacious enough. As you can imagine, Lara Croft was primarily seen as a sexy avatar, whether on the small screen or the big screen. This new Tomb Raider aims to better ground its story, tone, and central heroine, and it mostly succeeds. This is a solid, pleasantly enjoyable mid-tier action movie that might also qualify as the best video-game-to-film adaptation so far (sorry Uwe Boll). Lara (Alicia Vikander) is struggling in the wake of her father's (Dominic West) disappearance. It's been years but she holds onto hope that dear old dad is still out there. One day, she discovers her father's secret study and a video message he recorded confessing why he left. He's seeking a fabled tomb on a hidden island off the coast of Japan, a tomb devoted to a powerful goddess of myth who sacrificed her admirers. Also looking for the tomb is Vogel (Walton Goggins) and a team of armed mercenaries. Lara must stay ahead of the mercenaries, find her father and the long-lost hidden tomb. This is a Lara Croft stripped down and absent the male gaze, which has defined her travails just as much as the treasure hunting adventures. There's not a single shot in the movie that seeks to ogle Vikander's lean body. Even her outfit, as mentioned a staple of Croft's early appeal, is a modest take top and khakis. The emphasis this time is on what she endures and overcomes rather than the curvature of her body. This is an attempt at an origin tale, rebooting Lara for a new generation of fans. She's less the cool buxom sexpot with the twin pistols than a struggling young woman facing her fears. This is the first time Lara Croft has been envisioned as a character. There's a level of broader realism that the movie holds onto, positioning this Croft as less the gun blazing super cool badass and more as a stealthy, plucky, and scrappy figure of moderate action. There are moments where she hides and moments where she runs, as they are the best recourse. She's not imposing in her build and poise like a Gina Carano (Haywire) but Vikander's got some serious moves. With all that in mind, let's not get too carried away here. Lara Croft may have some extra dimensions but she's not exactly a fully formed, three-dimensional character or boasting the kind of magnetic personality that drew us to Indiana Jones or even a Nathan Drake. She's capable but also limited in interest and charisma. The action is invigorating enough and given a clear scope of play. Norwegian director Roar Uthaug (The Wave) orchestrates the action in clean long shots and precise edits, allowing the audience a clear sense of what is happening. A frantic bicycle chase and foot chase in the first act are given extra vitality by a roaming camera that takes in the full view. There's enough variety in the action and natural consequences to keep things interesting. This is a movie that doesn't feel overpowered with CGI, even though I know it's present. Uthaug makes a point of emphasizing practical effects and sets, which adds a further level of realism to the excitement. I'd call it a more pared down, realistic version of an action adventure but it still has outlandish set pieces like Lara finding refuge atop a crumbling WWII era bomber that just so happens to be wedged atop a rock face overlooking a steep waterfall. Even during these moments, and the last act takes place almost entirely within the ancient tomb and its traps, the movie keeps things relatively credible. It's fun without being too flippant and serious enough without losing its sense of amusement. Tomb Raider reminded me a lot of a big-screen version of an Uncharted game, a rollicking adventure that also feels rooted in our own world, but with a hint of the supernatural creeping along the edges. The conclusion has a few nice surprises following this pattern even with the possibility of actual zombies emerging. Vianker (The Danish Girl) acquits herself nicely in the realm of action-adventure. She gained twelve pounds of muscle and has a pretty impressive six-pack. Vikander is a smaller actress by nature but the filmmakers do a fine job of placing her in believable action scenarios that rely upon her athleticism. Her Lara is a stubbornly independent protagonist who refuses to give up, which makes her a winning force even when her personality fails to sufficiently light up the screen. Vikander hurls herself into the role, performing an impressive array of stunts, and yelping along to the genre demands. There are some plot holes that are hard to ignore, mostly pertaining to motivations. In the first act, we learn tat Lara is heir to a vast fortune of money and a big company that owns many other subsidiaries. However, she refuses to essentially inherit the company because it means having to sign papers declaring her missing father as deceased. I understand the character's rejection of wanting to accept her father's death, but when taken to this extent it becomes almost comical. Lara is seen scraping by for enough money to survive on her own. She's forced to pawn her heirlooms and work as a bicycle messenger. She's struggling to get by and yet her pride is standing between her and a massive fortune. This is just stupid. What's to stop Lara from signing the paperwork, inheriting the fortune, and using said fortune to continue the search for her father? There's also the motivation of her absentee father, who left to thwart the bad guys from finding the special tomb. However, he inadvertently leads them there because he was tracked. Had he not even left, the bad guys would not have found the island's location and he could have been in Lara's life. This is transparent potting to simply move the pieces across a board. Another example is Lu Ren (Daniel Wu) a ship captain ally she picks up that serves no real purpose other than ferrying her to the island. One character that benefits from motivation is the villain, Vogel. He's not some mustache-twirling rogue but rather a guy hired for a job that wants to go home and see his kids again. It's a nice, empathetic touch that makes Vogel grounded and a better fit. Tomb Raider is a smaller, leaner, and enjoyable little action movie of modest ambitions. That sounds very conditional, I'll admit, but it's a scaled-down version of an exaggerated character doing splashy, sexy, exaggerated action heroics. It's a stripped down reboot that grounds the action while still finding enough ways to have fun. It does get a little caught up in the edicts of an origin tale, overpowering moments with "First" significance (First Adventure, First Kill, First Fight, etc.). There are also some head-scratching plot holes that get glossed over to keep things moving along. Vikander is one tough cookie, and the film celebrates her brains as well as her brawn and absent any ogling camerawork. Tomb Raider is a suitably exciting action film that gives some hope for future Croft adventures. Nate's Grade: B

Nate Zoebl
Nate Zoebl

Super Reviewer

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