“This … Was … NOT … What … I … Took … A … Crossfit … Class FOR!” Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander) hangs on for dear life in a scene from TOMB RAIDER. Photo credit: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures. All rights reserved.
WATCH THE TRAILER(S) HERE:
Alicia Vinkander shines in Tomb Raider, but does the movie match her effort?
(In a word, “no.”)
KEY CAST MEMBERS: Alicia Vikander, Walton Goggins, Dominic West, Daniel Wu, Kristin Scott Thomas and Nick Frost
WRITER(S): Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Alastair Siddons (screenplay by); Evan Daugherty and Geneva Robertson-Dworet (story by)
DIRECTOR(S): Roar Uthaug
Finally ready to sign the papers that will give her control of the Croft empire (and declare her father officially dead), Lara drops everything when she discovers a clue in a box given to her right before she closes the deal – leading her to naturally head to Hong Kong. It is there she encounters Lu Ren (Daniel Wu), son of the man Lara’s dad tried to buy a boat from …
Fast-forward a few scenes later and Lara and Lu Ren find themselves on a remote island off the coast of Japan. But they are not alone. For while Lara (and an in-it-for-the-money Lu Ren) are there to find their fathers, it seems someone has found them first: Matthias (Walton Goggins), the on-island leader for a mysterious group known only as Trinity. And why is Trinity on this island that Lara’s father tried to go to in the first place? To find the lost tomb of Himiko, a.k.a. the Queen of Death. For as Richard would tell Lara – while instructed her to burn all of his research in the event of his death – it is believed that her supernatural powers will help Trinity take over the world.
But not if Lara can stop them first …
SO IS IT GOOD, BAD OR JUST AWFUL? March, as many sports fans know, is college basketball season. One team that gathered attention this year is the Oklahoma Sooners men’s basketball team – not because the team itself was that great, but because it had one star by the name of Trae Young that was CLEARLY the best thing the team had going for it. Even when he made a bunch of turnovers, he could deliver one electric play that could seemingly make the audience forget about the previous mistakes as his play was just that dynamic, dazzling and must-see. But ultimately, while his team did make this year’s NCAA tournament, they exited quickly with a first round defeat – called by yours truly in the two bracket pools he entered, by the way – to the little-regarded Rhode Island Rams.
If you haven’t figured out where I’m going with this, you will should you choose to watch Trae Young Alicia Vikander take on the role of Lara Croft in Warner Bros.’ reboot of the Tomb Raider franchise – because she is far and wide the BEST thing about the entire experience.
If you were to take away the Tomb Raider name from the movie, what you would be left with is, for the most part, a basic action movie. Likewise, the story is told in such a easy-to-predict foretelling fashion that the story itself – save for some standard-yet-still-interesting Indiana Jones/Mummy movie-series style traps – is ONLY interesting because Vikander is compelling as Croft. Her male counterparts, however, not so much.
Goggins, who has played his share of great villains in his day, is pretty much a standard issue crime boss in Tomb Raider from snarl to actions alike. Likewise, West’s “loving” father routine plays out a bit too syrupy at times as Lara’s father – sometimes to an uncomfortable, near-incestuous level. Wu is somewhat the male standout as Lu Ren in his limited scenes, in which he fortunately strikes a good balance between bravado and common sense.
Then again, the actions of just about every other male character either (1) don’t make sense or (2) almost undo the motif of the story. Since this review stays spoiler-free, let’s just say some things require a grand suspension of disbelief even within the world the movie establishes, which is saying something. (The games have more believable storylines than the movie does, right down to the twist at the end I figured out 8 minutes before it was revealed to the rest of the audience.)
Don’t get me wrong, the movie is not bad; it’s just that in an age of movies where Wonder Woman and Black Panther have set a higher standard for female superhero characters, Tomb Raider makes progress in a bad way by putting a great woman in a mediocre movie. Then again, given that March is women’s history month, maybe it’s fitting Tomb Raider proves a strong woman can outdo her male counterparts.
It’s just a shame she has to in every scene to make her journey try to reach the heights it should have naturally.