Alicia Vikander’s portrayal of Lara Croft stays true to its video game character. Well, the Crystal Dynamics’ 2012 reboot that is. Tomb Raider (2018) has some stellar action sequences, and a great performance by Vikander, however, its story and character development are lacking.

An Origin Story

The film shows off the origins of Lara Croft, rather than the already adventurous bad-ass seen in the Jolie films or in previous installments of the game. In this film, Lara Croft is an inexperienced adventurer that is not ready to undertake the role of a tomb raider just yet. This serves as the origin of how that role comes to fruition. It does not take the entire character development that was seen in the game, but that is where it could have benefitted. The transition to an adventurer is not as well thought out and often times feels a bit rushed. In one moment, Croft is getting beat down in a sparring match, but the next she is taking down a bunch of enemies. We, the viewers, do not see a transition into the warrior the Lara Croft is.

Messy Backstory

Lara Croft is just an average girl, but she is also from an extremely rich family. At least, that’s how it’s portrayed in the film. Lara is seen attempting to escape her past and her family name while trying to start a new life. In the early sequences of the film, Lord Richard Croft, her father, has been dead or at least missing for quite some time. Lara Croft does not want to sign his death certificate out of hope that he is still alive. She eventually comes to find his research and begins a quest to seek out where he may be. Throughout the film, Lara struggles with her past relationship with her father because he was never there when she needed him. The film does little to establish the father-daughter bond that they were clearly aiming for. It is automatically assumed that the two are inseparable, but how could this be when the father is barely around? It does not make much sense.

A Lack of History

In the film, Lara Croft is searching for the tomb of Himiko, the queen of Yamatai. This may be familiar to fans because it is the same one seen in the 2013 Tomb Raider game. However, the search varies in both versions. The game centers around a young Archaeology student whose research leads her to an abandoned island in a dangerous part of the ocean. The film mentions nothing of this. Lara Croft is just a bike courier that had not even gone to university. Lara is just on a quest to seek out her father, not to find Himiko. There are puzzles in the movie that Lara must encounter as well as other obstacles, but she does not use any sort of schooling to overcome it. She is only able to pass these sections by things learned in the movie. There is no history to be learned from this, except in the opening five minutes of the movie. This differs from the game and the character at hand. Lara Croft has always been a highly intellectual adventurer that faces many perilous challenges in the search for ancient tombs. The film drastically alters this aspect of the character.

A Fun Movie

Tomb Raider (2018) is still a fun movie to watch. There are a ton of action sequences that are really well done. One of my personal favorites was the scene featuring Lara trying to escape but having to traverse a large airplane. By no means is this scene Oscar-worthy, but it is one that is appealing to the eye. Alicia Vikander does a great job as Lara Croft. She portrays the highs and lows that the character feels while also bringing some personality to the character. Her performance is one of the redeeming factors this film has to offer. It is a great movie to scratch that action movie itch one may be having.

Overall, the film chooses to take a completely different route that the character is used to. A messy backstory and plot are helped by cool action sequences and a great performance by its lead actress. Hopefully, this film is able to see a sequel and can fix the problems seen in this installment.

Tomb Raider (2018) Movie Review
Tomb Raider (2018) is a fun film to watch but does little to create a compelling narrative and lead character.
Overall Score
  • Alicia Vikander's Performance
  • Action Sequences
  • A Messy Backstory
  • Weak Plot
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