Tomb Raider 2018 Movie Review Delving the depths of Tombs

By Julie and Douglas Shepard

It has been 17 years since we got the first Tomb Raider movie starring Angelina Jolie in the lead role as Lara Croft. Now we have a reboot of the series with another Lara Croft, Alicia Vikander. There were vast differences between the two performers and the stories that they both tell. Jolie shows a competent and well-established treasure hunter with the wealth from successful adventures. Vikander shows an average person just trying to get by.


The story begins with Lara scraping by in London, working as a Bike Courier while training in Mixed Martial Arts. While she could inherit the Croft fortune, doing so means declaring her missing father legally dead. Eventually, a puzzle box starts the movie's story properly: she gets drawn into the mystery that claimed her father.


The movie appropriately takes inspiration from the game series without rigidly adhering to the plots of any particular entry. It has puzzle elements throughout which actually translate well to film. It offers a better game-to-film transition than any other video game movies. Puzzle traps encountered in the second act feel surprisingly believable. Many gamers thought the series would translate well onto the silver screen, and this movie does work to show those cinematic moments from the 2013 game do just that. Watching the movie feels like watching a video game, but without the feeling that you'd rather just be playing it. There is enough action to keep things exciting, and enough puzzles and platforming to make it not feel like a tomb-set shoot-em-up. The CGI did get overdone occasionally during the movie, which could break the immersion, but it still was something to revel in.


The movie does still present Lara Croft as she grows into the person who will properly become the Tomb Raider of the title. It does follow some of the same growth arcs as the game. The audience gets to see Lara struggle, taking her licks; but we also witness her tenacity. This is the main thing to focus on in the movie: her will to succeed and strength of her character. Vikander does a great job of showing the growing pains that Lara Croft goes through in the movie. Her journey from bike courier to tomb raider may rely a bit heavily on luck, but it doesn't feel unearned.


Tomb Raider presents itself very well. It is a fun movie to go and enjoy with good company. It has some very funny bits, with Lara running down thieves and her first encounter with Lu Ren, played by Daniel Wu. Tomb Raider took itself seriously enough to have believable characters but seemed to acknowledge there was a need to incorporate humor as well as suspense. These elements go a long way to make this a great Tomb Raider title and a very enjoyable movie.

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