Tomb Raider (2018) Movie Review

Who’s ready for a great video game movie featuring one of our favorite heroines–Lara Croft? Well, we are!

Lara Croft returns to theaters in Tomb Raider (2018), the latest movie reboot of the highly popular franchise from Square Enix. Lara, played by Alicia Vikander (“Ex Machina,” “The Danish Girl”), is a fiercely independent daughter of a missing adventurer Lord Richard Croft, Dominic West (“Money Monster,” “300”). Upon coming to grips with the thought that her father might actually be dead after being missing for seven years, Lara resolves to pick up where her father left off and seek answers regarding her dad’s disappearance on her own.

Similar to the games,  Lara in Tomb Raider (2018) is a brilliant woman who has a knack for puzzle solving, can kick-ass and make unbelievable jumps whenever necessary. Alicia Vikander does a wonderful job of portraying the 21-year old Lara Croft, the Lara that bears a striking resemblance to the video game version of Lara in Tomb Raider and Rise of the Tomb Raider.

In Tomb Raider (2018), Lara wants to try to live a life of her own. One that doesn’t revolve around her father’s inheritance. She spends her time in East London sparring to learn how to defend herself while working as a bike courier to make ends meet while attending college. When Lara is asked to finally acknowledge the death of her father after being missing for seven years, she reluctantly meets with her father’s business partner, Ana Miller (Kristin Scott Thomas – “The English Patient”), and triggers a chain of events that inevitably point to the mystery that her father was uncovering. Eventually, her investigation ultimately brings her to a dangerous island off the coast of Japan which was once believed to be named Yamatai.

For anyone wondering how the movie compares to the games, it’s a pretty decent comparison. Tomb Raider (2018) is as action-packed as the video games they are inspired by. From the onset, viewers can see that Lara is no pushover. Her stubborn spirit and sharp mind help her push through any challenges ahead of her. Lara’s survivalist skills kick into high gear when she encounters armed men who impede on her adventure after being shipwrecked on the shores of Yamatai.

Puzzles are key to the Tomb Raider franchise so it’s no shock that they are a key story mechanic in Tomb Raider (2018). Lord Richard Croft used to keep various Japanese puzzle boxes around the house while Lara was growing up. She recounts how she remembered solving them as a kid and is thankful that her dad secretly prepped her for the puzzles that lie ahead. A majority of the puzzles seen in the film are similar to the Japanese puzzle boxes which involve Lara staring at her father’s notes in order to decipher codes. Lara is called on to quickly solve riddles and puzzles in order to progress in her search while avoiding death. Something that is extremely critical to the games. One incorrectly placed puzzle piece or step could lead to her death.

Overall, if you’ve played either Tomb Raider and Rise of the Tomb Raider you might have pieced together that Tomb Raider (2018) is a blend of plots from both games. This might have been an attempt to make it easier for anyone that isn’t familiar with the game franchise. Tomb Raider (2018) looks like it’s starting to create its own cinematic universe that I’m not mad at. While it’s not a direct adaption of either recent Tomb Raider game, I appreciate what it’s trying to do, cheesy lines and all. While I think some diehard franchise fans might find faults with the movie, I appreciate that they didn’t water down Lara Croft to make her more relatable. While there is a lack of supernatural occurrences, the movie is definitely rooted in the real world. And by the end of the movie, Lara begins to mature into the badass we know and love.

Tomb Raider (2018) Poster

More About Tomb Raider (2018)

From Warner Bros. Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, “Tomb Raider” is the story that will set a young and resolute Lara Croft on a path toward becoming a global hero. The film stars Oscar winner Alicia Vikander (“Ex Machina,” “The Danish Girl”) in the lead role, under the direction of Roar Uthaug (“The Wave”), with Oscar-winner Graham King (“The Departed”) producing under his GK Films banner. The executive producers are Patrick McCormick, Denis O’Sullivan and Noah Hughes.

“Tomb Raider” also stars Dominic West (“Money Monster,” “300”), Walton Goggins (“The Hateful Eight,” “Django Unchained”), Daniel Wu (AMC’s “Into the Badlands”) and Oscar nominee Kristin Scott Thomas (“The English Patient”).

Uthaug directed from a script by Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Alastair Siddons. The director’s behind-the-scenes creative team includes director of photography George Richmond (“Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation”); production designer Gary Freeman (“Maleficent”); Oscar-nominated editor Stuart Baird (“Skyfall,” “Gorillas in the Mist”); Oscar-winning costume designer Colleen Atwood (“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”) and costume designer Timothy A. Wonsik (assistant costume designer, “Free State of Jones,” “Iron Man 3”).

Warner Bros. Pictures and Metro-Goldwiyn-Mayer Pictures present, a Square Enix Limited production, a GK Films production, “Tomb Raider.” Set for release on March 16, 2018, the film will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, and in select territories by MGM.

† Images from IMDB
‡ Thank you Square Enix for the review opportunity!