Tomb Raider (2018) - Review
by Bryan Mero
Tomb Raider (2018) is a remake of the campy Tomb Raider movies with Angela Jolie. There's a brand new actress playing Lara Croft, a new director working in his first English film and it's based on the popular video game, not based on the previous movies...what could go wrong??
Lara Croft is a spunky, independent woman who can't seem to pay her bills. Her lack of money gets her kicked out of her favorite gym and reduces her to ride her bike delivering food. She's so desperate for money, yet she can't make herself sign the papers that would acquire her father's company all to her. She would never worry about money again...but first she must follow her father's footsteps. By signing those papers, she's admitting that her father (who has been missing for 7 years) is dead. This is where we start our adventure.
Ok, potential good start. This is a completely different Lara Croft. Where Angelina Jolie was seemingly indestructible, our new Lara (Alicia Vikander) is very athletic but is constantly in trouble and struggles at times to make the right moves. Our new Lara doesn't have money so she doesn't have all her cool gadgets for her adventure. She must rely on her strength, bravery and stubbornness to get her through each task. This all sounds great but somehow it all falls a bit flat. Where I was hoping for excitement, it feels more like watching the video game. There's no real sense of danger for Lara. I will say she is a good actress and did all her own stunts but when it's all edited together, it's just a bit "blah".
I don't blame Alicia Vikander for this. I'm looking more towards the director. The director is Roar Uthaug who directed films like: Magic Silver (2009), Escape (2012) and The Wave (2015). If you haven't heard of these films, there's a reason, they are all foreign language films and the only one I've been able to see was The Wave (2015) because it was on Netflix. Like "The Wave", Tomb Raider is a slow buildup to a climax that falls a bit short. I understand what he was trying to do, but it just doesn't work with this type of movie. There was never a moment in Tomb Raider where the audience has a reason to clap or cheer. I found myself disliking Lara for some of the incredibly bad decisions she made which in turn potentially could have destroyed the world. So instead of being a fun and likable character, she's more of a brave but stubborn woman who I questioned for most of the film. For being so smart with puzzles, she was very dumb in basic decisions.
Then there is the ending. Ok...a bit of spoiler territory here...so if you don't want to know, click away now. Still here? Are you sure? So once Lara returns from her adventure, she signs the papers that make her sole owner of her father's company...or so she thinks...until she realizes she's made a big mistake and there may be someone else pulling her strings...time to go after that person? Nope! Time to make sure she has on the Tomb Raider leather jacket we saw in the original movie worn by Angelina Jolie and make sure her hair is braided the same way. Oh, how cute, they are giving a nod to the original movie...but why now? The entire movie is so different from the original, why copy it now?? Then Lara goes to the pawn shop where she sold a valuable necklace, buys it back along with the same type of pistols that the original movie had...wait...what? So, was this just fan service? Or did they not know how to end this movie? As the screen went to black and the credits rolled...the silence was so obvious from the audience. There was no murmur of conversation. There was just a group of people who were not entertained.
Although I know this movie did well internationally, it didn't win the weekend in the U.S. I do suspect that they will make another. This franchise is ripe for more...but I can only hope they choose a better story to tell and a better director.
Save your money and wait for 'Ready Player One' or the new 'Avengers' movie.