Movie Review – Tomb Raider (2018)

April 21, 2018

Beloved video game heroine, Lara Croft is getting a second run at a feature film franchise. Luckily, this latest film is based on the critically acclaimed 2013 reboot game Tomb Raider. The film is much more of an origin story than the game was, which causes the film to start off very slowly.

We meet Lara (Alicia Vikander), the 20-something adrenaline junkie working as a London bike courier. Cash strapped and behind on everything, Lara could easily absolve her debts, if she claimed her inheritance. She would need to do so soon, as the Croft estate is soon to be sold off. Lara would have to sign papers that would claim her inheritance, but end the search for her father, Richard (Dominic West), who’s been missing for a few years. After reluctantly accepting, Lara discovers a hidden office of her father’s, where she finds a camera with a recorded message from Richard, asking her to burn all of his research on Himiko, the mythical Queen of Yamatai, who could be considered the Queen of Death. All signs of her father’s work suggest that he found the lost island of Yamatai and went to investigate. Instead of burning the research, Lara sets off on her first adventure. 

Feature films based on video games have a knack for ranging from bad to nuclear waste. According to, only two films based on video games have grossed over $100m domestically, The Angry Birds Movie (2016) with $107.5m and Tomb Raider: Lara Croft (2001) with $131.1m respectively. The numbers don’t lie, video games that get adapted to the big screen, rarely turn out well. That’s usually because the films stray too far from what makes the games great and this Tomb Raider is no exception. 

Instead of Lara going off on an adventure because she’s a treasure hunter, she’s on an adventure looking for her lost father. Instead of the island being inhabited buy bloodthirsty natives that worship Himiko, The Island is inhabited by a shadowy organization who wants Himiko’s power for world domination. The differences from the game are great but, that doesn’t make Tomb Raider a bad film. It just doesn’t make it an accurate adaptation of the 2013 game, which is what is being marketed. Knowing that the film Tomb Raider, isn’t too similar to the game, makes it a lot less special, more generic, more pedestrian.

The film’s open ending suggests that Lara Croft could be back for future adventures. There is the equally excellent Rise of the Tomb Raider (2015) game to be adapted, but with the first film’s messy adaptation, furthering the franchise is a hard sell. 

Verdict: C+

Rated: PG-13 @ 118 mins

NOTE: In 3D, IMAX and IMAX 3D where available


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