Lara Croft is the daughter of an eccentric Lord who vanished years ago in his pursuit to prove that there is an after life in order to feel closer to his deceased wife and Croft’s mother. Unable to move on after her father’s disappearance, Croft decides to go in search of her missing father and whatever he may have found in his last-known destination: a mysterious tomb on a mystical island off the coast of Japan. And this is where the real adventure begins.
Tomb Raider aims to reboot the early 2000s adaptations of the hit videogame series that starred Angelina Jolie in the title role – which to this day are still considered the genre’s watershed successes. Unfortunately this new film is a largely forgettable adventure with weak motives and unrealistic character arcs.
Played by Oscar-winner Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina, The Light Between Oceans), Croft’s unwillingness to use her father’s money to provide for basic necessities is commendable. However, the moment she pawns her mother’s necklace to raise funds for her trip, it becomes somewhat inane.
While Vikander’s performance was acceptable, I was never enamored nor drawn into her character. It also lacked a certain spark that would make me care for her as a person. Perhaps my lackluster for her journey stemmed from her father’s ridiculous need for proof of an afterlife when he had a daughter and multi-million dollar business at home to care for.
Daniel Wu (Geostorm, Warcraft) plays Lu Ren, the son of a ship captain who had agreed to take her father on his ill-fated voyage. He has an interesting introduction, though the predictability of his character arc left me wanting more as I watched the story unfold pretty much as I thought it would.
Walton Goggins (Sons of Anarchy, Justified) has the most interesting role in playing main antagonist Mathias Vogel. I found his complexity and my inability throughout the film to determine whether or not I liked him to be both intriguing and interesting. I’m usually quick to judge a character, placing him on the side of good or evil.
However, Vogel’s motives perfectly balanced that threshold in such a way that made it impossible for me to decide right up until the credits rolled. On one hand, he was clearly the antagonist, yet his desire to return home and see his daughters was something both inherently good and quite relatable.
Director Roar Uthaug (The Wave, Escape), seemed to be conflicted by the movie himself, as it was never quite clear what the point of the story was. While finding the mystical tomb was meant to be a threat, not finding it was also a threat. Therefore the entire film left the audience in a conundrum of not knowing who or what to root for. Even the editing was off as I noticed a scene where one second Croft’s hair was a mess, and in the very next instant, in the very same scene, it was pulled back neatly in a ponytail.
The only thing this rebooted Tomb Raider has going for it is the action. If you like people shooting other people, blowing things up and ships crashing in unruly seas, then you might get a few minutes of cheap thrills. I’m not even sure fans of the game series will get much out of this lukewarm adaptation. I can only say that just one day after leaving the theater my first thought was: what was the movie called again? My second thought was: what was it about again? In other words, this new Tomb Raider could be better called Lara Croft: Tomb Forgettable.