Tomb Raider: Film Review

I groaned when the Tomb Raider reboot was announced because I didn’t think it was necessary as I’m a big fan of the Angelina Jolie movies. I was also very skeptical when Alicia Vikander was cast as Lara Croft – she didn’t seem like the right fit – but now I need to eat my words because she and the film are both great.

The film begins with Lara working as a bicycle courier in London with little money because she has refused to declare her father Richard (Dominic West) dead after he went missing years before. In order to save Croft Manor she goes to sign the paperwork and receives a puzzle from her dad which leads her to discover his secret office and his other life.

She realises he died while trying to look for and protect the tomb of Himiko, who he believes will wipe out humanity, and she uses his research to track it down on the uninhabited island of Yamatai off the coast of Japan, and find out what happened to her dad.

What I love about this Tomb Raider is how different it is to the Jolie versions. Croft hasn’t yet become the action hero she was depicted as before. It is refreshing to see Croft being given a makeover so she is more like an actual person than a men’s fantasy figure. She isn’t sexualised. This Croft is physically strong, looks incredibly buff but is also vulnerable; she gets hurt, she feels her injuries, she gets upset about killing someone, and she has genuine emotions, which felt far more realistic than Jolie’s, which was quite three dimensional.

Vikander is more than capable of playing Croft both physically and emotionally and it felt so good to witness a kickass character who actually feels something. She is awesome and erased all my doubts (although her British accent isn’t perfect). Her support cast is decent too – including Walton Goggins as the baddie, who is trying to open the tomb, and Daniel Wu as her transport/friend, and Kristin Scott Thomas and Derek Jacobi as Croft employees. Shame Vikander has the only substantial female part.

The plot is actually decent, if a little ridiculous at times, and there are lots of action set pieces to thrill viewers, from a London bike chase to all the traps surrounding the tomb (which reminded me of Indiana Jones and The Mummy). There were some attempts at comedy in the beginning and these were welcome but there could have been more. The script was nothing amazing but the general story and action scenes were entertaining enough that you could forgive it that. The final third was captivating and thrilling. I jumped a couple of times! I imagine children would be a bit freaked out by it.

I was really expecting the worst with this reboot and perhaps this low expectation helped, but it was actually good. I’m as shocked as you! What a pleasant surprise. It’s not often a film flips your expectation so radically. Vikander proved me wrong – she looked amazing and held her own and the movie was an enjoyable and thrilling action ride.

In cinemas Thursday 15th March 

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