So, yeah, this wasn't very good. Lara Croft is one of the dominant female heroines in genre fiction at present with the problem of being one step forward, a backflip in place, and then a handstand. I absolutely loved Tomb Raider's 2013 reboot as a game franchise, even as it put our poor heroine through hell. I was less enthusiastic about the sequel, Rise of the Tomb Raider, which made her a somewhat unlikable plunderer of local Russian artifacts versus an anti-Catholic conspiracy theory. In effect, I have questions over whether people really know who they want Lara Croft to be.
|She can't even get a job in academia?|
The premise is a fusion of the 2013 video game with the Rise of the Tomb Raider games (which were partially based on the Angelina Jolie movies). Lara Croft is a poor bike messenger who refuses to accept her billion dollar inheritance because she holds out hope her father is alive despite his disappearance. After finding a convoluted series of clues in Croft manor, she ends up journeying to the island of Yamatai where she finds her father is still alive but hunted by the mysterious Trinity organization.
|She looks the part, at least.|
Alicia Vidkander is perfectly fine as Lara Croft. She's a little on the waifish side but clearly worked hard to make herself tough enough for this role. I think her acting chops are certainly up to the role, too, but the movie doesn't give her much to do with. She's upset her dad is missing but doesn't seem to have any friends and there's no one for her to play off against like in the video game (where she had an entire crew to rescue) or the movies (where she had a butler as well as IT guy).
Walton Goggins is wasted in his role as Mathias because he resembles neither the Mathias of the games nor Konstantine from the sequel. He plays a very subdued, almost stoic role that does not suit the story in the slightest. Really, it's hard to believe Lara should want to kill him whatsoever. We also don't get much use out of Anna, Lara's godmother and Richard Croft's ex-girlfriend. I didn't even know a character was Anna until the end of the movie.
|There's some decent stunts at the end.|
There's a few good moments towards the end, when we have a recreation of the game's "waterfall" moment and Lara trying to deal with a massive derelict WW2 bomber. I also enjoyed when Lara actually went into the tombs (one might even say "raided" them). However, even those action sequences had some logic elements. They have Lara killing Trinity baddies with her bow and that's all well and good but she ignores taking their guns--why? The Lara in the game does steal guns from her enemies. Oiye.
In conclusion, I just don't see a reason to see this movie. It's not the worst thing to ever come out of the Tomb Raider franchise but it's far from the best. Basically, they didn't give either the action or characterization necessary to make this movie work. I feel like there's more I should say about the movie but there's just not much to say. It's not a bad movie but at least a bad movie would have felt like it tried.