Review: Tomb Raider (2018)

Director: Roar Uthaug
Screenwriters: Geneva Robertson-Dworet, Alastair Siddons
Starring: Alicia Vikander, Dominic West, Walton Goggins, Daniel Wu, Kristin Scott Thomas
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, and some language
Genre: Action/Adventure, Thriller
Theatrical Release Date: March 16, 2018
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 51%

Tomb Raider is more about Croft’s bravery, intelligence, and determination.  In her first leading role post-Oscar win (for The Danish Girl), Alicia Vikander shines and her months of training for the role clearly paid off.  She is almost too pretty for the role and when she was originally cast, many doubted that she could do it physically (no one doubts her talents as an actor).  But she definitely proved everyone wrong.  

We first meet Croft when she is boxing and affording to pay the trainer to pay to play.  She works as a bike courier, and the biking scenes through the city of London are just about as enthralling as those island scenes later on.  Her father has been missing for seven years – although, it seems longer, as the Croft seen in flashbacks appears too young – and she refuses to sign his will, which would pass on to her his massive inheritance; she is not ready to let him go.  A series of clues related to his disappearance lead her to Hong Kong, and then to a hidden, mysterious island in the South Pacific, where she encounters terrifyingly dangerous men like Walton Goggin’s character.  

On the island, Croft seems indestructible, as she manages to escape all sorts of near-deaths, and Vikander’s commitment in performing as many stunts as possible is admirable, to say the least.  In one particular sequence, she is dangling over a large waterfall, hanging onto an old wrecked airplane, and grabs a parachute as the plan collapses.  I would say Vikander almost makes it look easy, but her struggles and difficulties throughout her journey are surprisingly believable.  Like Jolie, Vikander is evidently more talented that is required by this role but, in this case, it works out in her favor; she excels in carrying this movie, elevating to something like an Indiana Jones movie.  But with a strong female character at the center. 

That is not to say that the movie is perfect.  For one, the plot is a bit farfetched, but what else would you expect with this type of movie?  Scribes Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Alastair Siddons, fortunately, don’t make the script too dialogue-heavy, although there are enough clichés present.  However, I found myself very invested in the story and in Vikander’s Croft.  Into the Badlands’ Daniel Wu, as the boat captain who brings her to the island, is great; and, while there is some flirting, there is no romance (which could have been hackneyed and a distraction).  Goggins is also obviously having a ball playing such an evil character, who is the clear villain/antagonist.  

The ending makes it apparent that one or more sequels are planned.  I, for one, would be excited to see where Vikander and company take it.  

Grade: B+