Tomb Raider Is Like A Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich, Plain But Tasty (Movie Review)

Tomb RaiderI feel like I have been waiting forever for this reincarnation of the Tomb Raider movie franchise.  While we just covered the Angelina Jolie films in 4K over here and here recently I never truly identified with them.  I found Angelina Jolie likable in the looks department, but was not able to fully marry myself with the goofiness of her role.  Oh well.  It mattered not as the franchise ended prematurely with only two adventures.  It’s all water under the bridge now.  I guess the same could be said for the Tomb Raider/Lara Croft video game series because in 2013 they were also rebooted too.  However, that was very much a good thing, a step in the right direction, and ultimately the reason why we’re all here today.  So let’s get started.

Truth be told I loved the 2013 Tomb Raider video game reboot.  I played the hell out of it and fell in love with Lara Croft all over again.  Not only were Lara’s assets stunning, but the graphics were cinematic, the gameplay/action was intense and the story was literally like a fluid motion picture.  It’s quite honestly one of my most favorite video games ever.  Therefore when it was announced they were green lighting a movie adaptation based upon this fantastic game I was as happy as a pig rolling around in mud.  Better yet 2016 even gave us a human likeness to wrap our perverted minds around, Alicia Vikander.  You may recognize her from some great take charge roles she had in Ex Machina and Jason Bourne.

That’s right our favorite, sexy android is now the swashbuckling Miss Lara Croft.  And if you played the past two Tomb Raider games and saw this film’s trailers, then one thing is for sure.  They share a lot of similarities and DNA in both the looks and action departments, not to mention the 2013 storyline too.  So let’s talk about that.  Our movie here is directed by Roar Uthaug off a story written by Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Alastair Siddons.  In addition to Alicia Vikander the film stars Dominic West, Walton Goggins, Daniel Wu, Nick Frost and Kristin Scott Thomas.  Like the 2013 video game and the previous Tomb Raider entry starring Jolie this one revolves around family.  Here we see Lara embark on a dangerous journey to her father’s last-known destination, which she hopes to solve the mystery of his disappearance.  Yeah I know it sounds familiar, but like all good journeys we have to start somewhere.  Truth be told I would rather get this family story out of the way so we can tackle something really cool next.

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Now I don’t know how you feel about Alicia as Lara Croft and whether or not you’d be happier with that rumor of Daisy Ridley, but there’s no denying Vikander looks the part.  She may not be top heavy like the previous incarnations of Lara Croft, but she’s cut and no doubt spent many hours in the gym getting ripped for this.  It shows.  She’s not only into the role here, but she’s born for it.  Going off the video game reboot itself Alicia nails it and furthermore owns it.  We will probably never see a Rated-R film like this one should be, but truth be told this one’s pretty brutal and most importantly action packed.  The stunts and action sequences are amazing, albeit the pulse pounding score by Junkie XL really fuels the energy.  So what’s this one all about?  I’m glad you asked.  Let’s tackle that next.

So yeah Lara has daddy issues here.  He’s been missing for quite some time and Lara refuses to let hope go that maybe somehow, somewhere her dad was still alive.  She’s strong and determined, but very lost in this feature.  This one could have easily been called ‘The Rise of the Tomb Raider” for many reasons, but the coming-of-age one would be my first choice.  The main difference here is this Lara is not educated and nor does she have any money either when we first meet her.  And no she doesn’t live in a fancy huge mansion.  That’s quite a stark difference from where we first saw Angelina’s interpretation in the first movie franchise.  However, as fate would have it she stumbles upon a secret her father kept from her that may prove once and for all that her father is still out there somewhere or she might find his final resting place.  Whatever the outcome is Lara knows that against all odds she must embark upon this journey to close this chapter in her life.  Yep.  She also raids some tombs in the process too.

Tomb Raider

What separates this incarnation of Lara is she’s not a sexist symbol like Angelina was.  This one is spot on with the girl we find in the 2013 video game reboot.  She could be referred to as a feminist icon in the action hero category, but why short change her like that?  She’s innocent, naive and just learning the ropes of not only tomb raiding, but also fighting and most importantly taking out hulking males with a bow and arrow.  Hell yeah!  I almost stood up and cheered when that happened.  It meant they weren’t going to shy away from the raw and brutal violence found in the 2013 game I know and love, but also because of the PG-13 rating it meant no blood (even with major injuries) and F-bombs too.  Boo!  That’s a hard pill to swallow because at my golden age I crave that stuff, but I get it.

Let’s face it the goal of this film is to get butts in the theater and hopefully green light a sequel.  A Rated-R rating won’t accomplish that.  Lightning already struck twice with Deadpool and Logan, and I don’t suspect this Tomb Raider to be the third.  So the long and short here there are opportunities where this one can really shine, but because of the fact they had to hold back things felt a bit should I say safe and familiar at times.  I mean there were parts where I actually felt like I have seen the same old thing in other films.  My fiancee also thought her takedown of big hulking, beastly men in hand-to-hand combat is unrealistic, but I’m forgiving there.  I love a good female heroine kicking arse.  Again, with the daddy story out of the way here’s hoping for bigger and greater things should Alicia get another chance in this role.  Besides all the negatives I dug what Alicia brought to this, toughness, attitude and wit.  No she’s not as striking as Angelina, but like my 2013 video game I don’t want that.  I came here for a raw/flawed character and I got that.  It’s also never a bad thing with Walton Goggins as a villain either.  I’m just saying.  Enjoy!

Tomb Raider


Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

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