Tomb Raider is a weird creature of a movie. It is so not like the other two films based on the property that starred Angelina Jolie. Yet, thematically when the story involves a lost father and a secret society. You just can't help but look back at the darn film. But honestly, this is a better film than those. I still can't for the life of me remember anything but the mercenaries of the Illuminati storming the Croft mansion. That's all I remember of the darn two films.
This film? I dunno. Probably yes given the cast make the most of what they're given. That's probably this films greatest plus. You have quite a good group of actors who make the most cliched thing actually work (more on that later). Every actor hits their mark. Alicia Vikander is note-perfect as Lara Croft. Right early on, the actor just exudes likeable and she carries the film quite well. She really captures the current modern interpretation of Lara (as Angelina captured early game Lara in the 90s).
Walton Goggins does what Walton Goggins does best, act the hell out of a role. Daniel Wu as Lara's sidekick, who I kind of wanted to know more of. It just seems his subplot ended quite quickly, and honestly, you feel there was more to his character given well it just feels like it. Dominic West doing the cliche Daddy/mentor role well and then making me realize this was the dude who played Jigsaw in Punisher War Zone (the second best Punisher movie after the Dolph Lundgren one. Not that OTHER film which I shall never name for fear HE WILL GET ME).
Add to the core cast you have Nick Frost, Derek Jacobi, and Kristin Scott Thomas in supporting roles? This cast is pretty sound. Really them and the direction of Roar Uthaug I cannot fault at all.
But the biggest problem for me. is well. The plot itself. It literally is Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. It literally is the same plot minus a fight on a tank and the cast is dwindled down to the main beats. You have Lara attaining her dad's stuff, and decoding it. Wanting to find her dad she ends up handing all the answers to the bad guys save the key important stuff which only she can tell. You have her dad finding out, and I was awaiting a, "I should have mailed it to the Marx Brothers." 2 out of the 4 traps in the tomb are literally the same exact traps from the movie with tiny twists. Hell, the character who sparks Lara's quest for her pop turns out to be EVIL!!! Literally, everything I describe happens in this movie and there are more.
However, it does curb the trope of mystical, by sticking to its ground of basing itself on facts. I did enjoy that and the fact this movie points that out. Instead, the reasoning behind the power Trinity wants being more grounded in reality. In that case, the movie won me over.
Sides that, there's the plot hole of Lara being kind of a dumb ass at the beginning too when attaining her father's papers. She just witnessed a video telling him of a group called Trinity and later we learn he has an entire box devoted to that. Which she only goes through AT THE END when we also learn of this damn box. Damn is that careless and not thinking ahead. The hell you do not go through that box as well? It's freaking marked "TRINITY". Don't give me she was distressed and overlooked it. She was in that room for a good long time and should have seen it! Da hell?!
Even with those problems aside, the movie is just that good. It isn't spectacular or going to knock your socks off like Atomic Blonde or Wonder Woman. It's a rental. Something to enjoy to kill some time or curiosity. It isn't a bad film. It's just an insanely cliched film which you can predict because again this movie is just subbing Indie Jones out for Lara. And it isn't doing a bad job at it.
If this gets a sequel, or better give Vikander a better-scripted film to showcase her skills and acting. Cause damn do I buy her as an action lead and kind would want to see her pull off another role akin to this. Ironically enough just like Charlize Theron has done (and did better after she stumbled with Aeon Flux with two freaking amazing action films since).
So yeah, when this film goes to the $1 movie or pops up on Netflix or any streaming service. Give this a watch. It ain't horrible. It's just worth a good viewing with some good performances that make this hackney script work. And it is better than a lot of other action films as well. Whatever path just choose wisely.
Dammit now I'm doing the goddamn Last Crusade tropes. ARGH!!!!
3 out of 5