In 2013 Square Enix came out with a new Tomb Raider game, a reboot of the original game that was released in 1996. Now it’s 2018 and Square Enix is giving us a movie based on the reboot game, and is itself a reboot of a film series from 2001. Still with me? I know, time is a flat circle.
This is a pretty faithful take on the popular 2013 game, however if you played that game and are hoping for a word for word adaptation, you’re going to go home unhappy. While there are some shot for shot moments taken from the game and inserted into the film, the plot is incredibly, yet frustratingly, different. A half dozen characters from the game are not in the film with one particular addition that feels unnecessary and lazy.
For those of you that haven’t played the game (you really should, it’s wonderful), none of the concerns from the above apply to you and what you will be left with is a hero, who has a well established back story, and a mission to save the world. It plays a little like a Mission Impossible movie, with a team overcoming terrible odds and people casually climbing on structures with sharp pointy objects that would give real people tetanus just from looking at them.
Alicia Vikander plays this new, younger Lara and shows a lot of real emotion than we’re used to seeing in the previous Angelina Jolie films. She gets hurt and actually feels it with the emotions on her face and physical body language. However, once she is stitched up, it’s like the wounds never happened. Though this is a problem with most action movies, it’s made super obvious in the film after she is impaled in the abdomen on one day, and then sprinting through an island forest the next.
The villain, Mathias, is played with predictability by Walton Goggins. You want to believe the motivations for his actions, but everything he does is counterproductive to his stated reasoning.
This instalment in the Tomb Raider canon feels a lot like the Andrew Garfield led Spider-Man reboot- It’s better than the original, but completely unnecessary. It would be good to watch on a weekend with some popcorn, but if you want to see it done right- just play the game.