The state of the video game movie is not as bleak as it once was. It seems likely that I’ll see a truly great video game movie within my lifetime. Assassin’s Creed was really bad in places and it was still the best video game movie I’d ever seen back when it came out. Tomb Raider has now taken that title and by quite a lot. There are problems, as there always are, but, on the whole I found this movie very enjoyable. Vikander, who is the main reason I saw the movie, is quite good. She brings a humanity to Lara that overcomes even the pretty clunky script. She certainly has the charisma necessary for an action hero and it’s refreshing to see Lara’s character, in keeping with the reimagining of the modern video games, not sexualized to a sleazy degree. Vikander brings a rough and tumble attractiveness to the part and she’s sexy because she’s competent and smart; also, she looks better covered in mud & sweat than Angelina Jolie did when every hair was in place. This is the Lara Croft I like; she’s a badass, even if she is also struggling to come into her own. Likewise, Walton Goggins is reliably fun, but he’s surprising too. He chooses to underplay his part instead of chewing the scenery and it’s an effective choice that keeps him from slipping into cartoon territory. Dominic West, on the other hand, is pretty bad as Lara’s missing father. You think he’s mediocre in the flashbacks . . . and then he shows up in the present and he’s terrible. Also noteworthy: Nick Frost & Jaime Winstone have a delightful and funny cameo as a bickering married couple. I like that the movie plays it close to the chest in terms of whether or not the ultimate reveal is going to be supernatural or not; when they’re actually entering the tomb at the end, I genuinely didn’t know what to expect and I like the ultimate revelation. It actually means, that as silly and often predictable as this movie is, there is an element of the movie that I’m invested in not spoiling. The movie could, I think, have gone either way and been satisfying and I liked that. Is Tomb Raider the masterpiece that is going to end the video game curse for movies? No, but it’s a consistently entertaining, well acted adventure that has a couple of surprises along the way. That’ll do. That’ll more than do, honestly. 3 stars.
tl;dr – action packed adventure owes a lot to its cast and it’s a lot of fun on the whole; it has its flaws, but to say it’s the best video game movie so far is underselling it. 3 stars.