At some point, Hollywood is going to realise they will never make a successful video game adaptation. This new Tomb Raider might not be the final nail in the coffin, but it definitely won’t zap any new life into the genre.
The problems start from scene one. This iteration of Lara Croft is introduced doing some boxing training, which it turns out she can’t pay for (she has refused her inheritance, Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins-style). Seems like an expensive hobby to take up if you’re broke, but then the film needs her to know how to fight.
So far, so nonsensical, and events proceed in a similar fashion before winding up on an island off Japan, and eventually, a tomb. That should be where things get good, but we’re served up the same type of spiky traps and puzzles that we’ve seen a million times before, while the plot flirts with the supernatural before settling on something much more boring.
It’s an attempt at a more ‘grounded’ Tomb Raider, and to be fair, we’re a long way from Angelina Jolie punching a shark.
And Alicia Vikander can act (although this Lara is, as has become de rigueur for modern blockbuster leads, a bit of a dickhead). In fact, the casting is all great, down to distracting cameos from the likes of Kristen Scott Thomas and Nick Frost.
But why get Walton Goggins as your villain then give him such a milquetoast role? The highlight of the entire film is the few seconds where he taunts Lara with her childhood nickname ‘Sprout’, and we’re given a tantalising glimpse at what Goggins can do when he’s off the leash.
Some dismal attempts at Marvel-style franchise-building are threaded through Tomb Raider leading to its final sequel-threatening moments. It’s endearingly optimistic, but it’s mainly just irritating.
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