Alicia Vikander’s interpretation of Lara Croft is incredible. Vikander’s Lara is the kind of female action hero we deserve in 2018; defined not by superpowers or in comparison to her male companion, but by qualities like resourcefulness, tenacity and audacity. Tomb Raider’s camera objectifies her only to emphasise her physical strength (Vikander has been well-and-truly hitting the gym before this was filmed). It’s a shame, then, that the movie she’s relegated to couldn’t have been better.
To its credit, Tomb Raider starts strong. Well, if you disregard the self-consciously silly spiel about a Japanese Death Empress, delivered in voice-over by Lara’s missing father (Dominic West). Missing father figures aren’t the only thing Roar Uthaug cribs from Spielberg, dishing up a homage to Indiana Jones (particularly Last Crusade) with an escalating sequence of increasingly-implausible action sequences. Uthaug seems to understand that, like a shark, an adventure film dies if it stops moving, and prioritise action over plotting.
Sadly, the film loses momentum in its last half; right about the point it re-introduces West (who’s, sadly, very bad here in a badly-written role). Rather than building to bigger and sillier action sequences, Tomb Raider’s actual tomb raiding is too small-scale, too …videogame-y.