Another year, another video game movie adaptation. This time we have a new film adaptation for Tomb Raider starring Alicia Vikander. Critics got a chance to review the film this week and while it technically has some of the best reviews for a video game movie ever, it doesn't mean it's a great film.
As of this writing, the new Tomb Raider movie currently holds a 49 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, the highest for a live-action video game adaptation in some time (2016's WarCraft and Assassin's Creed movies received 28% and 18% on RT respectively). Not a great score, but having more positive reviews than previous video game movies is certainly a plus, right?
Well the problem is that while critics have praised lead actress Alicia Vikander in the title role, along with some of the action scenes, the story around her is just not good. A pretty heavy critique considering that the story is based on the popular 2013 Tomb Raider video game reboot which gave Lara a major rework. Here's what the critics are saying:
Slate: "Like the Themyscira warriors in Wonder Woman who skirmished in ways that made sense for the female body, this Lara gets to execute fight choreography that looks and feels realistic for the figure we see on screen. It's revelatory. "
Hollywood Reporter:"The script by Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Alastir Siddons is very much a connect-the-dots affair, unburdened by the need for subtlety, subtext or deep characterization - how many times we hear the father go all soft and call his daughter by her pet name ("Sprout") cannot be tabulated"
Entertainment Weekly: "The latest big-screen iteration of the blockbuster video game isn't a film for the ages, but it's actually pretty good fun; an old-fashioned treasure-island adventure tale gilded in circa-2018 wokeness (Lara Croft's breasts no longer command a lead supporting role) and anchored by an Oscar-winning actress far more gifted than the story requires."
Chicago Tribune: "Tomb Raider" turns Lara into a punching bag and an onlooker. Moviemakers may believe such grueling violence to be obligatory, a natural prelude to the usual digital fakery. Here it has the condescending effect of telling the main character to shut up and take it like a man. Here's hoping the sequel tries something a little more enlightened. Vikander is a fine Lara Croft. Moviewise, however, she could use a better set of clues."
The Wrap: "Since the genre of video games-turned-into-feature films has inflicted some real doozies on audiences, "Tomb Raider" towers above most of its peers by being merely OK. By any other measure, this is a saga of fits and starts, and we can only hope for smoother sailing if the film inspires the sequels it clearly hopes to engender."
USA Today: "The spark and personality Vikander shows early on when just hanging with her cycling crew disappears when she starts endlessly jumping, punching and kicking in a tank top and cargo pants. That works better when you’re playing a game, not sitting in a dark theater."