And so, Lara Croft is back, though has lost her name from the title, and is now played by a Swedish actress rather than an American as before.
As per previous stories, Mr. Croft goes missing, for seven years, assumed dead, but leaving some clues behind as to his whereabouts. Lara, who in this version hasn’t signed up to take over the Croft fortune, is a bicycle courier in central London.
She is eventually convinced to sign for her fortune by the woman whose been looking after things in her father’s absence, Kristin Scott Thomas (Darkest Hour, The Party), and just as she’s about to put pen to paper she finds a clue to her father’s whereabouts.
This clue sees her team up with Daniel Wu (Geostorm, Warcraft: The Beginning) to find a mysterious island off the coast of Japan where bad-guy Mathias Vogel, Walton Goggins (The Hateful Eight, American Ultra), has been attempting to find the tomb of a woman who brings death to everything she touches.
It is on said island that she bumps into her father, now living in a cave, and together they team up to stop Vogel getting his hands on whatever it is that’s within the tomb that he probably shouldn’t get his hands on.
Roar Uthaug (The Wave, Escape) is the director tasked with bringing this video game franchise to the big screen once more whilst Geneva Robertson-Dworet, Alastair Siddons (Trespass Against Us) and Evan Daugherty (Divergent, Snow White And The Huntsman) are the writers.
What we have is a more stripped-back Lara Croft then we’ve seen previously. She doesn’t have the weapons training, the extensive fight training nor the gadgets.
On the one hand this, together with Vikander’s acting style, means we have a more relatable, more vulnerable Lara Croft. On the other hand, however, it means when she does come to do some of the action sequences, it’s that much harder to believe.
The plot is as thin as the characters and extremely predictable. It’s full of the usual Hollywood action tropes such as the main bad guy not being killed when they have the chance, the good guys getting the same treatment and a final battle between the two for good measure.
We also have a pre-credit sequence which sets things up for further adventures should this one do well at the box office.
And that’s the key here. Lara Croft, or Tomb Raider or whatever it’s going to be called now, doesn’t have to have a watertight script. It doesn’t have to have believable stunts or a cliché-less story. It just needs to have some fun elements, plenty of set-piece action sequences and some puzzles.
(Those of you in the UK may have seen the promotion for the movie alongside a popular sports drink. It’s done in a sarcastic way, pointing out the explosions, leaping etc. It sums it up lovely.)
Tomb Raider has Vikander leaping, leaping and leaping again, some reasonable set pieces, mostly involving leaping, a few puzzles and, though it is lacking in the humour stakes, it’s mostly fine. You can sit, not think terribly hard, and enjoy the ride.
By that measure, Tomb Raider’s game is anything but over.