'Tomb Raider' (2018) - Movie Review

Alicia Vikander has stepped into the title role of Lara Croft, walking in the same shoes worn by Angelina Jolie in 2001. There are both significant similarities and differences between the two productions. The most obvious one is of course the star: Vikander doesn't have quite the commanding presence that Jolie does, but I'd watch her any day because she's actually acting. (Jolie is capable of it, but doesn't always bother - certainly didn't for her "Tomb Raider.") And while Jolie has always been fit, Vikander got obviously and appallingly buff for this role. The story is both more human and less supernatural, both of which are a bit of a relief. Something I have a very mixed reaction to is that the new Lara Croft doesn't win all her battles. Don't misunderstand me: she's a serial-sequelized video game character, she wins all her wars. But in this movie, she loses a couple fights. This is better for giving the character humanity, worse when it comes to making her feel like a heroine. People can lose fights and still feel like a heroine, but I didn't feel it worked here.

For better or worse, they managed to make this one feel a lot like the video game: Lara leaps from floor panel to floor panel as they collapse behind her. She falls off a waterfall but manages to catch herself on a rusted out hulk of a crashed World War II bomber ... which then begins to creak and collapse and she has to dive off that too. And several other sequences. Far too out-of-the-frying-pan-into-the-fire for my taste. Nevertheless, given a choice between this movie and the old one I'd take this any day.

I made two predictions by 20 minutes into the film: the first was that Lara would return to her gym after her adventures and school the woman who had kicked her butt in the MMA ring. I was wrong about that - apparently that scene was just to show us that she was an MMA fighter. My second prediction was that her father's business partner (Kristin Scott Thomas) was involved in the evil organization that was the plot driver. Sadly, I was right about that. (I have this thing ... if I can predict your moves as a writer, you're too damn obvious.) And that was also the fairly blatant hanger for the intended sequel.

Box Office Mojo says the production budget was $94 million. As of 2018-07-27, the domestic gross is $57 million, and the foreign gross is $216 million ... Normally things that fall that short of their production budget on the domestic gross don't get sequels, and the critics didn't love this one (although they didn't hate it either). I'm not holding my breath.