Is the new TOMB RAIDER any good?

My one gaming addiction in my early 20s was sitting up into the early morning smoking cones and playing Tomb Raider with my flatmate BJ (confessions haha). A time I loved. The colours and sounds, that crisp soundtrack, the peaceful times in tombs, the swimming, the thrill, the weird angles you could put Lara in and most of all that sweet feeling of attempting something 237 times and then getting it right and going to the next level. Lara Croft completed me. Angelina Jolie was a marvellous Lara Croft, she was skilled and filled with sass and she more than had the Croft look. Is the new “it” girl Alicia Vikander suitably filling the khakis of this iconic gaming hero?


Tomb Raider Alicia Vikander image
Alicia Vikander




I was actually surprised to see this was an origin story, either I missed this in the trailers or just didn’t realise. At the start of this Lara is a ballsy and on her own, not using any money from the Croft estate. Her father has been missing for seven years, presumed dead. Lara is filled with hate for the world and the wealth of the family. She is a bike courier who can’t afford to pay her fight gym membership and speaking of fight gym, she gets beaten and doesn’t have any of the confidence of the Lara we know, she is pissed and petulant.

She gets arrested and the current head of the family business bails her out and advises she needs to sign the papers to take over the family inheritance and businesses or the estate will be split up. As she is signing she is given a puzzle that contains one tiny clue that could lead to where her father met his maker.

And so Lara sets out on her first journey into the mysterious, dangerous and unknown.


Tomb Raider Alicia Vikander image
Alicia Vikander



Is it actually good? It passes. My parents will love it because it requires little thinking and is a fun rollercoaster ride with a decent story and some action. BUT – it is Croft by Numbers. There is some minor tie ins with it being an origin story; picking up the bow and arrow, learning puzzles as a child etc but there is so little of it that it was a rather bland origin story. The story flows well but at times it is slow and concentrates more on story than on what suits Lara; action and tombs.

The action scenes are fantastic however and the boat scene approaching the island is marvellous but most of it is a pastiche from other tomb raiding movies. I kept waiting for that spark to ignite and thrill me but it just didn’t come. It was predictable and completely void of surprises, even the big “reveal” wasn’t unexpected.

I am afraid I wanted to like it more than I actually liked it so have given it many more chances than it deserves. I want the sequel and I want the Tomb Raider franchise because she is Indiana Jones but better (don’t hate on me haha) with everything from the action to the sass to the fighting. The world also needs a Lara Croft, a female Batman without a ridiculous costume. A female icon and inspiration to the young girls who proves she is more than men, better than ancient evils and capable of anything.


Why was this origin movie given to Roar Uthaug to direct? Why not someone big. He is a foreign director who appears to have played it so safe it will fail. My first choice to direct would have been Taika Watiti or can you imagine Tarantino making this? HELL YES! Fincher, Greengrass, Boyle, Nolan, Yates, Favreau, Raimi – the list is endless – this needed an all-out dedication to making excellence, not a half-assed tick the boxes movie.

But sadly it falls flat and I just hope it earns enough to gain a sequel and prove itself in future episodes.

And one gripe – how is it that after 7years batteries don’t go flat?!? This pissed me off haha


Tomb Raider Daniel Wu & Alicia Vikander image
Daniel Wu & Alicia Vikander



It all had to come down to Lara, could Vikander fill the khakis? For me it’s a yes and a no. There are two comparisons that will always take place. 1) Is she better than Jolie? and 2) Is she suitable as the Croft from the game? I really like Vikander, she is beautiful, she is lithe and she has acting chops. But for me she is just too demure.

Jolie was a posh back alley brawler that could do shots and hit the sass level strong. Her first outing as Croft was fantastic, I absolutely loved it. Her second was a little cheesy but to be honest the games can be cheesy also. The Vikander TOMB RAIDER tries being more serious and more legitimate in it’s origin story outing and I completely understand that Lara is confused and hasn’t found her tomb raider skills yet but it comes off as flat and, at times, boring.

Daniel Wu is a fantastic actor and martial arts fighter. His TV show with Aramis Knight, INTO THE BADLANDS, is a brilliant, dystopian martial arts fantasy. Dark and filled with some epic fighting. Yet he is completely under-utilised in the role of Lu Ren. No one buys him as a drunk ship’s captain. Why was he not fighting?

Walton Goggins steals the show as Mathias Vogel, a fantastic dark generic bad guy who kills without flinching and borders on insanity. He lit up the screen as always.


Tomb Raider Alicia Vikander image
Alicia Vikander



TOMB RAIDER feels more like the studio had to make the movie as a chore as opposed to wanted to make it and make it brilliant. The potential for TOMB RAIDER movies are as abundant and thrilling as Star Wars movies yet mediocrity appears to be the modus operandi on making game movies. It’s a fun, no brainer movie that is heavily predictable and will be completely forgotten until the sequel. If they ever make one that is.





 owns, writes and edits Salty Popcorn and Spooning Australia. He is a movie, food, restaurant, wine, chocolate, bacon, burger and brussels sprouts addict. He is a member of the Australian Film Critics Association and has been in the  industry for 26yrs. Furthermore he loves watching people trip over and is Leonardo DiCaprio’s biggest fan. 

** Images used are courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor or publisher. Credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.