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Tomb Raider Movie Review

Reviewed by on Mar 15, 2018
Rating: 4 Star Rating

Kidzworld saw the new Tomb Raider film. Read our review to find out if the newest Lara Croft adventure is as exciting and fun as the games…or the Angelina Jolie version of the character.

By: Lynn Barker

In Tomb Raider, young Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander) has missed her adventurer dad Richard (Dominic West) since he disappeared seven years ago. Too proud to take her enormous inheritance, she’s been living on the edge as a lowly bike messenger while getting out frustrations through mixed martial arts classes. She gets in trouble and semi-agrees to sign for her inheritance (admitting that dad is truly dead) when she is given a puzzle from him that launches her on an adventure that might not only find the missing Croft but save the world, if she doesn’t die in the process.

Lara on her own on the islandLara on her own on the island

Early Lara

After hearing that Richard Croft went off on a mission to find the grave of the ultimate evil Japanese empress, we see just how much dad loved his little daughter.  In the present, Lara is grown, reckless and is taking a beating in her martial arts class although she has to almost die to give up the fight. While participating in an illegal, cross town bike race when challenged by her fellow bike messengers, Lara runs into a police car and is arrested. She is bailed out by Richard's business partner Ana Miller (Kristin Scott Thomas) who warns her that if she does not claim her inheritance, her father's estate will be sold off.

Little Lara with her beloved dadLittle Lara with her beloved dad

Secret Office

Lara reluctantly accepts but before signing she is given a puzzle box that contains a key and a strange message. Figuring it out, she finds her dad’s secret office and a video message from him describing his research into Himiko, the mythical Japanese Queen of Yamatai who was said to command the power over life and death. Richard warns Lara to destroy all of his research because an evil forced called Trinity wants to use the power as a weapon. Hoping to find dad, Lara decides to investigate further.

Dad tells Lara all in his videoDad tells Lara all in his video

Hong Kong and the Island

Following dad’s notes, Lara travels to Hong Kong where she bribes Lu Ren (Daniel Wu), ship captain to sail to an island believed to have once been Yamatai. The ship capsizes in a violent storm and Lara is washed ashore where she is knocked unconscious. She is revived by Mathias Vogel (Walton Goggins), the leader of an expedition funded by Trinity to locate Himiko's tomb.  Vogel takes Lara prisoner, reveals that he killed her father and intends to use Richard's research she brought with her to finally find the tomb. Lara escapes with the help of Lu Ren, who survived the storm and has been put to work with the local shipwrecked fishermen digging for the tomb.  She escapes but after some close scrapes in the jungle, she is injured and passes out. 

Lara convinced Lu Ren to take her to the islandLara convinced Lu Ren to take her to the island

Mystery Man

Lara regains consciousness after nightfall and is forced to kill a Trinity guard who finds her.  She follows a mysterious, bearded figure climbing up a cliff and learns that he is her father, who has been hiding on the island for all these years trying to secretly guide Vogel in the wrong direction. He treats Lara’s injuries and she insists on getting his research back and takes off for the camp. Once at the tomb door, Richard has followed her and Vogel finds he’s alive. He will kill him unless he opens the tomb door. Lara can’t let him die …again so, using the research, she opens it despite Richard’s protests.

Lara and Lu Ren are prisoners of VogelLara and Lu Ren are prisoners of Vogel

Inside the Tomb

With Lara in the lead, Vogel and men escape various booby traps and Lara solves a puzzle or two to get to Himiko’s sarcophagus. Despite Richard’s warnings, Vogel and men open it and the body inside seems to succumb to a weird disease. After touching the body to remove it, the men are infected by a horrible fast-growing virus.  So this was her “power”. Was there no supernatural power after all, but a world-killing virus? Vogel cuts off the corpse’s finger and seals it in a bag. He’ll take the deadly virus with him.

To save her dad's life, Lara opens the tombTo save her dad's life, Lara opens the tomb


Can Vogel make it to the mainland with the virus? Will Lara and her dad escape the tomb? Can Lu Ren rescue them? Will Lara ever inherit her fortune and who, back home, is actually a Trinity agent?

Lara is washed ashore after the ship sinksLara is washed ashore after the ship sinks

Wrapping Up

The 2018 version of Tomb Raider is an entertaining origin story reboot overall with Alicia Vikander turning in a good performance as a tough young woman marred by her past and ready for adventure but with a lot to learn. The film could use a bit more comic relief and Vikander’s Lara doesn’t have that twinkle in the eye as she dispatches villains that was the hallmark of the Angelina Jolie version… but her Lara was older or at least more kick-butt experienced. Vikander’s Lara grows stronger as she goes and that lets us relate to her. Vikander’s Oscar-winning acting chops show.

Another narrow escapeAnother narrow escape

While several stunt escape pieces are gritty, clever, fresh and well-executed by Vikander, a few are also derived from old Indiana Jones movies; we’ve seen some of the booby traps in the tomb far too often.

One of the more ambitious stunts in the filmOne of the more ambitious stunts in the film

The seemingly basic story has a couple of nice twists that are appreciated and does infuse some genuine dad/daughter emotion. We are also left with a decent set-up for future films pitting Lara against the same villainous organization.

Lara explores inside the tombLara explores inside the tomb

I don’t know what dedicated Lara gamers will think of the movie but, although she doesn’t use a gun throughout the film, Lara does end up with her trademark twin pistols. We were sufficiently entertained to go a weaker four stars.

Tomb Raider Movie Rating: 4

Tomb Raider Movie PosterTomb Raider Poster

See Tomb Raider in theaters Friday, March 16th

Have Your Say

Is Tomb Raider new to you or did you play the games or see the early movies? Let others know with a comment!