“Tomb Raider” Reviews Paint A Mixed Picture

The first reviews are in for the Alicia Vikander-led “Tomb Raider” film and the response is weak-mixed at best. The film has landed a 49% mark on Rotten Tomatoes and a 5.2/10 average rating and a 49/100 on Metacritic.

As a comparison, the 2001 and 2003 films with Angelina Jolie scored a 33 & 43 respectively on Metacritic so it’s an improvement on the film, but the new film lags WAY behind the 85/100 the 2013 video game reboot upon which the new film is very loosely based. The success of that game (and its sequel) both critically and commercially is what spurred interest in the film series again.

Reviews do appreciate the reinvention of the hero in a tougher and more human mould and Vikander, in particular, is singled out as being fully committed to the role, but many of the complaints are over its blandness, the dull origin story and the ridiculousness of the whole thing. Amongst some choice quotes:

“What makes Vikander’s interpretation work is that this new-and-somewhat-improved ‘Tomb Raider’ has been conceived as both a back-to-basics origin story and a smart, forward-thinking spin on a character with a tricky representational history…” Justin Chang, The Los Angeles Times

“Such a uniquely interesting character deserves more than a run-of-the-mill action franchise, but nearly 40 years after Raiders of the Lost Ark, we’re still getting pits and spikes, spiders and snakes….” Alonso Duralde, The Wrap

“Sensitivity and realism elevates the stakes of the film to such an extent that, combined with its playfulness and inventiveness, we can already safely call Tomb Raider one of the year’s best action films…” Elena Lazic, Little White Lies

“Xtreme bike couriers, daddy issues, eccentric fathers, amateur detours into the field of MMA, supernatural mumbo-jumbo and video game-adapted action adventure are mashed together awkwardly and sometimes risibly in Warner Bros. wholly unremarkable reboot of the “Tomb Raider” franchise. Unexceptionally directed by Roar Uthaug (Norwegian hit “The Wave“), “Tomb Raider” is superficial even for a mainstream tentpole, clumsily and unpersuasively put together and tests and breaks suspension of disbelief at every turn…” Rodrigo Perez, The Playlist

“The movie is full of vine-swinging, bow-and-arrow-shooting, ancient-spirit-meeting action, but most of it is staged on a convincing human scale, one that’s been expertly tailored to its star’s understated directness…” Owen Gleiberman, Variety

“It’s not a terrible film. Unthaug choreographs some decent action and effects sequences and Vikander does her best with limited resources, but the overall question you’re left with after two hours is, quite simply, why?…” Chris Newbould, UAE

“Tomb Raider” opens in cinemas on Friday.