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Tomb Raider reviews mixed: Critics praise Vikander's Croft, story still has problems

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Mar 14, 2018, 2:57 PM EDT

The early reviews for Tomb Raider are out and critics seem to agree that, while Alicia Vikander makes Lara Croft interesting, the film doesn't bring the adventure of the game along for the ride. There's also praise for Norwegian director Roar Uthaug, but even that is tempered with the belief that the film never really broke the video game movie curse.

In other words, Vikander does her best, some of the actors shine, but overall the film doesn't really make an impact.

Here's what critics have to say:

Entertainment Weekly's Leah Greenblatt says Tomb Raider "isn’t a film for the ages, but it’s actually pretty good fun; an old-fashioned treasure-island adventure tale gilded in circa-2018 wokeness (Lara Croft’s breasts no longer command a lead supporting role) and anchored by an Oscar-winning actress far more gifted than the story requires.". 

Over at Variety, Owen Gleiberman has positive things to say about Vikander and calls the film "an engrossingly fanciful adventure lark..." (I have a feeling that will become a tagline in the advertising.). He also has praise for Walton Goggins, who plays the film's villain calling him "a magnetic actor who projects the lean, hungry anger of vintage-period Jack Nicholson".

CBR calls Tomb Raider an "uncomfortably brutal and joyless reboot" that sets up a new origin story for a younger Lara, but it doesn't seem to matter. "In what amounts to a head-scratching, ham-fisted stab at an emotionally resonant father-daughter adventure story, the movie borrows elements wholesale from the 2013 Tomb Raider video game without any real effort to translate them into a new context.". Ouch.

Mara Reinstein over at US Weekly says Vikander has grit but calls the film "skippable". She also makes a pretty good point about the film's name, "Why isn’t Tomb Raider just titled Lara Croft? It’s like if Wonder Woman were referred to as Lasso Twirler. This heroine, after all, is the one that resourcefully runs, boxes, arrow-shoots, barrels, kicks, cycles, pushes and pulls her way out of trouble and saves the world from destruction. Give her some top-line credit.". 

Over at Fresh Fiction TV, Courtney Howard sees Lara's character as a positive example of the sort of strong female characters we need. "There’s something about seeing this “strong female character” push her mental and physical capabilities that’s genuinely thrilling and empowering.".

IGN's Miranda Sanchez summed it up neatly, saying. "At its best, Tomb Raider is a passable action movie. It has some cool fight scenes and a neat tomb to raid. But this iteration of iconic adventurer Lara Croft misses the mark by reducing her identity to her relationship with her missing father and her physical prowess.".

Will you be seeing Tomb Raider? Let us know in the comments below.