The Tomb Raider reboot hits theaters this week, and it’s yet another bland, uninspired video game movie.
Tomb Raider (2018) is simply a Lara Croft origin story, as the franchise protagonist attempts to solve the mystery of her father’s disappearance, and becomes an adventurer along the way.
This movie’s biggest sin is that it’s slow and (get ready for the worst possible word you can use to describe a film) boring. For an adventure story, it takes way too long to get to the actual adventure. There’s too much set up at the start of the film showing Lara’s life in London. And when the adventure finally kicks in, things gets a little more interesting, but there are still tons of pacing issues. Honestly, it’s probably because the plot of this movie and the mystery that Lara’s trying to solve are so paper thin that the writers just needed to find ways to stretch the runtime.
Granted, that time in London is there for a reason. It’s to establish Lara’s character, and that could have been a great thing for this movie. It could have really connected her to the audience, and made this a video game movie with emotional stakes. And it does try to; it just doesn’t do nearly enough for the screentime it’s given. Lara feels as paper thin as the plot at times. Her supporting characters are just as guilty of this. No one in this film gets the audience emotionally invested in them; they’re not that interesting. They’re all archetypes we’ve seen before: the heroine, the reluctant partner, the ruthless villain, and so on.
Now, some of these criticisms could be forgiven if the visual effects were really good. This is an action-adventure movie after all. It doesn’t need emotional stakes or interesting characters to be watchable. Unfortunately, most of the effects look cheesy or unfinished, and they take you completely out of the moment instead of letting you get lost in it.
Tomb Raider is a popcorn flick. It doesn’t have to be deep or meaningful. It doesn’t need to break new ground. All it needs to do is keep you interested and entertained for a couple of hours. And unfortunately, it just doesn’t do its job. The best way to describe this movie is “painfully average.” The acting isn’t outright bad; the writing – while cliché – is bearable. If it weren’t so boring most of the time, it’d be a fun time at the movies.