‘Tomb Raider’ 2018 Movie Review: A Serviceable Video Game Adaptation

The Tomb Raider video game franchise made its second foray into the world of film last week with the release of the rebooted Tomb Raider movie starring Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft. While I wouldn’t call it a must-see action/adventure romp, I can say that for a video game movie it is serviceable. It’s not great, but thanks to Vikander’s embodiment of the Croft character, as well as the film’s use of parts of the video game’s story, it’s good enough to not be called another video game movie disaster. If you’re a superfan of the franchise, then by all means go watch it in theaters, but the rest of you can wait until its home release, because you won’t be missing out on any water cooler moments by not having seen it.

You can check out my full review below via the embedded video or script.

Hey now Lara Croft fans, Matt Heywood here to review the rebooted Tomb Raider movie, which aims to follow the rebooted Tomb Raider video game franchise by Crystal Dynamics, which may or may not be a rebooted studio.

Let’s reboot our way through this!

So let’s get this out of the way first. This movie based on a video game is actually not that bad, which is saying a lot considering the dreaded genre it lives in. It’s common knowledge that most movies based on video games are horrible at best, but that’s luckily not the case with this Alicia Vikander starring Tomb Raider.

Now don’t get me wrong either, because Tomb Raider isn’t a fantastic action adventure film by any means that will have you raving about it to friends. Rather it’s a serviceable film in the action/adventure genre that doesn’t manage to turn into a shit show before it concludes like most of the video game adapted films that have come before it.

It’s just average or slightly above, which I have to stress is a win for a video game adapted movie, and I credit this feat to the casting of Vikander in the role as Lara Croft, and for the plot somewhat taking points from the extremely well done Tomb Raider video game from 2013.

Video game movies almost always try to get too cute and fundamentally change the plot of the property in an effort to make it work on the silver screen, but Tomb Raider managed to highlight enough of the game’s plot points to make it relatable to gamers, while also not leaving non-gamers in the dust. It does a good job at balancing plot elements from the game, with new wrinkles added for the movie adaptation, but I still contend that if it just cloned the narrative from the 2013 Tomb Raider video game, the overall film would have been ten times better.

As is the plot is a bit unevenly paced, because it spends way too much time setting up who Lara Croft is and getting her on her adventure. It’s almost as if the screenwriters felt like they needed to spend half of the film establishing her as a strong female badass, but considering that the character has been in pop culture for well over 20 years, I’m not sure we needed to know that Lara can kick box, is athletic, and has a knack for solving puzzles.

All of that setup eats into what should have been the meat of this film, and that’s Lara’s journey on the island of Yamatii to find out what happened to her Dad while he was researching the legend of Himiko. If you played the game those names will sound familiar, so like I said there was a conscious effort to incorporate plot points from the game into this film, but there should have been more to avoid some of its slower segments.

It just felt like the film started to wrap just as it started to get into the nitty gritty of what makes the Tomb Raider property so engaging. There isn’t enough tomb raiding if you will, so I would have preferred it being more like an Indiana Jones movie, than a character study with some raiding elements added to it.

With that being said Tomb Raider is still somewhat enjoyable, and very serviceable as a video game adapted movie. Credit has to go to Vikander, who for all intents and purposes perfectly channeled the new take on Lara Croft. She embodied this more real life take on the badass heroine and adventurer, and her acting prowess and physical talents make you completely buy into her as being a diminutive badass. Without her as Lara I don’t think this movie ends up as being as watchable as it is, because the rest of the cast doesn’t really carry the film like she does, and Walter Goggins was wasted on a generic big bad.

For a video game movie, the rebooted Tomb Raider is a shining example of what can be done in this genre, but it still suffers from a few of the tropes that continue to drag video game adapted movies down. It’s a 6.8 out of 10 type of movie, so it’s not bad at all, but it’s nothing to really write home about either. If you’re a superfan of the franchise, then by all means go check it out in theaters, otherwise, you’re safe waiting for this one to hit the home release market.

Thanks for watching. Matt Heywood here signing off for, where we make you a better geek, one post at a time.

Review Summary

Story - 6
Cinematography - 7
Sound - 6.5
Acting - 8
Entertainment Value - 6.5



For a video game movie, this rebooted Tomb Raider project isn't half bad, but that's not saying a ton about it considering how poor most films are in the gaming movie genre. With that being said it does entertain a bit thanks to Vikander as Croft, and for the fact that elements of the game's plot have been woven into the film's narrative.


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Matt Heywood

The author Matt Heywood

Matt Heywood is the founder and EIC of where he strives to make you a better geek, one post at a time! When he’s not scouring the Internet for interesting nuggets of awesomeness he can be found in his secret lair enjoying the latest and greatest video games, taking pictures of toys, or talking Star Wars on EB’s Star Wars Time podcast show.