Early Reviews Say ‘Tomb Raider’ Is Meh

The movie hits theaters on March 16.

'Tomb Raider'
Warner Bros.

Image via Warner Bros.

'Tomb Raider'

As long as Black Panther is still in theaters, it's going to be extremely tough for other movies to stand out in Wakanda's shadow. But at least the critics will give them attention (partly because it's their job). They've shared their early reviews for Tomb Raider a few days ahead of its release this Friday.

Based on the reviews, Tomb Raider delivers on the action front but it doesn't bring anything to the film genre that we haven't seen before. It's no easy feat to create an adaptation from a beloved video game; even Angelina Jolie couldn't do much to save the original 2001 and 2003 adaptations. This go around, Swedish star Alicia Vikander (The Danish GirlJason Bourne) stars as Lara Croft in what critics are generally saying is an unexciting film.

Consequence of Sound gave the new film a B- score, stating:

For all its merits, Tomb Raider doesn’t completely escape the many pitfalls of video-game adaptations. The pacing is more than a little clunky: the film takes forever to get Lara to Yamatai, spending quite a bit of time setting up her lost-child dynamic and frittering screen time away with Nick Frost cameos and incessant flashbacks to Lara’s past with her father. The shenanigans on the island start to drag in the middle act, Lara’s death-defying setpieces let down by the very loose threads that connect them. Shave off 15 minutes or so of the film’s protracted two-hour runtime, and the audience can get to the actual tomb raiding – and all the delicious traps and Last Crusade-esque puzzle-solving they crave – that much sooner.

Vikander doesn't do a memorable job carrying the film, according to Vanity Fair's review.

While she’s likable and offers no shortage of concerned, white-of-the-eye reaction shots, she simply doesn’t click as an action hero under [director Roar] Uthaug’s direction. When she’s supposed to let out a war cry, she gives a whimper. Her skin always looks gorgeous, despite all the tussling—no doubt the humidity of the island jungle is doing good work for everyone’s pores. But this plus some very noticeable C.G.I. creates a teflon quality to the danger that keeps the suspension of disbelief far at bay.

Comic Book Review gets even more harsh, calling the movie an "uncomfortably brutal and joyless reboot." Yikes. The Hollywood Reporter echoes similar sentiments: "Brandishing impressively packed abs and enough upper body strength to pull herself out of countless jams, Alicia Vikander gamely steps into the kick-ass role twice played by Angelina Jolie, but the derivative story and cardboard supporting characters are straight out of 1930s movie serials."

IndieWire's Kate Erbland also wasn't the biggest advocate for the reboot. "Despite a fresher heroine, Tomb Raider still has all sorts of retrograde video game movie tropes," she writes. "A cheesy voiceover serves as dunderheaded prologue, and all but consumes the narrative motion of the second act; flashbacks get out of hand in their attempts to round out Lara and Richard's relationship."

But according to Entertainment Weekly's Leah Greenblatt, the movie was "actually pretty good fun." "Vikander brings some real grace to a role that wouldn’t necessarily seem to come naturally to her," the review reads, "whether she’s chasing pickpockets through a chaotic Hong Kong shipyard or strangling a man with her bare hands, she does it like an actual (albeit obscenely fit) human might, not a pixelated automaton."

Tomb Raider also stars Dominic West, Walton Goggins, Daniel Wu, and Kristin Scott Thomas. The flick hits theaters on Friday.

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