Like many, I had very high hopes for the 2018 Tomb Raider movie. It looked really promising. In my view, the Jolie movies had been God awful, and the games before the 2013 Tomb Raider Reboot had been awful. But, it flopped, for good reason. No, I'm not nitpicking a scene or a weapon. I think they missed everything that made the game amazing, while trying to copycat it badly. SPOILERS AHEAD
Let's go down a short list.
1. The Main Plot.
What is the problem here? Simple.
The game was a smash hit because you played a hottie, yet not sex bomb or ridiculous, college girl Lara Croft. She wasn't out to save the world. She wasn't a trained fighter. She was not an arrogant Victorias Secret Model. She wanted to get an episode of National Geographic, basically. And instead she got thrown into almost Resident Evil--it was nightmare for her, and in the beginning of the game she feels our fear, and she has to go from being that hot college girl you had a class with once to being a brave fighter.
The movie? "SAVE THE WORLD FROM AN EVIL ORGANIZATION! YES, YOU ARE JAMES BOND REINCARNATED! YOU CAN DO IT!!! THIS MOVIE DOESN'T EVEN TRY TO BE SCARY EVER!"
Yeah. No. We've all seen a million B movies about saving the world from some evil organization. The game was better because it wasn't about the world--the world was fine. The problem was one island, and getting your friends off it alive. Remember that hit movie the Incredibles? The producers made a similar comment at the end. "Superhero movies, the endings are always about saving the world. We decided, forget that! We want the ending to be about saving one baby!"
Soooo, in the movie we had two main co stars with Lara, two other heroes.
I'm sorry, I don't even remember his name. He got shoehorned in... somehow? His dad had been a boat captain who worked with Lara's dad and somehow had the same name... something something. There are amazing Asian characters in Hollywood movies. And there are Asian characters who are blatantly there for the Chinese box office. This is the latter. And before you cry under representation, there's a billion Chinese in China. I have no doubt there's plenty of Chinese in Chinese movies, and probably done better than this half ass movie did this guy!
So this is Lara's dad. SURPRISE! Unlike the game, no, he did not die tragically giving Lara a sad backstory. We find out he basically abandoned her as a child to try to save the world on an island. Or something. And he could never come back, or something. He dies in the end of the movie after getting infected (instead of creepy somewhat supernatural enemies, the magic in this movie is just a plague from 400 years earlier) then blows of the tomb, who gives a damn.
Why does this matter? For one, a main plot line in the games is Lara's relationship with her dad--it is central to her character, and it develops. In the movie... congrats! Dad was not a noble figure or disturbed or anything, he abandoned you during childhood and faked his death. Because he had to save the world. In the movie, Lara is refusing to inherit his fortune, because he's not dead, she knows it. Then at the end, she happily has moved on and takes it... even though she literally regained her father who abandoned her only to leave him to die in a tomb hours later. but somehow things are alright now. Psycho much?
Who did he replace in game? Roth, the surrogate father who endears himself to us for hours, and who clearly has a lot of history with Lara.
Roth didn't abandon Lara as a child, or die cliche trying to save the world. In an amazing setup, Lara barely escapes the mountain temple, is dramatically saved by Roth, only for the chopper to be crashed just as they should be making a getaway. The pilot is dead, Lara is almost dead, Roth is in agony from his wounds, and the savage islanders (who, creepy enough, were once regular people like Lara and Roth) are closing in. He goes down saving Lara's life. Lara isn't a badass who handles it like a cliche--she bursts out sobbing.
3. The Lara.
Kinda already stated, but simply put.
In summary.... I will be shocked if that movie gets a sequel. They screwed it. They didn't need an island or Roth, but they needed something better than a generic Gerard Butler flick! The videogame trilogy is on the 3rd, but this movie should be put to bed and smothered with the pillow along with Gerard Butler and Bruce Willis' latest action flicks.