Films adapted from video games have now been around long enough for the first major franchise reboot (Hitman and Street Fighter don't count), and while this new Tomb Raider movie has more honourable intentions than the shallow Angelina Jolie-starring films from 2001 and 2003, it too suffers from the inherent superficiality that tends to plague video-game adaptations.
Taking a significant amount of aesthetic and plot inspiration from the 2013 reboot of the popular game series, we are introduced to a younger, greener Lara Croft (Oscar winner Alicia Vikander). She's already something of a bad-ass, enjoying MMA training and working as a bike courier in London, but is a long way away from the globetrotting adventurer we know she will eventually become.
This Lara wants nothing to do with her family's moneyed legacy, but when a coded message from her missing, presumed-dead father (Dominic West) sends her to Hong Kong and eventually to a dangerous, uncharted island, she begins to find her inner tomb raider.
There is a clear commitment to grounding the narrative here – Lara's motivations are more human and they've all but eliminated the supernatural MacGuffins that drove the Jolie films. The action scenes are very slick (if overly familiar to anyone who's played the 2013 game) and the over-qualified supporting cast (Derek Jacobi, Kristin Scott Thomas, Walton Goggins) keep a straight face despite being above this sort of thing.
Vikander makes a point of revealing Lara's vulnerabilities and belies her tiny stature by being pretty convincing as an ass-kicking action heroine.
As endearing as the whole enterprise often is, however, the final product can't shake the sense that it's prioritising franchise maintenance over storytelling.
Still, there are worse ways to spend two hours.
Alicia Vikander, Walton Goggins, Dominic West
Entertaining enough without being especially memorable.