"An adaptation of a video game’s tutorial level" – Read what the critics have to say about Tomb Raider

 Lara Croft finally makes her long-awaited movie return after 15 years. But was it worth the wait? Alicia Vikander steps into the well-worn (muddy) boots of everyone’s favourite archaeologist and our Tomb Raider review (opens in new tab) says, despite its best intentions, it “never unearths gold”. Video game movies notoriously get a bad rap – so how does this fare: is it deserving of a spot on the Mount Rushmore of game adaptations?

Tomb Raider's impressive set pieces - Consequence of Sound (opens in new tab)

“Good action can wallpaper over any number of flaws in these kinds of movie, though, and Tomb Raider has stellar set-pieces to spare. Whether Lara is hanging onto a rusty old prop plane for dear life to escape a waterfall or being chased by cyclists in an innocent game of ‘fox-hunt’ through the streets of London, Uthaug has an astonishingly coherent command of action. Cameras swoop and sway through jungle branches and city streets, always maintaining clear spatial relationships between Lara and whatever she’s chasing, stalking or punching.”

Alicia Vikander's every(wo)man quality - Variety (opens in new tab)

“In the end, though, it’s Vikander’s movie. Done right, there’s a special tingle to the image of someone who’s not an action heroine becoming an action heroine. When Lara stands in Himiko’s temple of doom, trying to figure out what to do as spikes jut out of nowhere or a booby-trapped floor falls away, piece by piece, she’s standing in for all of us.”

How Tomb Raider compares to the games - AV Club (opens in new tab)

“As a video game, Tomb Raider wore its cinematic influences loudly and proudly, serving up Indiana Jones for a new generation; the only thing new and innovative about it, beyond the gender swap, was the gameplay. Without the interactive component, we’re just watching moldy movie tropes retranslated back into movie form. And by the end, the craven franchise aspirations have obliterated even the very modest retro appeal.”

Tomb Raider being a slave to the source material - Slant Magazine (opens in new tab)

“This isn't an adaptation of a video game so much as an adaptation of a video game's tutorial level, and one that's capped by a climax that's as much about Lara discovering the climbing axe she uses throughout the game as it is dealing with the Japanese island's deepest secret. It takes a lot to waste a gift like Goggins in a villain role, but watching him play second fiddle to a disposable piece of gear is the final indignity of this interminable slog.”

Tomb Raider leaning too heavily on its video game roots - IndieWire (opens in new tab)

“The film’s second act is essentially mission after mission, where Lara ticks off boxes like “survive fall into river,” “get satellite phone,” “save the prisoners,” and “jump over that thing,” followed by “jump over that other thing.” By the time it lurches into its final third, Tomb Raider feels more like a video game than a movie.”

The dust hasn't settled on Tomb Raider just yet. But would it make your list of the best video game movies (opens in new tab)?

I'm the Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.