Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander) refuses to believe her father, Richard (Dominic West), is dead. So much so that she’d rather work as a bicyclist delivering snack food than collect a substantial inheritance. Signing on the dotted line would mean acknowledging that her dad is gone forever.
But if he’s not dead, then where has he been for seven years? Richard was an adventurer with a deep interest in the supernatural — including an ancient goddess whose tomb he believed posed a threat to civilization. As much as he loved Lara, he also felt responsible for making sure that the tomb’s malevolent power remained unleashed.
Lara realizes that if she’s to move on with her life, she must solve the mystery of her father’s disappearance. Her quest leads her to Lu Ren (Daniel Wu), a falling-down-drunk sailor who has daddy issues of his own — and who happens to be a good guy to have on your side in a tight spot.
Ultimately, Lara comes face to face with the villainous Mathias Vogel (Walton Goggins), who offers her closure of a kind that she’s reluctant to accept. But is Vogel telling the truth?
And if he isn’t, what reason could he possibly have for deceiving her?
“Tomb Raider” is a mostly entertaining reboot of the action franchise that originally starred Angelina Jolie. The latest incarnation boasts two big improvements: Its video game roots aren’t quite as obvious, and Vikander’s version of Lara is more relatable.
Working from a screenplay by Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Alastair Siddons, director Roar Uthaug (“The Wave”) delivers a state-of-the-art popcorn flick that’s at its best when the focus is on the spunky Lara rather than the special effects.
Vikander, who won an Oscar for her performance in “The Danish Girl,” has more than enough charisma to carry the film. She’s not so much a wonder woman as she is a heroine who’s up for whatever challenges she faces.
And in “Tomb Raider,” the challenges are nonstop.
What “Tomb Raider” • Three stars out of four • Run time 1:58 • Rating PG-13 • Content Violence, action and language
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