Ocean’s Eight Review

Ocean's 8 movie posterSynopsis
After being released from prison for art fraud, Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) begins planning her next heist.

Review
I have said many, many times on this blog how much I enjoy heist movies. At the top of that list (and towards the top of my favorites of all time) is Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s Eleven. The all-star cast, led by the suave duo of George Clooney and Brad Pitt, create an adventure that is fun from start to finish. Creating a movie with the Ocean’s name requires several things: A cast of actors with great chemistry, one act to build the team, one to plan the heist, and one to perform the heist, flashy visuals, and a slow build up with an exciting payoff. Ocean’s Eight implements all of these requirements but not as smoothly as its predecessors.

The first thing I mentioned, a great cast with great chemistry, is what this movie got the most right of the four requirements for an Ocean’s movie. Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett, the Clooney and Pitt of this story, are a great pair, up there with Clooney and Pitt. They are just a ton of fun to watch together. They play off each other very well and carry themselves with the same swagger and suave attitude that their male counterparts did. As for the rest of the cast, I don’t feel like the gelled as well as the original eleven. Each one has their own memorable moment or two but I didn’t feel the camaraderie that was clear with Clooney’s group.

Ocean’s Eight also ticks the second and third requirements, following the same story structure as the other Ocean’s movies. In the first act, Ocean and their number 2 put together their team, introducing them in fun and interesting ways. Throughout the middle act, the newly assembled team plans the heist, jumping from member or a collection of members, to check in with what they are doing. During this time, we as the audience get glimpses into the plan, as well as *gasp* a plan within a plan by our Ocean, but never receive the full picture; Giving us enough information to think we have all the pieces despite the contrary. It does all this in a flashy and ostentatious manner. If you’ve seen Ocean’s Eleven, then you’ll be familiar with how this is done.

Following the same format as Ocean’s Eleven, Ocean’s Eight checks part A of the fourth requirement but part B is where this movies falls short. The story takes its time building the different elements and moving parts of the heist. Seeing this build up is my favorite part about heist about watching heist movies. However, when a movie takes its time leading into the heist, when the heist finally occurs, it comes with excitement and some sort of wow factor. I never felt that. There was no sense of urgency during the heist, no sense that our β€œheroes” might actually get caught (even though we know they won’t, it’s still more exciting to feel that they might). It kept building and building and then… the heist was over. I kept waiting for the movie to kick into high gear and give that moment that made the building worthwhile. That moment never came.

James Corden’s character, who has a dominant part in the trailers, doesn’t appear until after the heist. One thing this does allow the film to do is continue carrying that tension because it prolongs when we find out all the little details that form the ‘oh, shit’ moment that comes during the reveal. Even with that delay until the final reveal, much like Logan Lucky, it kills a lot of the momentum the film spent building up until this point.

I thought Ocean’s 8 was OK 😐 Carrying the Ocean’s name comes with a lot of weight and expectations. Unfortunately, this movie doesn’t quite live up to its name. It ticks all the boxes of what is anticipated from a movie from this franchise: a well-oiled cast, an expected story structure, flashy visuals, and surprise twists, but overall it lacks any kind of flare or pizzaz that the franchise is known for. I wouldn’t mind seeing a sequel because I’m hoping this franchise can only go up.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Gary Ross – Director / Screenplay / Story
Olivia Milch – Story
Daniel Pemberton – Composer

Sandra Bullock – Debbie Ocean
Cate Blanchett – Lou
Helena Bonham Carter – Rose Wiel
Mindy Kaling – Amita
Rihanna – Nine Ball
Awkwafina – Constance
Sarah Paulson – Tammy
Anne Hathaway – Daphne Kluger
Richard Armitage – Claude Becker
James Corden – John Frazier

Solo: A Star Wars Story Review

Solo: A Star Wars Story movie posterSynopsis
After escaping his home planet of Corellia, Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) joins up with Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson) and his criminal gang to steal hyperfuel, starting his life as one of the mot famous smugglers in the galaxy.

Review
When Lucasfilm announced they were creating a Han Solo stand-alone film, it was met with mixed reactions. On one hand, Han is without a question one of the most popular characters from the Original Trilogy and we could always use more Han. But on the other, did we really need to see Han’s back story? Not knowing is part of the charm of his character. I was in the former camp, albeit with some reservations. I’ve made it no secret that I haven’t been too keen on the latest episodic installments of the Star Wars franchise but I did enjoy Rogue One, the last β€œA Star Wars Story” film. For me any time I can spend in a galaxy far, far away, I’m there. However, it seems that the rushed and troubled production took its toll on Solo: A Star Wars Story.

This movie does have its moments. After 8, almost 9, episodic movies, we’ve spent our fair share of time in the Star Wars Galaxy. At this point, to make the stories seems fresh, they need something to stand out. To look at the superhero genre for an examples, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a spy thriller that happens to have superheroes, Logan is a western that just happens to have superheroes, and Ant-Man is a heist movie that happens to have superheroes. Solo does something similar were it is a heist/western that happens to take place in the Star Wars Galaxy. I hope to see this trend continue where Star Wars movies just use the galaxy as a setting but exist in a whole other genre. It has shown it can work, like the aforementioned superhero examples, and could make for some pretty enjoyable Star Wars films. If they continue to make these anthology installments, that is.

As I said, Solo is a western infused with a heist. Maybe this is a personal taste of mine, but I wish the movie would have spent more time on the heist portions. Is was cool that there were essentially two heists throughout the film but as a result, not a lot of time was spent with the set-up portion. This is usually my favorite part of a heist film so I was a little bummed it went quick. Not really anything wrong with the film, just a personal preference as I said.

Alden Ehrenreich had the monumental task of portraying a character made popular by Harrison Ford. For the most part he did a good job in the role. He was able to capture some of Ford’s charm that he put into Han to make the character so lovable, but at the same time wasn’t a straight imitation and Ehrenreich put his own mark on the character.

Now, to move onto an actor who was a perfect fit for their character: Donald Glover. Sometimes an actor is just born for a role and that is the case for Glover as Lando Calrissian. He perfectly captures Lando’s attitude and swagger. He’s charming and sophisticated yet intimidating and tough at the same time. Based on this performance alone, I’m convinced Glover’s Lando needs his own spin-off film.

This movie definitely tried to cram as many locations as possible within its run time. It moved at a fairly quick pace, never really letting you settle down in each new environment before it moves onto the next. While it is nice getting your money’s worth for the amount of settings you experience, it still felt somewhat rushed yet too long at the same time. Han has a lot of history before Luke first meets him in the Mos Eisley cantina and Solo tries to cover it all. Despite covering much of Han’s history brought up in the Original Trilogy, it still tries to set up a sequel, which, let’s be honest, probably won’t happen at this point. Knowing that they wanted a possible sequel, the filmmakers could have streamlined the story, making it a little less chaotic.

But in trying to set up a sequel, the film gave either the best or most confusing cameo anyone would have expected. While I was shocked and liked it, others who only watch the movies might have been left scratching their heads. As exciting as it is to see Disney is working hard and making a conscious effort to connect Star War across all its mediums, the character’s appearance came from left field and probably confused more people than it excited.

I thought Solo: A Star Wars Story was OK 😐 As much as I like Han Solo as a character, this film did leave the lingering question of ‘why?’ It was fun to see his history brought to the big screen but part of Han’s charm is not knowing what’s true and what’s exaggerated. While it was enjoyable, I don’t see this having the rewatchability of most of the other Star Wars films.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Ron Howard – Director
Jonathan Kasdan – Writer
Lawrence Kasdan – Writer
John Powell – Composer

Alden Ehrenreich – Han Solo
Joonas Suotamo – Chewbacca
Woody Harrelson – Tobias Beckett
Emilia Clarke – Qi’ra
Donald Glover – Lando Calrissian
Phoebe Waller-Bridge – L3-37
Paul Bettany – Dryden Vos
Erin Kellyman – Enfys Nest
Thandie Newton – Val
Jon Favreau – Rio Durant (voice)
Linda Hunt – Lady Proxima (voice)
Ian Kenny – Rebolt
John Tui – Korso

Deadpool 2 Review

Deadpool 2 movie poarweSynopsis
When Cable (Josh Brolin) travels from the future to kill a mutant kid named Russell (Julian Dennison), Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) puts together a team to stop him.

Review
Deadpool quickly shot towards the top of my favorite superhero movies when it hit theaters in 2016. The irreverent tone, genre-deprecating humor, constant pop culture references and fourth-wall breaking, and the perfect casting of Ryan Reynolds in the titular role made one volatile and vulgar adventure. I, for one, could not wait for a sequel, especially after Deadpool‘s post-credit scene revealed Cable would be in the sequel. Thankfully, what Deadpool 2 delivered on was much of what made its predecessor so enjoyable, along with greater stakes and more character development. Or in other words: exactly what a good sequel should do.

One of my favorite things about Deadpool was the humor. The jokes came at you quickly but the nearly almost landed. Ryan Reynolds’ delivery was sharp and snappy. It’s no surprise the the sequel would deliver much of the same. The jokes come in greater quantity and quicker this time. Not as many of the jokes stuck the landing this time around but quantity trumped quality in this case and before you had time to realize you didn’t laugh at the last joke, the film was already on to the next.

If you didn’t like the amount of pop culture references in the first film, I’m sorry to say that you’re in for more of the same here. My favorite moments from Deadpool were those that broke the fourth-wall. While those were abundant in Deadpool 2, they didn’t seem as frequent. So in essence, this film traded fourth-wall jokes for pop culture ones.

You could not ask for a better Deadpool than Reynolds. Even way back in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, I thought he made the perfect Wade Wilson. He killed it in the previous outing as Wilson and only gets better in the sequel. The casting is so perfect it is hard to determine where Reynolds ends and Wilson begins.

Superhero newcomer Zazie Beetz is an absolute scene stealer as the luck-manipulating Domino. She has the most screen time of any of the members of X-Force and she makes the most of it. Whether it is her back-and-forth banter with Reynolds or the display of her unique powers, Beetz is on point. I can’t wait to see what she does next in film.

As big of a deal the trailers made X-Force seem, they weren’t around as much as I expected before the film sent Wilson back on his own. I wish more time would have been spent with them because many of the members (read as all except Domino) didn’t get much screen time. The members of X-Force all had various powers that were seen too briefly. Except Peter. Peter has no powers. Which easily made him the most compelling member of the group. I have no doubt that if Peter had a bigger role, it would have made this movie even better. However, despite the limited time spent with the team, it was enjoyable and generated several good laughs.

For a vulgar blockbuster such as this, it was a lot more heartfelt than I expected. The basis of the movie is that Cable came from the future to kill a young mutant before he can become bad and Deadpool tries to stop Cable from doing so. The comics version of Deadpool has been shown to be capable of such actions (look up comic panels of Deadpool and a young version of Apocalypse named Evan). Many of the scenes when Deadpool was opening up to Russell or Cable were genuinely emotional. I wasn’t expecting that from this kind of film. It sounds like these scenes would feel out of place but they fit it seamlessly and naturally.

I thought Deadpool 2 was GOOD πŸ™‚ Knowing what made Deadpool a hit, the sequel offers much of the same. Although not quite as funny as the first, it trades some humor for something more heartfelt. Almost every member of the cast delivers fantastic performances but Ryan Reynolds and Zazie Beetz offer some of the more memorable of the film. I hope a third film is made because I can never get enough of Ryan Reynolds in his signature tight, red spandex.

Favorite Quote
Deadpool: With this collar on, my superpower is just unbridled cancer. Give me a bow and arrow and I’m basically Hawkeye.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
David Leitch – Director
Rhet Reese – Writer
Paul Wernick – Writer
Ryan Reynolds – Writer
Tyler Bates – Composer

Ryan Reynolds – Wade Wilson / Deadpool
Josh Brolin – Cable
Morena Baccarin – Vanessa
Julian Dennison – Russell / Firefist
Zazie Beetz – Domino
TJ Miller – Weasel
Leslie Uggams – Blind Al
Karan Soni – Dopinder
Jack Kesy – Black Tom
Stefan Kapicic – Colossus (voice)
Brianna Hildebrand – Negasonic Teenage Warhead
Shioli Kutsuna – Yukio
Eddie Marsan – Headmaster
Nikolai Witschi – Head Orderly Frye
Rob Delaney – Peter
Lewis Tan – Shatterstar
Bill Skarsgard – Zeitgeist
Terry Crews – Bedlam
Brad Pitt – Vanisher

Avengers: Infinity War Review

Avengers: Infinity War movie posterSynopsis
When Thanos (Josh Brolin) travels throughout the universe to collect the powerful infinity stones, all of Earth’s heroes and the Guardians of the Galaxy must come together to stop him, before he can end half of all life in existence.

Review
Well, here we are. 10 years, 18 movies, and one comic fan’s wet dream later, Thanos has finally arrived. Thanos has been teased at since the end of The Avengers in Phase One, intermittently throughout Phase Two, and was pretty silent throughout Phase Three… until now. The buildup to his arrival has been one for the cinematic history books. A shared universe between movies is nothing new; Universal’s monster universe from the 1900s, the Alien and Predator films, Nightmare on Elmstreet and Friday the 13th, the list goes on. However, what is unprecedented is the scope and interconnectivity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Marvel Studios needed to make the culmination of their journey to be great, at the very least, in order to properly payoff all of the threads they have been dropping since 2008. Avengers: Infinity War not only meets expectations but surpasses them.

You know what to expect from this film right off the bat. Within the first ten minutes, my jaw was on the floor. And it stayed there. The excitement never let up. But that’s not to say the action was turned up to eleven like a Michael Bay movie. No. The Russo brothers did a fantastic job of balancing action, drama, and humor. They’ve shown they can do so with a large cast in Captain America: Civil War and they’ve done it yet again here. While it may be the longest MCU film to date, clocking in at an hour and a half, it certainly doesn’t feel like it.

One of my biggest gripes about Thor: Ragnarok was that it didn’t know when not to be funny. It didn’t take the time to let the somber moments be somber or the dramatic moments to linger before cracking a joke to break the mood. Not so in Avengers: Infinity War. Yes, it is funny and there are plenty of jokes and humorous moments are abundant. However, it isn’t afraid to take a step back and be dramatic, to be emotional, to let your jaw hit the floor and stay there for a moment. Like a fine wine before drinking, these moments are given the time to breath before moving on to the next great action piece or quip. It is some very disciplined story telling from the Russo brothers and writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely to balance the different story elements so well.

But best yet, the characters feel balanced.

With nearly thirty characters to juggle, it’s amazing how shared the screen time is between all of them. Throughout the film, the characters are in several groups with many unique combinations, such as Thor, Rocket, and Groot, or Tony Stark, Doctor Strange, and Spider-Man. These groupings made for some pretty great moments, either humorous or unexpectedly heartfelt. Despite the large cast, no one feels like they get short–changed on screen time. There are those those get more time than others but no one feels over-shadowed.

There might be a good reason for that.

Throughout the film, Thanos gets just as much screen time as all the heroes, probably even as much as all of them combined. He is treated like a main character. Much of the film’s run time is devoted to him, allowing his character to be deeply explored. He’s not just a stereotypical MCU villain that fits the one-dimensional format that plagues the franchise. Like the movie as a whole, Thanos is balanced between building his back story and driving motivations, as well as showing how formidable he is. He has easily and quickly become one of the MCU’s best villains (not that it was a high bar to hurtle).

While showing Thanos and all these heroes on screen, the tone felt balanced as well. Having spent several outings with many of these characters, each of their individual movies had their own tone and feeling. There is definitely a common, humorous tone between them that Marvel has refined over the last decade but they still had a uniqueness to them. Again, the Russo brothers and the writers managed to make these tones flow together smoothly. So when we jumped from the Guardians to Iron Man to Thor, it wasn’t jerky or awkward.

Slight spoilers in this paragraph. Given that this is considered part 1, with Avengers 4 being part 2, of the fight with Thanos, it should be no surprise that this ends on a cliffhanger. Normally, I’m not the biggest fan of cliffhanger endings in movies. However, I don’t necessarily think it’s a cliffhanger in the traditional sense. In a way, this is Thanos’ story, not the heroes’. While it ends on a cliffhanger for the heroes, Thanos’ story is completed. It’s a fairly unique way to end a film, allowing me to put aside my usual feelings towards cliffhanger endings.

I thought Avengers: Infinity War was GREAT πŸ˜€ Calling this anything short of ‘epic’ would not do this film justice. Even that almost doesn’t feel appropriate to fit the scope and grandeur of what happens on screen. I love this film for the same reason I love The Avengers: it feels like an event. It brings together threads that have been laid out throughout the MCU films up to this point. And let’s not forget, this is only the beginning of the end of the buildup. We still have the conclusion in the as-of-yet untitled Avengers 4 next year. Marvel has proven time and time again they are expert story tellers and know what makes their characters tick. They’ve just proven again why they are continuously at the top of the box office.

You can also check out a spoiler-free audio review of this film in theΒ Avengers: Infinity War episode of the Film Focus podcast, guest starring me!

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Anthony Russo – Director
Joe Russo – Director
Christopher Markus – Screenplay
Stephen McFeely – Screenplay
Alan Silvestri – Composer

Robert Downey Jr. – Tony Stark / Iron Man
Chris Hemsworth – Thor
Mark Ruffalo – Bruce Banner / Hulk
Chris Evans – Steve Rogers / Captain America
Scarlett Johansson – Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow
Don Cheadle – James Rhodes / War Machine
Benedict Cumberbatch – Doctor Strange
Tom Holland – Peter Parker / Spider-Man
Chadwick Boseman – T’Challa / Black Panther
Karen Gillen – Nebula
Tom Hiddleston – Loki
Paul Bettany – Vision
Elizabeth Olson – Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch
Anthony Mackie – Sam Wilson / Falcon
Sebastian Stan – Bucky Barns / Winter Soldier
Peter Dinklage – Eitri
Benedict Wong – Wong
Chris Pratt – Peter Quill / Star- Lord
Zoe Saldana – Gamora
Dave Bautista – Drax
Vin Diesel – Groot (voice)
Bradley Cooper – Rocket (voice)
Pom Klementieff – Mantis
Josh Brolin – Thanos
Terry Notary – Cull Obsidian
Tom Vaughan-Lawlor – Ebony Maw
Carrie Coon – Proxima Midnight
Michael James Shaw – Corvus Glaive

Ready Player One Review

Ready Player One movie posterSynopsis
In the near future when a virtual reality world known as the Oasis serves as the most popular social getaway, Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) is on the hunt for three hidden keys hidden by the game’s creator. His search puts not only his virtual self but real-world self in the sights of IOI, a corporation looking to control the Oasis.

Review
I wanted to see Ready Player One for exclusively two reasons: 1) it is based around a video game (one of my favorite past times), and 2) it is directed by Steven Spielberg (my favorite director). A marriage of the two was guaranteed to get me into a seat. I know that it is based on a book of the same name, written by Ernest Cline. However, I have never read it so I can’t say how it compares to the source material. What I can say how it stacks up as a film and boy does this film deliver!

As soon as the movie steps into the Oasis, you are overwhelmed with breathtaking visuals. While much of the world looks realistic, it does just enough to prevent itself from falling into the uncanny valley territory, making sure you know it takes place inside a video game. With that, a wide range of environments are visited throughout the film. There’s a race track, a night club, a bustling city, tundra, literally every kind of place imaginable makes an appearance, driving home that the Oasis is a place is inside a video game.

Since half the movie is inside a video game, where literally anything is possible, this movie takes full advantage of that. Every turn of the camera reveals a plethora of pop-culture characters, icons, and items from anything including video games, movies, or television series. Nothing is left out. I can’t wait for the home video release so I can comb through the movie and find all the easter eggs that I missed in the theater. As someone who loves to play video games (one of the reasons this review is so delayed), I felt a real love and reverence for the medium oozing from this film.

No video game movie would be complete without some action and adventure. The action is big and the adventure is exciting. This film takes full advantage of the “anything is possible” aspect of its video game setting that I have mentioned several times already. The opening scene is a car race along a track filled twists and turns and loop-the-loops, populated with all kinds of movie characters. Later the characters have to make it through a portion of The Shining. And then a huge fight sequence happens in and around a castle in an icy world. Even in the real world, there are car chases and excitement throughout. All of it, in the Oasis and the real world, everything is well shot. It doesn’t rely on too much shaky cam or cut-a-ways. What’s important stays in the frame.

World building can be a tricky thing to do. Some movies use flashbacks, some use exposition, Ready Player One does a little of both, as well as its own special method. While Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) narrates some of the basics of how the world works in 2045 after a virtual reality world takes over the real world, the Oasis’ history is given through flashbacks but not in the standard fashion. Instead, the game’s tasks requires Wade and his friends to look through the game’s creator’s memories. This way, the history is integrated into the story itself and doesn’t derail the narrative. I found this technique unique and engaging.

One of my favorite characters was actually the villain I-R0K, voiced by TJ Miller. I-R0K is a gun-for-hire, tasked by the main baddy, Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn), with eliminating Wade’s avatar inside of the Oasis. Miller infuses I-R0K with his signature wit and humor, creating a character that you know instantly is Miller. His voice feels like a mismatch compared to I-R0K’s large and sinister figure, making it all the more comical (appropriately so).

I thought Ready Player One was GREAT πŸ˜€ From simple things like appearances of popular characters or items, to classic genre tropes, to easter eggs, even to why people play video games in the first place, I felt connected to the story and the characters themselves in a way that I can’t say happens very often to me during a movie. Director Steven Spielberg weaves a dazzling pop culture tapestry and a love letter to games and what it means to be a gamer. There isn’t anything more exciting than playing with your friends or more satisfying than playing simply for the enjoyment of the game. This movie understands that and shares that pleasure in a genuine and beautiful way.

Trivia
Oasis is actually an acronym. It stands for Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation. This is mentioned in Ernest Cline’s source novel but not mentioned in the film. (Via IMDb)

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Steven Spielberg – Director
Zak Penn – Screenplay
Ernest Cline – Screenplay

Tye Sheridan – Parzival / Wade
Olivia Cooke – Art3mis / Samantha
Lena Waithe – Aech / Helen
Philip Zhao – Sho
Win Morisaki – Daito
Ben Mendelsohn – Sorrento
TJ Miller – I-R0K
Mark Rylance – Anorak / Halliday
Simon Pegg – Ogden Morrow

Tomb Raider Review

Tomb Raider movie posterSynopsis
Seven years after her father went missing and was presumed dead, Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander) discovers his hidden office containing research on Himiko, the ancient Japanese β€œAngel of Death.” Along with boat captain Lu Ren (Daniel Wu), she travels to the hidden island containing Himiko’s tomb, facing many perils along the way, including her father’s old associate Mathias Vogel (Walton Goggins).

Review
Mentioning a film is a video game adaptation is often met with a moan and a groan. While some are a few diamonds in the rough, most are OK at best, if not downright dreadful. Going into the theater to see Tomb Raider, I was cautious but at the same time hopeful. The Angelina Jolie take on the character was fun and I really liked what I saw in the trailers. It helped, too, that I’ve heard a lot of good things about the 2013 Tomb Raider game reboot (which this is what this film is based on). Leaving the theater, I was actually optimistic about the future of an Alicia Vikander-led Tomb Raider series.

One thing this movie is not lacking in is adventure. From start to finish, Lara is zooming from one place to another, running from something or fighting someone. Not exactly edge-of-your-seat stuff but it was exciting. There was an Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade or National Treasure element to it so of course I was going to enjoy it. Even when the film was between action pieces, it kept your attention, moving Lara towards the end goal.

My mom watched this with me and when it was over I asked her if she liked it. Her response was β€œYeah, it was easy to follow.” The plot wasn’t overly complicated. Nothing felt extraneous or unnecessary. There were no extra side-plots, nor any crazy twists or turns. Every scene had one goal: getting Lara to the tomb. There are clear breadcrumbs laid to be picked up in potential future sequels but they do not take away from this film. This is the correct way to start a film franchise.

Lara Croft is an iconic video game character. Portraying a character who is beloved by so many can be intimidating. Luckily, Alicia Vikander is up to the task. She was fantastic as a younger, less experienced Lara. She nails the look of Lara’s most recent incarnation to a tee. And the muscle she put on for the role is remarkable. It really help sells that Lara would be able to pull the crazy stunts she does, no matter how improbable they may seem. In the same vein of films like John Wick, she, despite being the hero, isn’t invincible; She constantly is getting beat and bruised but continuously finds a way use her brain and skills to come out on top. Vikander performed many of her own stunts, clearly showing a love and dedication to the role that comes across on screen.

It seems lately Hollywood has been moving away from making women in film damsels-in-distress or helpless love interests. Instead, we are seeing more bad-ass and kick-ass heroines than ever before. The beating Lara endures throughout the movie is what you would expect from an 80s action hero. It’s over-the-top, insane, gritty, and quite frankly, unbelievable but oh-so enjoyable to watch and root for. I can’t think of many films where the lead role is a woman and can be comparable to an Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kurt Russel, or Sylvester Stallone role. If that’s not progress I don’t know what is.

I thought Tomb Raider was GOOD πŸ™‚ Director Roar Uthaug not only managed to make a decent video game movie, but a decent adventure movie as well. While it was mostly unoriginal as an adventure movie, pulling inspiration from many successful adventure films, and generic, it was generic fun. And really, fun is all I ask for.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Roar Uthaug – Director
Geneva Robertson-Dworet – Screenplay / Story
Alastair Siddons – Screenplay
Evan Daugherty – Story
Tom Holkenborg – Composer

Alicia Vikander – Lara Croft
Dominic West – Lord Richard Croft
Walton Goggins – Mathias Vogel
Daniel Wu – Lu Ren
Kristen Scott Thomas – Ana Miller
Derek Jacobi – Mr. Yaffe
Alexandre Willaume – Lieutenant
Tamer Burjaq – Mercenary
Adrian Collins – Mercenary
Keenan Arrison – Mercenary
Andrian Mazive – Mercenary
Milton Schorr – Mercenary
Maisy De Freitas – Young Lara (7 years old)