It’s similar to how the video games themselves came into being. Tomb Raider filled a gap much needed in the action-adventure gaming genre in the 90s. After that, the series became more of a mixed bag. Enter Uncharted: Drake Fortune in 2007, which truly ate Tomb Raider’s lunch. So, is the same true for the film counterparts, or does Lara finally get one up on Nate? There will be spoilers ahead for both movies.
Nick Frost provides some good comedy to Tomb Raider as a cheap pawnshop owner, but he barely gets any screen time in the film. Overall Tomb Raider is darker, which does fit the 2013 reboot trilogy. Uncharted, on the other hand, has a lot more comedy throughout.
It is a fun, lighthearted adventure movie, and is a perfect representation of the vibe the games are going for. There are indeed dark moments, from the tragic loss of Nate’s brother to some other deaths in the films. Overall, though, it should make most viewers smile throughout.
The serious tone of Tomb Raider is not a bad thing. Again, it fits the story of the first game in the rebooted trilogy. Lara is off to discover treasure, but she turns into a killer in the process. She didn’t sign up to be an expert marksman, but she soon learns that killing comes with the adventuring trade. Still, she does not kill as many Trinity soldiers as she does in the games.
The same is true for Nate in Uncharted. This was probably done to avoid some harsh ratings, and keep the films safe for wider audiences. But when it comes to matching the tone of the game, Tomb Raider does a better job at keeping things intense.
Lara is pretty much the only character from the series who appears in the Tomb Raider film. She does have her father with her, but he was barely around in the games. The trilogy didn’t set up many reoccurring characters, so the movie didn’t have a lot to work with when it came to including game favorites.
Since the Uncharted games do have many reoccurring characters, it was easier to include more of them, which is why the movie wins by default. Nate, Sully, Chloe, and even Sam all make appearances. Jo is sort of like a reworked Nadine from the fourth game and spinoff sequel. Why she wasn't simply included as Nadine is a mystery.
Tom Holland is a great actor, but is he a good Nathan Drake? Fans are torn. He does nail certain characteristics like Nate's sharp tongue, but the age change can be a bit off-putting for some fans of the games. On the other hand, actress Alicia Vikander looks a lot like Lara from the reboot trilogy in terms of age and overall design. Her tone matches Lara as well; she's a bit more serious of a character. As far as opening scenes go for character intros, Lara’s is more ridiculous and in turn more fun.
As a fun aside, these two leads both have hobbies the characters don’t in the games. Nate is a bartender and Lara is an extreme biker.
Shouldn’t a movie called Tomb Raider have some tomb raiding in it? That was one of the problems some fans had with the 2013 game. There were side “tombs,” but the puzzles were simplistic. They weren’t tombs so much as they were obstructions, hiding valuable upgrades. The sequels improved the tomb raiding aspect, to the trilogy’s credit. Perhaps the sequel to this Tomb Raider film will too.
Uncharted, however, completely nails the globetrotting adventure with ridiculous puzzles and contraptions. They may not make a lot of sense, but viewers shouldn’t worry about that and just have fun with the ride.
There are two villains in the Uncharted movie. The first is Moncada, and the other is his armed bodyguard Jo. She kills Moncada later in the film, thus assuming the lead villain role. Jo may be tough, but she is not exactly scary, and the stakes don't feel quite as high.
Actor Walton Goggins may not look tough in real life, but he plays villains well. What makes his character of Mathias Vogel in Tomb Raider threatening is his words. A true villain knows how to play kind games. He’s also more present in the film, thus giving viewers a more pressing sense of dread. It’s a lot for Lara to handle.
Both films have stinger scenes. They are not the most exciting, but of the two, Uncharted sets up its sequel better. The scene in question looks like it is cut out from a film already in production, much like how the Marvel stingers used to be.
The stinger for Tomb Raider sees Lara return to the pawnshop to get her signature twin pistols. It was more of a wink to fans of the series rather than a sneak peek at the future of this film franchise. It was entertaining, but the Uncharted stinger sets up a little more forward momentum.
Both movies are pretty close as far as reviews go. Fans could nitpick details about each film all day. Tomb Raider gets a lot of aspects right, but Uncharted does just a bit more.
Hopefully, that stinger scene is an indication that Sony has indeed already greenlit the next film. It would be great to see Elena in it, the one character fans were let down to not see in the film. The same might be true for Jonah not appearing in Tomb Raider. Only time will tell if the sequels will measure up — if fans ever get to see them.