Movie criticism is not brain surgery. And that's so obvious a statement I can already hear a chorus of "uh, duhs."
But just as individual opinions of movie fans vary, many times those of actual movie critics do as well. Take the varying responses to the latest "Tomb Raider" movie, which is the second big-screen adaptation of the video game — the first being 2001's "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider," which starred Angeline Jolie.
This newest adaptation stars another Oscar-winner, Alicia Vikander ("The Danish Girl"), in the lead as the daughter of man whose mysterious vanishing years before looms over her like a nagging relation. Her hot-headed quest to figure out what happened to him is what propels what passes for the film's plot.
Here are some reactions, which couldn't be more different:
Ty Burr, Boston Globe: 'It all feels depressingly generic, and as the fun leaks out over the course of two long hours, a viewer starts to push back against the film's rickety suspension of disbelief."
Matt Zoller Seitz, Rogerebert.com: "A beautifully crafted and unpretentious piece of action cinema, with a number of sequences that are as gorgeous as they are thrilling."
Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: "Story problems tank the new 'Tomb Raider' - small, essential things like lack of motivation, lack of reasons for people to do the things they do, and lack of any reason for the audience to keep watching."
Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service: "Vikander attacks this role at a headlong pace, with a raspy primal yelp, and she's so much fun to watch. This modern and grounded approach to Lara Croft has you in its chokehold before you can resist. Might as well go along for the rest of the ride."
That's the thing about critics: They tend to pick movies apart with, um, surgical precision.