Movie Review: TOMB RAIDER

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TOMB RAIDER, the lastest film from Roar Uthaug (The Wave), is an action-packed adventure that shows both Lara Croft’s fierce determination, strength, and heart. It’s a film that doesn’t undermine the character of Croft with overly revealing outfits, mansplaining, or useless romantic interludes. Instead it shows how she rises to become the Lara Croft we all have come to love and respect while still showing a vulnerability in her ever increasing strength and badassery. The film stars Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina) as Lara Croft, along with Dominic West (“The Wire”), Walton Goggins (“Justified”), Daniel Wu (“Into the Badlands”), and Kristin Scott Thomas (Darkest Hour).

TOMB RAIDER tells the story of Lara Croft (Vikander), a fiercely independent woman who, despite having a substantial inheritance, lives a rather meager life and refuses to admit that her adventure-seeking father, who disappeared seven years earlier, is dead. Working as a bike courier with no real focus or purpose, she finds herself at a crossroads which forces her to deal with her father’s disappearance as well as his global empire. Upon receiving a unique but recognizable puzzle box, she soon learns that her father was much more than a businessman. With this newfound knowledge, she leaves everything she knows behind and goes against her father’s wishes in search of the truth in his disappearance, leading her to the last-known location of her father’s expeditation: a mythical island off the coast of Japan which may house a dangerous spirit that could destroy the world. 

I enjoy action-adventure movies just as much as the next person. Whether that be the fantastical worlds derived from the Marvel/DC Universe, or films like Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, this genre is one, when done right, that can be really exciting and fun to watch. Growing up I was a fan of the Tomb Raider video game, and even though I 100% sucked at it, I still appreciated a strong female character kicking ass and taking names. The same can be said when the game was adapted into a live action film starring Angelina Jolie. I love those films as well and still believe Jolie was one of the best choices to star as Lara Craft. Now it’s 2018 and the franchise has once again been rebooted, this time starring Alicia Vikander and I’m happy to report that she, and this film, really bring to life Lara Croft in a new and exciting light. 

 Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft in Warner Bros. Pictures' and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures' action adventure "TOMB RAIDER", a Warner Bros. Pictures Release | Photo Credit: Ilze Kitshoff

Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft in Warner Bros. Pictures' and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures' action adventure "TOMB RAIDER", a Warner Bros. Pictures Release | Photo Credit: Ilze Kitshoff

As reviews started pouring out for this film, there were some critics who commented on the body type that Vikander has and how it wasn’t curvy enough. First and foremost, this film isn’t about Lara Craft or Vikander or anyone’s body. It’s about an epic story of adventure and finding one’s true identity. Sure, the video games make Croft seem sexy and curvy, but as a whole aren’t we passed that? Can’t a movie be fun and exciting without commenting on a woman’s body? In regards to the acting, Vikander makes the role of Lara Croft her own. She’s a fighter, she’s vulnerable, and she’s growing into a woman who is poised with strength and determination. She gives us hope that we can work hard to obtain the unattainable. Vikander owns this movie through and through and it has nothing to do with her body type, instead it has to do with her talent and skills. 

Another familiar face that I was glad to see was that of Walton Goggins who plays the character, Mathias Vogel. Having been a huge fan of Goggins work in the show “Justified”, I’ve come to really appreciate and love everything he’s done before and since. He’s once again doing what he does best which is playing a villain that you love to hate. I hope that we get to see him more on the forefront in films as he’s such an incredible talent and it’s always a joy watching him on screen. Having not watched “Into the Badlands” but hearing phenomenal reviews of Daniel Wu’s performance, I was curious to see how he would be in this film. Though I’m glad he didn’t take the light away from Vikander’s role, I wish we had gotten a little bit more of his character Lu Ren. I’m hoping that if Warner Bros. continues with this franchise we will get to see more of his character shine through. 

As far as the action goes, TOMB RAIDER was non-stop. What I loved about this film was the action scenes really did seem dire. We all know that Lara Croft survives, but even so, there were moments when I was actually nervous she wouldn’t make it out of a situation. CGI is definitely present in this film but I was glad that it didn’t overtake the movie. There seems to be some practical aspects that were used which I really appreciated along with the cinematography and beautiful landscape of Cape Town, South Africa, where they shot the film. The fight sequences were also brilliant as we got to really see Croft come into her own power and toughness. I loved that the movie doesn’t start with her knowing everything, but instead gradually introduces her, and us, to the many layers that she is capable of mastering. 

All in all, I absolutely loved TOMB RAIDER. The action sequences were incredibly engaging, with Vikander doing a lot of her own stunts, the storyline was captivating and even tugged on my heartstrings, and the overall execution of the film was pretty damn near perfect. I can’t attest to the origin story of Lara Croft in the Tomb Raider video game, so I can’t comment on if I think this film was 100% accurate in the re-telling, but regardless, I was highly entertained throughout the 2 hour run time and truly believe that Vikander is the right successor in bringing Lara Croft back to life. If you are a fan of the video games, the previous films, or just like seeing badass females kicking ass and not relying on men to do all the dirty work, than you’ll without a doubt want to see TOMB RAIDER when it arrives in theaters this Friday, March 16. 

Shannon M.