Spoilers for Tomb Raider
This was a movie I was looking forward too. I’ve always been a fan of the Tomb Raider games so it was great to see it back on the big screen. As origin stories come, it’s a good character one but it falls into the usual pitfalls and cliches of an action hero, or heroine as the case may be, movie.
Lara’s father died on a mystery trip to find an ancient supernatural being called Himiko and Lara has been in denial since. In the 7 years, Lara has not accepted her inheritance because it means it would confirm her fathers death. There is so much emphasis on the relationship between Lara and her father and we are constantly reminded of it in the film. So much so that you could see what was going to happen, no matter how much I didn’t want it to. Lara eventually gets to the island and low and behold, finds her father alive. This was something that really annoyed me. The origin of Lara is that she picks up her father’s love of tombs and interests and carries on his legacy, something that can’t be done if he is alive. By the end of the movie, Lara’s father does die and in turn, she will carry on her fathers legacy but I felt it was unnecessary for him to be alive and something we have seen before.
Another thing that we have seen before is the ‘supernatural being’ that will destroy all mankind if found so it has to be stopped. It did have interesting mythology and in the end, I enjoyed the twist that it was a disease and Himiko was sacrificing herself so it didn’t spread. It was better than the VFX monster I thought we were going to get, but at the same time it did feel very general. For this type of movie, this is the standard type of villain or goal if you will, it didn’t bring anything new to the table.
Tomb Raider is far from all bad and it’s shining light is without a doubt, Alicia Vikander. Vikander really brings the character of Lara to life and humanises her. There was always a risk that the character would be very ‘video-gamey’ and she would not fear death and be good at everything. With Vikander, you can see the fear and the growth in Lara. Lara isn’t good at everything and she makes mistakes and by the end, when she is in her signature pony tail and double handguns, it does feel earned and satisfying. You can tell Vikander really threw herself into the role and she has to be praised for it.
The one thing this movie had to get right was it’s use of puzzles and problem solving. It’s the fundamental basis of why Lara Croft is a well loved character. It doesn’t delve too far into puzzles but we get a few at the end and it’s great to see Lara figure them out and save them from the brink of death. The set pieces in which Lara flings herself to safety, although questionable that she could really jump that far, they are great to watch and it does ramp up the tension.
Once Lara is back in London, it seems like Lara stumbles on a bit of a conspiracy in the fact that this big bad company is actually owned by Croft Industries and it seems to set up future movies. I wish it had started this through out the movie. Drop Easter eggs and throw away comments the whole way through, it would have felt worthy of a sequel then as there would have been more unanswered questions. It does seem like the last 5 minutes are a little racked on in the hope of a sequel.
DIAGNOSIS – MINOR TO MAJOR SURGERY
Tomb Raider falls into the usual plot points of a movie, father is dead, then alive, try and save the world from virus, save world. If we can look past the story and focus of the movie, we do get a really compelling character arc and it’s great to see Lara grow into the Lara Croft we love. Vikander alone deserves to explore this character more and I think it would be good to see a whole movie as Lara Croft being the confident Tomb Raider. I hope it gets a sequel but stay away from dead family members and supernatural diseases!