'Tomb Raider' Movie Review: Alicia Vikander's Terrific in Action-Hero Mode

Ruben Ruiz
March 17, 2018

That puts the makers of a Tomb Raider feature film in an nearly unwinnable situation: how do you make an interesting movie from a premise that's basically Indiana Jones in hotpants without actually going out and making Indiana Jones in hotpants?

As all of the marketing materials for Tomb Raider reveals, Vikander's Lara Croft doesn't have the same buxom shape as the video game rendering of her character or her franchise predecessor, Angelina Jolie.

Right from Vikander being body-shamed to her flaws being counted out, the movie has created seen enough buzz on social media. But we do stray slightly off the topic of Tomb Raider to discuss this year's Oscars. We're watching the origins of Lara Croft-a tomb raider who hasn't actually raided any tombs yet-as she finds her own way to embody her familial legacy.

A moment later, our heroine, Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander), comes to rest, but she's so badly injured that I felt my laughter had been out of place.

After an awards season in which feminist campaigns like Me Too and Time's Up have dominated the conversation, the American star championed her female co-stars and all of the females in the room at the ceremony by asking them all to stand. Lara wouldn't use money that her father left her.

As the story goes, Lara's father, Lord Richard Croft (Dominic West) disappeared after her mother died 7 years ago. She had to make sacrifices to achieve her goals.

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Early box office results out of the United Kingdom generated $553,000 on 1,004 screens with a 40% box office share of the top five films, 25% ahead of "Red Sparrow". Lara is for all her gumption, a pretty passive protagonist, for one.

The 29-year-old old adds proudly: "I don't know when in life I would have been exposed to try so many new things, if it weren't for this role". When she does set off to Hong Kong, and thence to an uncharted island off the Japanese coast, it isn't to raid tombs, but to follow clues to her father's disappearance. That the production put her in cargo trousers for the duration and not the Jolie short-shorts is perhaps a sign of progress too.

Uthaug and cinematographer George Richmond film her pretty much the same way a male action hero would be shot, demonstrating that not objectifying an action heroine isn't exclusively the purview of female filmmakers like Wonder Woman's Patty Jenkins.

The film is Lara Croft's story so of course she frees herself and sets about locating her father and stopping Mathias and his men from accomplishing their mission.

She convinces a drunken ship captain (Lu Ren) to take her to the island where she finds Walton Goggins and a team of mercenaries embarking on the same quest as her father on behalf of a shady worldwide organization. "Tomb Raider" also generated $500,000 in Thursday night previews. She fearlessly goes about that task, delivering blows, shooting arrows, and basically kicking as much a* em *Tomb Raider's only concerned with Lara Croft, with not much thought given to surrounding her with interesting characters. The denouement is an open gambit toward a sequel - a gambit of the increasingly ubiquitous and tiresome sort that prevents most franchise films nowadays from committing to telling a story start to finish - pitting Lara against this campaign to "control the supernatural".

But the resemblance goes beyond these superficial identifiers and into their characters, as they both push the limits of who they are in the name of their loved ones. I'm not saying I want another undead queen of evil rising from her ancient tomb, but what alternative would be better?

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