Tomb Raider doesn’t have the most compelling story but we so rarely get to see female characters in roles this physical it keeps the movie interesting enough to watch.
Director: Roar Uthaug
Summary: Lara Croft, the fiercely independent daughter of a missing adventurer, must push herself beyond her limits when she finds herself on the island where her father disappeared.
There are plenty of things that don’t work about the original Tomb Raider, movies but a lot of it comes down to the fact the character was conceived in a very different time period. We got a reboot game back in 2013 so it was only a matter of time before they decided to try to do a movie again. We have that movie now, and it stars Academy Award winner Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft. If there is one singular thing that makes this movie different from anything else we see on screen is the way they treat their heroine. Lara is a strong female character with the emphasis on her strength. Vikander reportedly put on twelve pounds of muscle for this role and it shows. She fights like a woman would fight when put against someone considerably bigger and stronger than her.
The movie becomes one long motivational commercial for getting up and going to the gym which is something we don’t get to see in female characters. Much like last summers Atomic Blonde we get to see this version of Lara bloody, bruised, and even sunburned which is something female characters aren’t often allowed to be. Lara screams in agony as she takes a life for the first time and it’s a scream that feels like how any of us would scream if we were faced with that sort of choice. The physicality of the role alone is something that should be praised if nothing else. The final twist when it comes to what is going on in the tomb is clever enough and the pacing keeps moving along at a decent pace.
However, this is coming from someone who is not familiar with the games, and some have said that this movie doesn’t capture the character well. Lara does make some dumb mistakes in this movie, but she is also portrayed as very young. If the character is supposed to be older than 25, I’d be surprised. We all make dumb decisions that we don’t entirely think through at that age. The central father-daughter relationship is fine if a little cliche, and the plot about a sinister conspiracy theory and a quest to control some evil is also something we’ve seen a million times in other movies.
Tomb Raider isn’t going to change anyone’s life when it comes to story, but its portrayal of a woman who is physically strong above all else is revolutionary. Lara is never sexualized and the only time the camera moves over her body is to show her performing a physical act that would land her on American Ninja Warrior.
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