Oscar winner Alicia Vikander gets the opportunity to kick ass in Tomb Raider in what is no doubt the best film based on a video game in quite some time.
Films based on video games usually go one of two ways–they are good or they are downright awful. What Tomb Raider does is allow for Lara Croft do get a new origin story on screen in a way that reboots the franchise. Vikander takes the character places that puts Angelina Jolie’s take on the character to shame.
Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander) is a strong independent woman whose dad, Lord Richard Croft (Dominic West) has been missing since she was a teenager. With him gone and assumed dead for seven years, Lara has no real meaning in her life. She’s working as a courier in London. She could have her dad’s inheritance in a moment’s notice but she refuses to believe that he’s actually gone and as such, she can barely pay her rent. When she’s finally ready to allow herself to maybe accept that he’s dead, Lara gets a key to what turns out to be her father’s secret lair and discovers he lived a life that she never knew about.
In learning this new information on her father, Lara decides to take it upon herself to find out what happened to him when he vanished. This takes her to Hong Kong in search of Lu Ren (Daniel Wu) to take her to Yamatai, an island off the coast of Japan that is thought to be her dad’s last-known whereabouts. He’s reluctant to go but money has a high value, even for drunk gamblers.
Once Lara gets to Yamatai and finds herself crossing paths with mercenary leader Mathias Vogel (Walter Goggins), she must do everything to make sure that the Queen Himiko, the Mother of Death, stays buried.
This is a version of Tomb Raider that brings a lot of heart and emotion to the character—most of this is due to the father-daughter story at the core of the film’s script. We get more of an insight into why she makes the decisions that she does. It’s because of this approach that the 2018 Tomb Raider offers a different kind of Lara Croft than the Angelina Jolie films could have possibly imagined–much of this is thanks to the 2013 video game in which the film takes its inspiration.
Film composer Tom Holkenborg’s score plays the thrills up when it needs to and tones it back in other emotional places. Production designer Gary Freeman put together some amazing set pieces that will absolutely blow film goers away.
Aside from Karen Gillan in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, it has been quite some time since a woman has been allowed to become an action hero. Vikander’s performance, for what it’s worth, helps make Tomb Raider not just a thrilling action film but one that’s entertaining to watch.
DIRECTOR: Roar Uthaug
SCREENWRITERS: Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Alastair Siddons, story by Evan Daugherty and Geneva Robertson-Dworet
CAST: Alicia Vikander, Dominic West, Walton Goggins, Daniel Wu, and Kristin Scott Thomas
Warner Brothers Pictures opened Tomb Raider in theaters on March 16, 2018.