Tomb Raider

tomb_raider_xlgBased on the best-selling video game series first released in 1996, Tomb Raider is an entertaining paint-by-numbers action-adventure movie that takes a unique approach to the highly sexualized character of Lara Croft as depicted in the first series of films starring Angelina Jolie in 2001 and 2003. We first meet Lara Croft, played by Oscar-winning actress Alicia Vikander, working as a bike courier in London after the mysterious disappearance of her wealthy father and adventurer Richard Croft, played by Dominic West, several years prior. After agreeing to claim her inheritance from her father’s business partner played by Kristin Scott Thomas, she discovers her father’s research into a mythical Japanese queen named Himiko who was a deity of death. Richard disappeared while on an expedition to a remote Japanese island in the treacherous waters known as the Devil’s Sea to find and recover Himiko’s tomb that he feared possessed highly destructive powers. With the help of the son of Richard’s ship captain who took him to the mysterious island, Lara decides to travel to the island and continue her father’s work. However, she encounters the villainous Mathias Vogel, played by Walton Goggins, who works for the secretive organization Trinity and is forced to stay on the island until he discovers the tomb whose powers can be used as a weapon. Reminiscent of the video game, Lara embarks on an adventure to discover the tomb before it is too late and fight off Vogel and his ruthless army in a series of highly choreographed fight sequences. Unlike Angelina Jolie’s portrayal of Lara as a fantasized buxom superhero, the film depicts Lara Croft as a tough and independent young woman dressed in more practical attire for an adventurer, desperate to find out what happened to her beloved father. Overall, I found it to be a rather straightforward and predictable action flick trying but ultimately failing to emulate the Indiana Jones movie franchise, and it is notable for providing a more nuanced and less objectified view of the video game icon Lara Croft better suited for the times.

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