Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Tomb Raider Advance Movie Review

On March 8, 2018 I attended an advance screening of Tomb Raider in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The film will be released nationwide on March 16th. Tomb Raider is rated PG-13 and has a run time of 1 hour and 58 minutes. It is based on the current reboot video games and stars Oscar winning actress Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft.  

The movie introduces us to a 21 year old Lara Croft who works in London as a bike messenger.  Although she comes from a wealthy family, Lara refuses to use her family fortune. She decides to travel to an island off the coast of Japan to pick up where her late father left off in his search for a mystical tomb. Elements, story lines and characters from the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot video game and its sequel, Rise of the Tomb Raider, are incorporated into this film. That's not to say that it is identical to the games; there are several changes to the story however, it follows Lara's adventures much more faithfully than the previous Angelina Jolie films. 

When casting was announced for Tomb Raider, I was unfamiliar with Alicia Vikanders work. I was bummed she beat out Daisy Ridley for the role of Lara but I entered the movie with an open mind. I am happy to report that Vikander was phenomenal as Lara Croft. I don't have a single complaint about her performance. Not only is she an amazing actress but she slaughtered all of her action sequences. Alicia Vikander gained 12 pounds of muscle for the role. Her physical transformation and strength is inspiring.   

Speaking of action, there is plenty of it in Tomb Raider. The film features ship wrecks, gun fights, archery, a plane crash and more. In one point of the film, there is actually no dialogue for quite some time due to back to back action scenes.  The film also stars Daniel Wu, Walton Goggins, Dominic West and Kristen Scott Thomas. Each of the actors give wonderful performances. 

While entertaining and exciting, Tomb Raider does suffer from some problems. Although Kristen Scott Thomas is in the movie, her role is small. Lara Croft is pretty much the only woman in the film and is definitely the only woman on the island.  Vikander addressed the issue recently and agreed there are simply not enough women in the movie. Read the interview HERE. On the island Lara is psychically beaten,  kidnapped, shot at, gazed at and is commanded by men. A gun is even shoved in her face and she is taunted by the prospect of getting her head blown off. Look, I get it; these are some very bad men. Women can be bad too and could have certainly been cast as some of the villains. I understand that this is a survival story however, having to witness a woman being abused repeatedly by the hands of men in a male controlled environment, becomes tiresome and a bit uncomfortable. Perhaps that was the goal and if it was, mission accomplished. Does Lara overcome? Absolutely however, most of the time it appears to be accidental and not because she is growing as a character. Lara does have some supporting characters but they too are male. Her two female companions Samantha Nishimura and Joslin Reyes from the video game, were written out of the film.  

Tomb Raider features a fantastic leading actress turned bad ass action star. The supporting cast is great in their respective roles.  This film features a lot of breath taking action and a genuinely interesting plot. For future films, I feel that the screenplay does needs work. I want to see Lara grow as a character and become more skilled and confident in herself. There definitely needs to be more women among the cast. All in all, it was very entertaining. I am excited to see Alicia Vikander return as Lara Croft. For me, she was the best part about this movie. 


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