It’s been 15 years since Angelina Jolie graced the screen as Lara Croft. The iconic video game character finally gets a chance to return to the big screen. In a time when film studios and Hollywood in general are more and more aware of inclusion and diversity in the time of Wonder Woman, the time for films with strong female leads are hopefully on the up swing. While the first reboot of the Tomb Raider series is far from perfect, Alicia Vikander shines as the titular character. Academy Award Winner Vikander has primarily been known for more dramatic work (The Danish Girl), with her notable exception being the last entry into the Bourne Franchise. Vikander embodies everything Lara Croft is about and takes on her first action role with gravitas.
Just like the video game, Lara’s father has disappeared and is assumed dead by most people. Despite her wealthy upbringing. Lara has always been a bit of a rebel and has shunned her financial inheritance, instead choosing to live as a courier (her scene with other couriers might well be the best shot sequence of the film as they race through the streets of London). Warned by Ana Miller (Kristin Scott Thomas) that if she does not finally claim her inheritance she will lose it, Lara reluctantly agrees to sign it. She finds some clues which lead her to believe that her father is alive, in Hong Kong no less. Croft goes to Hong Kong searching for her father and is eventually found by Mathias Vogel (Walton Goggins), the antagonist of the film.
While Goggins doesn’t have much to do until the final third of the film he capably becomes an equal test for Vikander. Not that there was any doubt, but this was Vikander’s show from beginning to end. Tomb Raider falls flat in several instances, most notably the second half of the film which doesn’t build on the promise of the first. It might not blow audiences away at the box office, but the hope is that the film does well enough to green light more films with women action heroes as the star.
Female heroes are starting to become part of the Hollywood mainstream with Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel on the horizon, it is clear that studios sees the potential of franchises starring female action heroes. The ending of the film cleverly gives us hope that Vikander will be back as Lara Croft in a sequel. Here’s hoping the studio gives Vikander a chance.