Last night I went to see the new Tomb Raider movie, directed by Roar Uthaug and starring Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft.
I went into the movie as a pretty big Tomb Raider fan already. For many years I’ve loved the Angelina Jolie movies, which hinged on Lara’s looks, crazy stunts that sometimes seem to defy the laws of physics, and cheesy one-liners meant to indicate what a sparkplug she is. They’re not the best movies, but watching Jolie perform aerial acrobatics in Croft Manor, solve puzzles in archaeological ruins, and kick ass all over the world is so much fun.
More recently, I’ve played the new video games, which rebooted Lara as a realistic young survivor, rather than a badass babe created in part for the male gaze. And I loved them, much more than the movies or even the old games I tried to play before I really got into gaming. In these stories, Lara is still brave, buff, and brainy, but she also has real emotions. She shivers in the cold, gives herself pep talks when things get rough, and even grieves over her first time killing a deer for food. It’s interesting to see her grow from the first game to the second, becoming more capable but never cold.
So I went into this new Tomb Raider movie excited to enjoy a blockbuster action movie starring one of my favorite characters ever. I like her so much, I dressed up as Lara for Halloween a couple of years ago. She’s just one of those characters I’ve always felt connected to and inspired by, and knowing that this film would be an origin story just like the reboot games, I was eager to see how Alicia Vikander would play her.