Director Roar Uthaug
Genre Action | Adventure
Cast Alicia Vikander, Dominic West, Walton Goggins, Daniel Wu
Release Date March 16th, 2018
From Norwegian director Roar Uthaug (Escape, The Wave), Tomb Raider is the latest film adaptation of the extremely popular action adventure videogame. Tomb Raider was always one of my favorite games growing up, and I would be lying if I didn't admit that the sexy main character contributed significantly to the appeal. The videogame version is still alive and well with a new game having come out recently. The first actress to step into the role on the big-screen was Angelina Jolie, and she did pretty well as far as fans were concerned (just don't ask the critics), but now it's Alicia Vikander's chance. Vikander fits the role well if I say so myself, and the trailer had me pumped up! I looked forward to her version of the beautiful Lara Croft. The cast includes Alicia Vikander, Walton Goggins, Hannah John-Kamen, and Dominic West.
Easily the best portrayal of the beautifully confident adventurer Lara Croft yet, Alicia Vikander's Tomb Raider is an effective origin story that will satisfy longtime fans and newcomers. I grew up with the Tomb Raider videogames, and admittedly as a young teen with raging hormones I was always especially intrigued by Lara Croft’s well above average “upper region.” In a world where sex sells (this is a saying I tend to reference often and it holds true to this day) that aspect of the action adventure character was always and continues to be a primary focus. This lead to the casting of Angelina Jolie in the 2001 videogame adaptation Lara Croft Tomb Raider, and even though she fit the role perfectly (at least as far as the look) the film was shredded by critics due to poor writing and emotionless action sequences. The studio took another crack at it in 2003 with Lara Croft Tomb Raider - The Cradle of Life, but were met with disappointingly similar results. The attempts were shelved for roughly 15 years, and after a few successful releases of the Tomb Raider videogames, Warner Brothers, in collaboration with videogame developer Square Enix decided to give it another shot, and I’m glad they did.
Even though I am a longtime fan of Lara Croft and Tomb Raider, the failings of the earlier films tempered my expectations- not to mention the fact that videogame adaptations tend to face an uphill battle. The 2018 version of Tomb Raider brings with it what feels like a new energy and determination to succeed. Alicia Vikander is confident right out of the gate and makes it clear she deserved this opportunity. The training she put in paid off as viewers are treated with a lean and muscular version of the actress we had yet to see. What I enjoyed most about Tomb Raider is the action sequences that pay direct tribute to the videogames, and at times I felt like I was watching a scene cut directly from the 2013 PlayStation 3 Tomb Raider. At the end of the day, Tomb Raider caters to fans of the long-running videogame franchise, and that really is what matters most. The film does feel slow at times, but I attribute that to the attempt at building up a true origin story, especially considering that it becomes clear the hope is to reignite a franchise with at least a few sequels on the horizon- and I am more than okay with that (more Alicia Vikander? Yes please).
As I’ve touched on a few times, I am genuinely pleased with the decision to bring Alicia Vikander on board to play Lara Croft. Sure, Vikander doesn’t have the “attributes” that the character has in the videogames, but she still has the look and is undeniably beautiful. Also, unless you live under a rock you know that the 29-year old Swedish actress nabbed an Oscar in 2016 for her role in The Danish Girl (don’t worry if you didn’t see it, neither did I). Still, winning an Oscar is quite an accomplishment, I mean it took Leo DiCaprio nearly his entire career to finally nab the gold for himself. Hmm, that actually reminds me, retired NBA star Kobe Bryant just won an Oscar- man 2018 is off to a strange start. Back on topic, it is clear Vikander went through some intense training for this role, and I also read that she did many of her own stunts- so awesome job by her. So just to recap, she is incredibly beautiful, talented, and very fit- she will be more than fine in her career.
An interesting side note, Vikander is married to actor Michael Fassbender, who recently took on the lead role in another videogame adaption, Assassin’s Creed. Vikander gets the majority of the screentime but she has a solid supporting cast as well. Veteran actor Dominic West (The Wire) takes on the pivotal role of Lord Richard Croft, Lara’s father. West is fantastic and I felt like he added the necessary emotional depth to ensure viewers were moved by the close relationship he shared with his daughter and the sacrifices he made. You can’t help but wonder why a man who has so much is willing to lose it all but his selflessness as a human being is expressed very well. Walter Goggins (Justified, Sons of Anarchy, Vice Principals) plays a very important role as well and does well. Every film needs a quality bad guy and he is always willing to fill that void. Goggins may not be a huge star but he is a very talented actor, and his character in the FX series Justified is easily one of my favorite television bad guys. I also really enjoyed the role Daniel Wu played, and felt like the on-screen chemistry he developed with Vikander was crucial to the success of the film. All in all, the cast was very solid.
Tomb Raider may not be the box office blockbuster many hoped it would be, myself included, but it still stands on its own as an impressive adaptation of the classic videogames, and more importantly once again brings Lara Croft to the big-screen. It is also worth pointing out that Alicia Vikander deserves credit for the best portrayal of the classic action adventure character to date, and she earned it. I still feel like Angeline Jolie put forth a great effort in the face of weak writing and uninspired storytelling back when she was given her opportunity, so that blame really can’t be placed on her- but at the end of the day Vikander is the superior Croft. If you consider yourself to be a fan of the Tomb Raider videogames, I am confident you will thoroughly enjoy Tomb Raider- and if you could care less about them, it is still well worth the price of admission. Be sure to stick around for the scene during the end credits, it will get you pumped up for a sequel!