I watched Tomb Raider and I thoroughly enjoyed it in one sense and was painfully disappointed in another. What was disappointing was the story, which fell apart within the first two minutes of the introduction. It was built on a spine of stupid decisions that didn’t have to be made. Even aside from the plot holes, the premise of the story wasn’t nearly as exciting as the Angelina Jolie Tomb Raider movies—there was basically no focus on anything archeological or historical, just a broad overview of a Japanese myth.
But what it lacked in story, it more than made up for in action. Being based off the video game reboot, it definitely feels like being in a video game—in a good way. So it’s definitely worth the ticket if you wanna be at the edge of your seat and feast on your fingernails.
But most of all, Alicia Vikander is now my favorite Tomb Raider—sorry Angelina. And these are 4 reasons why I think this movie’s version of Lara Croft was so good.
Lara is genuinely good at what she does. She’s a boss kick boxer and has got ridiculous climbing skills and upper body strength. But what makes it so special is that it’s not machine-like. She’s not a superhuman like Angelina was who never slips or loses her cool. She gets hurt, she falls, she gets hit, and she bleeds, like any other woman. She actually screams throughout the movie—like, real, gut-wrenching, teenage girl screams. But what makes her a boss is that no matter what hits her, she gets back up every time and comes out on top. And she’s vicious with a bow and arrow.
On top of that, Lara is impressively clever and shows it off throughout the movie, solving puzzles left and right and outsmarting men trying to catch her. She has a very casual, Aladdinesque streetsmartness to her that we usually only see in male characters—like Aladdin.(Granted, this trait isn’t explored as much as I would’ve liked and she does make some very non-clever choices, but you get the point.)
Like I said before, she’s not an inhuman machine. What I didn’t like about Angelina’s Lara was that she never seemed to be afraid of anything—almost to a fault. In this Tomb Raider, Lara shows realistic reactions to life and death situations and you can feel her fear when she’s in the middle of it. But she looks the fear in the eyes and pushes through it. And that’s inspiring. To see someone be honest about what they feel, but not be bound by it lets you know that you can do the same.
Not only that, but she’s also not just all-business the whole movie. She shows off a lighter side and is cracking jokes now and then, is depressed from being an orphan, and is driven by her love for her father.
Lara doesn’t have a romantic interest in this movie and I think it gives her even more time to shine. With no significant other sharing screen time with her, we get to see her spread her wings on her own. She isn’t defined by her relationship with a man—except maybe her father, but that’s another conversation—and is a hero in her own right. In this sense the movie has a very Moana-like feel, where she’s portrayed as a strong character without really drawing attention to the fact that she’s a woman. But at the same time, Lara doesn’t hate men, she knows what she wants and at this point in her life, a man doesn’t seem to be the most important thing. Even when a man does make a pass at her, she doesn’t cut his throat and tell him to back off. She just smiles and casually diverts his attention back to the mission.
She isn’t sexualized
Lastly, Lara isn’t eye candy. Homegirl is out here in cargo pants and a dirty tank top. No cleavage. No booty shorts. And she’s on a stinking island for the whole movie. So you know the directors could’ve milked that sexiness. But they don’t. She doesn’t even take a shower the whole movie, but it’s clean. And this is all the more impressive because in my opinion Alicia is astronomically more attractive than Angelina, but that’s just me. And because attention isn’t drawn to her body or her looks, we’re able to see her strength and her cleverness all the more. She doesn’t rely on her sexuality and is still able to get the job done.
So there you have it. 4 reasons why I loved this Tomb Raider’s Lara Croft.