Kick-ass Lara Croft will leave you wanting more

2018-03-18 00:00

City Press movie review

Movie: Tomb Raider

Director: Roar Uthaug

Starring: Alicia Vikander, Daniel Wu

Rating: Three and a half stars

Ana Miller (Kristin Scott Thomas) insists that Lara Croft accept that her father Richard (Dominic West) – who has been missing for the past seven years – is dead. And so, Lara (Alicia Vikander) goes off to try to locate the lost tomb of Himiko, an ancient, powerful queen of Japan, in the hopes of finding, or at least discovering what happened to him, when he left years ago in search of the same tomb.

Early in the second half of the film, Lara has already jumped off a ship and swum to a shore while being flung against massive rocks, only to be taken captive.

But it goes on: She escapes, only to find herself plummeting into a raging river where she slams into logs and all sorts of river things. She manages to save herself by grabbing on to the rusty wing of a crashed plane.

Wait, there’s more. She’s thrown around when the plane breaks apart and gets slammed into trees. And on top of all of this, she still has to fend off an attacker.

The lead role shift from Angelina Jolie to Alicia Vikander is a smooth one. Vikander brings to the screen a realistic athleticism that breathes new life into the image of the female superhero.

In previous films, Jolie played the textbook Hollywood femme fatale in a patriarchal world. Tough girl scenes had to be interspersed with shots of nudity and a soapy body in a shower here and there. Objectification is one of the few ways to get men into the theatre to watch female lead action films. Vikander’s character is the opposite. She’s a street-smart, bicycle-riding, hoodie-wearing woman who is perfectly relatable. And maybe this is because, for a change, the screenwriter is a woman, Geneva Robertson-Dworet.

Robertson-Dworet notes that this movie is a testament to moving away from action women as objects of desire and towards these women just kicking ass.

However, in their haste to create a formidable female action/adventure lead, the creators easily settled for a role reversal: Lara Croft as a man, as a woman. The result is that the audience is left with a haphazardly written character who is slightly underdeveloped. No fault of Vikander’s portrayal, but rather a fault of writing. On a more positive note though, it does leave the viewer wanting more.

Read more on:    alicia vikander  |  tomb raider  |  movies

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