Most moviegoers are familiar with the Lara Croft/Tomb Raider films starring Angelina Jolie, but the new Tomb Raider, starring Oscar-winning Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft, is a fresh take that’s also sure to please audiences.
We realize soon after the film begins that it’s an origin story when we meet young Lara, who’s struggling to survive as a bike courier. She’s a fighter, in more ways than one. She trains at a boxing gym whose fees she can’t afford, which is ironic, because her father is successful and wealthy. Except that he’s been missing seven years and even though the head of his company is begging Lara to declare him dead, which would give her access to some cash, she’s reluctant to do it.
When Lara discovers one of his puzzles and unlocks it, she finds a clue as to where he might be. Ignoring his written instructions, the headstrong girl sets off to find him on a cursed island located off the coast of Japan.
Alicia Vikander puts everything she has into a role. Her Lara is not only as athletic and toned as any female could possibly be (indicating months of physical training for the role), but she plays Lara as a multi-dimensional person, with a wide range of emotions — including anger, frustration, grief, and hope. Lara is also emotionally strong — she’s not about to let anyone (or any group of bad guys) stop her in her mission. And thanks to that physical training, she’s up for the task.
In this day of the #metoo movement, it’s refreshing to see an active woman who isn’t dressed in a skimpy outfit in a film for no reason other than to attract male attention. She’s about to go to a dangerous island and although she’s not overdressed, she’s not wearing tighter-than-tight shorts, either. She’s dressed appropriately for the physical tasks she’s about to face.
Walton Goggins as Mathias Vogel is also a standout — he could have portrayed his character as a villain who’s evil just for the sake of it, but instead, Vogel is a three-dimensional family man who will do anything to get home. He’s gone a little bonkers from being on the island for more than seven years in pursuit of treasure on the orders of his boss, but really, he would just dearly love to go home to his wife and kids.
All in all, this is an adventure that will be enjoyed by a wide variety of moviegoers. Alicia Vikander, who is best known for her roles in period films, rocks this role. She embodies Lara Croft and makes her someone we can cheer for, while empathizing with her. Hopefully this is just the first of many Tomb Raider movies with her in the lead role. ~Alexandra Heilbron