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22 April 2018 @ 04:19 pm
Film Review: Tomb Raider  
I'm a little late since I just watched this, probably right before it is taken out of theaters entirely to make way for other movies premiering, but better late than never and I really wanted to catch this one in the actual theaters instead of waiting for the DVD to come out, and I was not disappointed in the experience.



(♡ ♡ ♡)


As someone who is a massive fan of the Tomb Raider series in all forms (the video games, the movies, and even comic books) I knew immediately that I was going to love this film no matter what, because Lara Croft is honestly the best action-adventure heroine that transcends all mediums and has been a huge part of my life since I was a kid. So I knew that, for better or worse, I was going to watch and support this movie. And of course I came out of the theater absolutely loving it.

This film is based on the 2013 reboot of the video game franchise, showing some similarities and paying homages to the entire franchise through many scenes, but it is in itself its own origin story of Lara Croft, so it's not a complete retelling of the video game but more taking certain aspects of it and remaining truthful to that origin story while still doing its own thing. Her journey in this film is about self-discovery and about moving forward, since we see her refusing to sign papers to inherit the Croft mansion and legacy because it would mean that her father, who was last seen seven years ago, was actually dead, something she didn't want to believe. But following the clues and puzzles left behind by him, she discovers there is more to his work, and more to what their family has been tied into, than she originally thought and decides to find out for herself what really happened to him by following in his footsteps. This is where her journey begins.

What I loved about this film was how it truly was an origin story of showing us how Lara Croft ends up becoming who she will eventually become. We see the family legacy, we see her motivation of wanting to find her father, of uncovering the truth, and we see that she is truly a survivor and headstrong and unrelenting to anyone.

Alicia Vikander's performance was phenomenal. She provided a lot of things to make her feel very human despite the extraordinary and impossible circumstances she was under. We are shown that Lara is strong and capable along with being vulnerable. She isn't invincible, she isn't immune to being seriously injured, and we see her getting beaten up and bruised many times throughout this film. Yet she prevails, because she is a Croft and that is how she was brought up to be, that is in her blood. She doesn't give up, she doesn't surrender. She finds alternatives, she finds a way around a problem, she thinks quickly. From the very start we see how she has a knack for being an adrenaline junkie, living for the adventure, and for solving puzzles, something she does naturally, and I love how it all comes back around for when she is actually going on a dangerous adventure and bringing those skills that we saw earlier in the film into use for life or death situations.

Something that really pleasantly surprised me about this film was that, aside from it being centered around Lara's self-discovery and understanding the path in life she ends up choosing for herself, it was also a father-daughter film. I didn't expect Lara's father to actually be alive, only to be featured in flashbacks. So when she finds him alive on the island and they actually solve puzzles in the last act together, being a father-daughter team, it was so great. Granted, I knew he wasn't going to survive to the end, since it would've defeated the purpose of Lara moving onward with her journey, but when that time came I actually didn't want him to die. I wanted Lara to save him and return them all home and make up for lost time. That's how their relationship affected me. To the point where I just want all the fix-it AUs, where her father doesn't get infected by the deadly disease and she saves him and they get off the island and return home and she still is able to do her adventuring and go on this path, because damn, did all of that hit me right in the feels.

Other notable moments in the film:

** Daniel Wu was amazing in this film as Lu Ren, though I do wish there was more of him featured in it. I'm happy he didn't die, because that was my worst fear that the movie would kill off Asian characters, but thankfully it didn't and even featured a lot of them. Should this become a movie franchise (please, please, please do!) I want him to reprise this role because I liked chemistry and bond built between Lu and Lara, and a part of me kinda wants to see them get together sometime in the future. I'm glad nothing romantic happened in this movie because it wasn't about that, but I can see there being a slow-burn from a friendship to a possible relationship which is what I live for, so y'know. Now that Lara has someone she can call an adventuring partner considering what they both went through and they survived, I can see this possibly going somewhere.

** Speaking of, I liked that Lara did have the affections of two Asian men in this film, the East Asian young lad in the beginning of the film and Lu Ren.

** The beginning of the film reminded me a lot of Dark Angel, with Lara riding around on her bike in the neighborhood she lived in similar to Max riding her bike around Seattle, and sharing the jobs of being a courier as their main source of income, of course.

** While completely different from the game, I liked that with the Himiko plot didn't revolve around something supernatural but instead had the mythology be grounded in reality. Because that's how things often are, stories that feature magic from thousands of years ago often are things that can be logically explained with today's knowledge and understanding. Himiko wasn't some witch who could curse others to death with the touch of her hand, but was a carrier of a deadly disease who accidentally infected others when they touched her. But of course, this wasn't known then so they believed it to be evil magic and therefore, believing that she was cursed, Himiko sacrificed herself so nobody else could get hurt. I thought that was very well done.

** Seeing Lara's vulnerability is something I will never get over, because she is a survivor and she is strong and able to take care of herself, but she is still human, and seeing her witnessing the horrific things while on that island, from watching someone getting killed right in front of her in cold blood to actually having to kill someone in self-defense for the first time, it was really effective. I love how Alicia really showed her humanity in these moments, how Lara was afraid and uncertain how to proceed yet remained resilient at the same time. It is possible to have your heroines be vulnerable while still being badass, which many filmmakers and writers tend to not always get. And this is an origin story, where Lara isn't used to doing these things on the regular, so it was very believable that while she was taught and has trained most of her life she was never placed in a position where using those skills and techniques were necessary for her survival until now, and it shows and we see her growing stronger and more confident by the third act in the film.

** Just all the stunts and fighting sequences, and knowing that Alicia Vikander trained so hard to get into physical shape to be able to do most of them is remarkable to me. The fact that she got a lot of early hate because people thought she was too "thin and petite" to actually be an action star is astounding to me, well, y'all have been proven super wrong because she killed it in this film.


Overall: I loved this film. Absolutely, wholeheartedly loved and adored it. I knew I would, though, because it's Tomb Raider and Lara Croft is my girl. I'm so happy that they did her character justice, her origin story is beautifully tragic and amazing and I honestly, truly want this to become a movie franchise. I want, like, five or six films with Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft and continuing her journey because they did leave it on a nice sequel hook, with Trinity and the connection of everything with her family name, and I just want to see more of her (and Lu Ren) going on adventures trying to figure shit out. I just want more. Please, make this a continuing franchise, I want and need it with ever fiber of my being. Alicia was phenomenal in this role and I want to see more of her.

Also, as a sidenote, I wish people would stop making comparisons and trying to pit Angelina Jolie and Alicia Vikander against one another for who was better. They have both played Lara Croft in their respective roles, and they both did an incredible job. There should be no competition between them whatsoever. You can have you preferred version, but there is room for any and all versions of Lara Croft, and I loved both these women and what they did with their roles.


Along these lines, last month also gave us a teaser for the next upcoming Tomb Raider game, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, which will be released later this year. I still have to get my hands on Rise of the Tomb Raider and finish the first game, but nevertheless I'm excited.
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night_owl_9: Vanessa Ives - dreadednight_owl_9 on April 23rd, 2018 04:19 am (UTC)
I'm so glad you enjoyed the movie :) Makes me want to check it out.

Also, as a sidenote, I wish people would stop making comparisons and trying to pit Angelina Jolie and Alicia Vikander against one another for who was better. They have both played Lara Croft in their respective roles, and they both did an incredible job. There should be no competition between them whatsoever. You can have you preferred version, but there is room for any and all versions of Lara Croft, and I loved both these women and what they did with their roles. - THIS.
Profiterole_profiterole_ on April 23rd, 2018 12:53 pm (UTC)
Now that you mention the Dark Angel vibe of some scenes, I see it. :-)
Renée: Dark Angel. Max Guevara.rogueslayer452 on April 23rd, 2018 06:43 pm (UTC)
I was so taken aback, but in a good way, with how there were so many Max vibes I got from Lara in the beginning. It made me really love it from the very start. :D

It just sort of makes me want a kind of story about her time away from her family home and living this particular lifestyle. I liked that we got a sense of her life before going off on her adventure which felt very lived in and of the moment, living day to day trying to make money for herself that wasn't part of any inheritance.
Profiterole: X-Men - Xavier and Magneto_profiterole_ on April 23rd, 2018 06:57 pm (UTC)
Maybe they could explore this period in tie-in media. I think it would work.
Renéerogueslayer452 on April 24th, 2018 06:21 am (UTC)
Perhaps, I would totally be down for not only a novelization of the movie but also perhaps a series of books and/or graphic novels exploring things prior to the events of the movie itself.
Nathaniel Wolfthornganimede on April 23rd, 2018 07:16 pm (UTC)
I was really looking forward to the film but when it was released here, the cinema said it had strobe in it so I had to give it a miss. Very disappointing! I'll have to wait until it comes onto TV and see it that way.
Renéerogueslayer452 on April 24th, 2018 03:31 am (UTC)
Awww, thank sucks. :( I do hope you get to see it eventually though, because it's really good. At least, in my opinion anyway. It did exactly what I hoped it did, which was do justice to Lara's character and Alicia really is fantastic in the role.
Nathaniel Wolfthorn: gamingganimede on April 26th, 2018 08:33 pm (UTC)
I was very annoyed! The trailer looked great, and pretty much spot on to the game too so I was really looking forward to it. Tomb Raider was one of the first games that I really got into so it's always been a favourite of mine. It did take me a while to get used to the rebooted version, mainly because Lara looks so young!, but I think Alicia was a good fit judging by what I saw in the trailer.
Renéerogueslayer452 on April 28th, 2018 06:41 pm (UTC)
It did take me a while to get used to the rebooted version, mainly because Lara looks so young!

Considering that it's an origin story to who Lara becomes later on, it would make sense that she would be younger, not to mention inexperienced from who she becomes later on. It was a brilliant move to reboot the franchise in this way, not only to rejuvenate the video games once again but also because we get to see how Lara becomes the seasoned tomb raider we know and love her to be. I love the games, and I love how Alicia fits that Lara so perfectly in the film. And once you finally see the movie for yourself, you'll agree too. :)
Ery-chan: pic#105558586erychan86 on April 24th, 2018 12:57 am (UTC)
Not reading because I still need to watch it but I remember as a teen playing a Tomb Rider’s game on my computer and I was obsessed with it...
Renéerogueslayer452 on April 24th, 2018 03:23 am (UTC)
For me it was in elementary school when one of my best friends introduced me to the game, I believe it was Tomb Raider II. I didn't really play the game proper though, since I spent most of the time exploring the tutorial of the game inside Croft Manor and locking the butler in the freezer, lol.

But basically, Lara Croft/the Tomb Raider franchise has followed me all my life since.
~*Suzy Q*~blakmagjick on April 24th, 2018 09:24 pm (UTC)
I really wanted to see this, but never got around to it. Hopefully I'll be able to see it once it's on DVD.
Renéerogueslayer452 on April 25th, 2018 05:41 am (UTC)
It's really very good and I think you'll like it. Then again, I'm biased because I will consume anything that features Lara Croft, but the movie really did her character justice which was my only concern. It was a very solid start to what I hope becomes a movie franchise of its own. :)
Galadriel.: Tomb Raider ✽ Archery is coolsixphanel on April 25th, 2018 05:28 pm (UTC)
AHHHH! Isn't it amazing? I loved the movie (so much I went to watch it four times! lol) Alicia Vikander IS Lara Croft (reboot Lara at least) and like you mention, she was able to make her feel human and vulnerable. As a kid, I only got to play one of the video games in our old pc, but I've been addicted to the reboot, and woah, she's perfect in the role. Like, all the training really paid off, and I'm so happy she was so dedicated to it! I seriously got a big crush on her thanks to this movie, yup. Yup!

I was looking forward (if you can call it that) to the scene where she kills for the first time. It's one of my favourite in the video games, because you see such an honest reaction, she was almost having a panic attack. And Alicia's reaction didn't disappoint.
Also, how she grows, how she learns... not being able to win against the girl in the beginning to learning against Mathias <3

And people complaining about how it's more of the same... well, I don't see you asking Mission Impossible movies to reinvent themselves. They're action and adventure movies, and they work perfectly fine! I really hope we can get a sequel, I think it could be amazing! And it hasn't done badly worldwide!

I wish people would stop making comparisons and trying to pit Angelina Jolie and Alicia Vikander against one another for who was better

A couple of my friends refused to watch the movie because "Lara Croft is Angelina Jolie and Alicia Vikander sucks", not even giving her a chance. Why can't it be both!? It's awesome that we got Angelina Jolie's movies, but it's great to get a reboot like this! Le sigh. When it's out in bluray, I'll invite them over and make them watch it XD
Renée: Echo. Badass.rogueslayer452 on April 26th, 2018 04:18 am (UTC)
Like, all the training really paid off, and I'm so happy she was so dedicated to it! I seriously got a big crush on her thanks to this movie, yup. Yup!

I love watching the clips and footage of her training, which is pretty hardcore. After watching the movie I wanted so badly to be able to do the stuff that she was able to do, which often happens whenever I watch a movie with a woman who is able to kick ass like that. I was super impressed with Alicia, but then again I knew she would do an amazing job because I've loved her in other stuff (The Man From UNCLE, Ex Machina). And she was absolutely perfect as Lara.

And people complaining about how it's more of the same... well, I don't see you asking Mission Impossible movies to reinvent themselves. They're action and adventure movies, and they work perfectly fine!

Exactly. There's always this gross double standard when it comes to action movies that feature men versus action movies that have women as main characters, that somehow women in action-adventure movies aren't interesting and unoriginal, and honestly I'm just so sick of it. I sincerely hope that Tomb Raider gets its own movie franchise because I want to see it and Alicia to succeed, similar to how the Resident Evil movie franchise was for Milla Jovovich.

A couple of my friends refused to watch the movie because "Lara Croft is Angelina Jolie and Alicia Vikander sucks", not even giving her a chance. Why can't it be both!?

I feel like people who have said this probably aren't that familiar with the video games (they know of them but never played them, or never followed the games throughout the years) and have only watched Angelina Jolie's version of Lara Croft. Which is fine, if that was their introduction to the character, we all have our preferences and biases and such which I understand. However, when it comes to the Tomb Raider franchise, it's much more complicated than the whole THERE IS ONLY ONE! claim because, there isn't. Even in the video games, her character has been redesigned and improved multiple times and has had different voice actors portraying her over the years, the game even got itself rebooted where it is basically a reconstruction of her origins. That is no different when it comes to film adaptations.

Also, Angelina's Lara was inspired by the 90s version of Tomb Raider, whereas Alicia's version is clearly based off of the 2013 reboot of the game. Same character, just different versions. There is room for loving and appreciating all versions of Lara Croft, and should be no competition whatsoever between them.

I hope you're able to convince your friends that, even if they prefer Angelina's version, that Alicia is pretty damn amazing in this film and does a fantastic job.
haebin: star princesshaebin on April 29th, 2018 11:49 am (UTC)
I totally enjoyed your review! ♥
Renée: Inara Serra. Smile.rogueslayer452 on May 2nd, 2018 11:08 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :D
Driver Picks the Musicbatmarg on May 2nd, 2018 09:14 pm (UTC)
Not reading the review since I haven't seen it. Just curious? Did you think it was better than the Jolie movies, not as good, or about the same?
Renéerogueslayer452 on May 2nd, 2018 11:06 pm (UTC)
As I wrote in the post, I personally don't think it's fair to make any kind of comparison between the films or the performances of the actresses, since they're both good in different ways.

The 2001 and 2003 Tomb Raider films were based off of the 90s version of Lara Croft, though they didn't necessarily follow any kind of plot or storyline related to the games themselves, they just did their own thing, and I loved them nonetheless. Alicia Vikander's Tomb Raider is based off of 2013 reboot of the games, and although it did alter a bit of the plot in order to do its own thing it still followed the core of what the reboot is about, which was telling the origin story of how Lara will eventually become the tomb raider she is meant to be. Both versions, while having two different stories and different tones to them, did precisely what they set out to do: create an entertaining story on the screen with an iconic action heroine, and they both succeeded.

So, again, you cannot compare the two since neither are better or worse than the other. They achieved the same goal and I absolutely love and adore both versions. Angelina did a fantastic job, as did Alicia. They both played Lara Croft well, and that is all I want. I am here for all versions of Lara Croft as long as they do justice with her character. Furthermore, I really want Alicia Vikander's Tomb Raider to have a franchise of its own because I enjoyed the film immensely and it deserves more than just a singular film. It might not follow exactly the same plot as the reboot games, but knowing the easter eggs they planted for a possible sequel hook I know they can make it work.