Oscar-winning actress Alicia Vikander this year went from the glamour of The Danish Girl and the sci-fi realm of Ex Machina to take on one of her biggest challenges ever: leading a movie adapted from a video game. It’s something that’s well known to have cursed filmmakers and stars for some time; creating a film from a wildly entertaining title on a games console, but Vikander signed on to tackle the character of Lara Croft in this year’s rebooted Tomb Raider.
We meet Lara as a defeated young adult, out of pocket despite the wealth waiting for her, and hung up on the mysterious disappearance of her father seven years ago. Unwilling to give up hope, and in doing so, never signing the documents that would allow her control of the Croft company, as well as the prestigious Croft Manor, she’s somebody who is struggling on many levels.
Floating through life without any true goals or ambitions, other than discovering more about her father and some of the secrets he may have kept, Lara’s journey quickly turns into an action-packed one as she seeks out the truth. Quickly displaying traits of the world’s most famous video game heroine, she becomes an indestructible force who can be beaten down time and again, but who will always get back up and fight.
When Lara is forced to make her first kill she seems a little broken, but what we must remember is that this is the building of the Tomb Raider; not a story ripped right from the middle of her adventuring. Still, the murder is something she quickly forgets, as a brush with her past snaps her out of her state and centres her mind, allowing her primary mission to take centre-stage once more.
As audiences follow Lara and a group of mostly unintelligent and one-dimensional men into the tomb they’ve all been searching for, those who have gotten behind the controller and taken charge of a Tomb Raider game in the past will pick up on the brilliance of what lays in wait. Traps and puzzles are reminiscent of what we’ve seen in animated form, and fans will be scrambling to try and solve them alongside their leading lady.
Vikander gives a brilliant performance throughout Tomb Raider, showcasing her acting talents and ability to resonate with those watching from the comfort of their homes. You feel every kick to the stomach and jump across impossible gaps as if you’re there and part of the chaos yourself, and it’s because of Vikander’s relatability and realism that this occurs.
Unfortunately, the characterisation that works so well for Lara doesn’t really extend to the rest of the cast. Dominic West does a fine job of playing her father Richard Croft, but Daniel Wu doesn’t get much to chew over in the role of Lu Ren. Walton Goggins is a great actor, but as the villainous Mathias Vogel, his performance falls flat on a number of occasions.
Still, this is a movie that relies heavily on its action sequences, and they are as stunning as they are thrilling. Whether they’re taking place in the middle of the ocean on the way to an island off of the Japanese coast, or are deep within the depths of a tomb that hasn’t seen entry for centuries, they capture the imaginations of everybody watching and ensure that they don’t leave much room for misinterpretation.
Though Tomb Raider didn’t do quite as well in the box office as those behind-the-scenes would have liked, it still made a modest profit. The way in which the movie ends suggests that there are a number of ideas for a sequel floating around, so I sincerely hope director Roar Uthaug, and writers Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Alastair Siddons get to collaborate once more on a follow-up.
Tomb Raider is available now on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Download now.