Last weekend I went to go see the new Tomb Raider movie. While I won’t say the movie is in the running for any Oscars, I certainly enjoyed it, and came away with one very strong feeling:
The new Lara Croft is awesome.
A brief disclaimer: The long history of the franchise makes the subject of Lara Croft a complicated one. I want to acknowledge that. One could easily write a book about what Lara Croft, her videogames, movies, and reboots have meant to gaming and media in general. That’s far beyond what I’m thinking about. This focuses entirely on the new movie.
In the movie we are presented with a new vision of Lara, based heavily on the rebooted franchise. While the videogame starts with a shipwreck, the movie is content to give us some backstory first. Lara chooses to live a life of poverty rather than sign the papers acknowledging the death of her father. She trains as a fighter but gets beat even by the local fighters.
This is a Lara with grit, a Lara who needs to pawn off some of her final possessions just to get the movie started.
Without going into spoilers, this is a movie that’s rough on Lara, both physically and mentally. She takes hard falls and injuries and is forced to take life to protect her own. Her beliefs and worldviews are tested.
What was particularly compelling for me was that Lara doesn’t fight through this movie with high-tech gadgets, amazing resources, or impeccable aim (although she is unnaturally good with a bow. I think she watched some Lars Anderson videos). She fights through situations with sheer toughness and intelligence.
In short, this is an adventure that I’d hold up right next to Wonder Woman. The movie certainly has many flaws. There are even some challenges in character development, but still, this new Lara Croft feels very much like a worthy hero in my mind.