Twenty years ago, when the PlayStation was in its infancy, amidst all the choppy graphics and hexagon shaped humanoids, a legend was born. Standing out from the rest of the boy’s club of video game protagonists, there is no greater gaming heroine than Lara Croft (with all due respect to Samus and Chun-Lee).
Back in 2003, Angelina Jolie took on the role of Lady Croft, and even got a sequel out of it, a rarity with video game movies. In 2013, Square Enix studios rebooted the Tomb Raider franchise to what it is today, and this reboot served as the primary inspiration for this retelling of Lara’s adventures.
Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander) is the daughter of Lord Richard Croft, whom disappeared seven years prior. Lara can’t –and won’t – inherit her father’s company until she signs his official death cert and Lara needs closure, wanting to know what happened to her father. When she concedes to sign the papers, her family lawyer presents her with a puzzle box Richard left her. Lara quickly unlocks it and the clue within leads her to a hidden room in the Croft mausoleum. (A hidden room, on the grounds of her family estate? Lara Croft… is Batman!)
Discovering a secret room filled with artifacts and a message left by her father warning about a secret organisation called Trinity in search of the tomb of a Japanese empress Himiko. Lara heads to Hong Kong, tracking down a boat captain Le Ren (Daniel Wu), whose father also disappeared alongside Lara’s in the Devil’s Triangle, searching for the island of Yamatai. With some coaxing, Ren agrees to take Lara to Yamatai, but the storm smashes the ship and the two are stranded on the island. (Wilson!)
Waking up Lara finds herself captured by Trinity, led by a man named Mathias Vogel (Walton Goggins). Trinity has been searching for Himiko’s tomb with slave labour in hopes of discovering the source of Himiko’s legendary magic, with the aim of unleashing it upon the world.
With no other option, Lara escapes and prepares to go on the offensive to stop Trinity. Suffice to say, the girl can take a hit, getting washed downstream, falling out of an old cargo plane and parachuting through a forest and getting impaled by a sharp tree branch, and still being able to overpower a Trinity soldier in close quarters combat. Although Lara’s first blood took a toll psychologically, she’s resolved to stop Trinity.
Alicia Vikander does Lara’s character justice here showing her resolve and capabilities while also allowing her to be vulnerable. Ultimately whatever incarnation, Lara Croft is- and remains- an undeniable badass.
My name is Lara Croft… after a few days on an island; I return home with a new mission, I must become someone else… I must become something else.
(Alicia Vikander is married to Michael Fassbender, so maybe my Tomb Raider and Assassin’s Creed crossover isn’t so far-fetched after all…)