UHCL The Signal
The official student newspaper of the University of Houston-Clear Lake

REVIEW: ‘Tomb Raider’ proves that women do rule the world

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“Tomb Raider” is the newest action movie to hit theaters. The movie was released March 16 and made $23.6 million its opening week. The film is based on the 2013 video game series of the same name. Alicia Vikander plays heroine Lara Croft whose sole mission is to find Himiko’s tomb – the resting place of the mythical Queen of Yamatai who was said to command the power over life and death.

“Tomb Raider” starts off with Croft struggling to make ends meet as she is unwilling to accept that her father, Richard Croft, is presumed dead. She would rather live in poverty working as a bicycle carrier than sign papers accepting her inheritance. One day she finds herself in legal problems when her father’s business partner informs her that if she does not sign the inheritance paperwork all her father’s assets will be sold. Right before she is about to sign the forms, Richard’s lawyer gives her a Japanese lock that shows her the clues she needs to find her father. The clues lead her on a mission to find Himiko’s tomb, whose location Richard was seeking before he disappeared. That is where her dangerous adventure begins.

Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft in 2018 "Tomb Raider." Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.
Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft in 2018 “Tomb Raider.” Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.

The movie had an interesting storyline and shared Croft’s origins. Unlike most female-led action movies, it does not include a romantic subplot. The lack of a love interest is a refreshing change. There is usually a supporting male actor who falls in love with the heroine and she eventually reciprocates the feelings. If that is the kind of movie you are after, then do not watch this movie.

Overall “Tomb Raider” was engaging and definitely merits a sequel. The movie deserves a B+ for the action scenes and the riveting storyline. The movie does not deserve an A because it needed more dialogue. It is difficult for those people who have not played the game to understand the purpose of every character.

One flaw in the story is that Croft becomes involved in too many dangerous situations that she continues to get out of in unrealistic ways. It would have been better to cut out a few of those scenes and add dialogue to explain the militant organization, Trinity, besides just saying that they want world domination. The movie teased that there would be a second “Tomb Raider,” and in the next installment, they will more than likely address this issue.

One thing the director Roar Uthaug needs to be applauded for is how he masterfully put together an action movie that was not feminized just because the protagonist was a woman. Vikander was able to portray a strong, brave and resilient character who would not be classified as a sex symbol but rather as an action star.

The movie is a large departure from the video game and its 2001 predecessor starring Angelina Jolie. In the 2001 “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider,” the official movie poster was a picture of Jolie in a muscle shirt and short shorts looking seductive. The new version has Vikander covered in dirt, wounded and sporting a tough look on her face.

The #MeToo/gender equality movements are definitely having a positive effect in changing the movie industry. Women are proving that they are capable of filling a movie theater without having to sexualize their bodies in front of the camera. “Tomb Raider” made $23.5 million its opening week. Audience members will be surprised, interested and on the edge of their seats when they discover what Himiko’s power is.