Tomb Raider: A Lesson On Girl Power & Feminism
Taking lessons from Lara Croft
When it was announced that Alicia Vikander was going to take the reins of Tomb Raider from Angelina Jolie, the franchise-loving public was split into two. There were those that loved the idea and there were those that couldn’t have been less pleased. But now that the movie is out, we can say one thing for sure: Alicia killed it and is giving a sense of strength to Lara Croft that was arguably absent in previous chapters.
This 2018 origin story of the iconic Lara Croft begins with her hoping to solve the mystery of her father’s disappearance. She starts where his last destination was, a fabled tomb on a mythical island. But the stakes start to heighten and Lara needs to use everything—her wits, her intelligence, her stubborn nature—in her venture into the unknown.
The story itself may not be the most creative and doing an origin story and a remake in one is not the most novel idea, but this Roar Uthaug film does have its good points.
This version of Lara Croft is not perfect, she is not the best in everything and this is established from the very first scene we see of her. She has her fists up against a female boxer and Lara is left bruised and battered, completely losing the fight. We see from the get-go that Alicia’s version of the beloved character is not untouchable; she gets her hands dirty, is athletic and doesn’t have the body of a swimsuit model in a cropped top that cuts a little too low for comfort.
And when Lara finds herself in the uninhabited island off the coast of Japan, we get another dose of female power. The tomb she enters belongs to an ancient empress who history demonized over the years. It shows another side to a woman, albeit a wicked one.
Tomb Raider also doesn’t have a romantic angle and doesn’t rely on these types of heartstrings. In this chapter, Lara doesn’t depend on the men around her to survive. She is her own person and the men that surround her can be described as liabilities. It’s no one else’s strength that gets her through. It’s her power that shines through—and it isn’t glazed by an emotional pull to anyone else.
That said, Tomb Raider is definitely not without its shortcomings. The screenplay itself is not the most impressive, the supporting characters could have done with more development and typical father-daughter relationship could have been better told.
Nevertheless, Alicia Vikander shines in Tomb Raider. And seeing her take on Lara Croft is alone worth buying a ticket for.