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“Tomb Raider” Delivers Where Most Video Game Adaptations Fail

By Mason Masotta; For the Clock
On April 1, 2018

Lara Croft is one of the original female superheroes of gaming to explode into the mainstream. Since 1996, the English treasure hunter has been climbing through virtual caverns and lost temples armed with only her twin pistols and wits, cementing her place in gaming history. Successfully bringing an over two-decade-old legend to life on the big screen is no easy task, but the 2018 reboot, simply titled “Tomb Raider,” manages to succeed where many others have failed.

Following many of the same themes as the 2013 reboot game of the same name, “Tomb Raider” opens with a street savvy Lara Croft in search of her father, who has been missing for several years. Her search takes her to an uncharted island off the coast of Japan, where her father’s secret double life as a supernatural treasure hunter begins to unveil.

The first good sign of this film is in that description itself. It sounds particularly cartoonish because it’s a video game! Not shying away from its roots helps propel this film far ahead of franchise failures such as the “Assassins Creed” adaptation from 2016.

One of the greatest strengths that the film has going for it is in the lead actress of the film, Oscar-winning performer Alicia Vikander. In short: she’s great. In slightly longer: she’s really great. Playing a fictional icon is never a simple task. Luckily, from her very opening scene in an MMA gym, she sells the “never say die” attitude that Croft needs to have in order to succeed in the impossible scenarios she is tasked against.

Having gotten in incredible shape for the film, Vikander sells herself as the perfect hard-hitting protagonist that a future franchise can be built around, while also showing a sincere vulnerability when placed in life-threatening situations. 

Not all is perfect in the film, of course. Those looking for a deep and moving drama might be prompted to look elsewhere, but the simplicity and awesomeness of the film’s action and plot are part of its most helpful credits. Walton Goggins plays a predictably one-dimensional villain, Mathias Vogel, following the consistently tired plan of finding a weapon for an evil corporation to take over the world. Like I said, the plot sounds just like a video game. Vogel seems to enjoy chewing up the scenery and grinning creepily a bit too much, which threatened to take away from Vikander’s much stronger performance.

There are a few interesting twists placed throughout the film that actually did surprise me (particularly after Croft reaches the island), but nothing that places this film over the edge for its writing and story. To wrap things up, I would give this film a 7.5 out of 10. Fans of the game should make sure to check this one out, as well as fans of the action genre as a whole.

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