Tomb Raider - Wonder Woman meets the Raiders of the Lost Ark
It has been fifteen years since Lara Croft, the titular Tomb Raider last appeared on our screens. A lot has changed since then. We have had the #MeToo movement. More importantly we have had Wonder Woman.
Patty Jenkins film of the single, strong, determined, solo female hero changed everything. Apart from it's record-breaking run at the box-office, it also showed that a film with a female hero could be successful. This reboot of Tomb Raider redefines the role made famous by Angelina Jolie, dialling down the sexyiness and silly camp elements that even Roger Moore's Bond would have winced at.
Instead we get a Tomb Raider, this time played with true grit by Alicia Vikander, that owes a debt to the Amazonian Warrior herself and an even bigger debt to Indiana Jones.
The plot is standard fair. Lara's father leaves her as a young teenager to go off on a mission from which he doesn not return and is presumed dead. Lara grows up, fiercely independent, refusing to believe her father is dead and eschewing his estate, his wealth and the family business. By day she is a bicycle courier in London, training in a gym and trying to make her rent money. Circumstances drag her back into the family business where through her father's will, she discovers what he has been doing with his life. She decides to go look for him and embarks on a mission of danger, baddies, evil empresses and more importantly for any potential sequel, evil corporations. There are stunts galore and traps sprung from which Lara must use her wit to escape and save the day.
When I first heard Alicia Vikander had been cast as Lara Croft, I thought it a mis-casting. I could not have been more wrong. She fully inhabits the role and brings an energy, indeed, a level of belief to the role that makes Lara Croft a more believable character. Full marks to her for what was clearly a very physically demanding role.
Dominic West, Daniel Wu, Kristin Scott-Thomas and Walter Goggins provide strong support and elevate this beyond the sum of its parts.
Norwegian director Roar Uthaug keeps a tight rein on proceedings and sets us up nicely for sequel. I for one would welcome that. I'm keen to see where Vikander and Uthaug take Lara Croft.
Get yourself a big bucket of popcorn, a comfy seat, check your brain and teh door and enjoy!