The origin story for the new Lara Croft is about the legend of Himiko. Historians say Himiko was the first ever queen of Japan, and ruled over her people with her sinister sorcery, and, like Juliette from the Shatter Me series, able to kill with a single touch. She’s now entombed, and scientist Richard Croft suspects he’s back on her trail, but so are the diabolical people who want to benefit. For the last six years, Richard’s been missing and his daughter Lara has been trying to pay rent in various ways, whether it’s an odd job or a bike race bet. Then one day she inherits her presumed dead father’s inheritance, which leads her back on his trail and out halfway across the world to Japan. To a Japan that’s not all skyscrapers and soy sauce.
Might as well get the negatives out of the way. The story is pretty conventional and other than Lara and the helper she hires, the characters are supremely unmemorable. I also felt it took a little while for Lara to build up into the capable badass we know of, a tired trope in superhero origin stories, with some clear bad aim of the antagonists visible. But this is the first time in maybe ever where I’ve seen such a spectacular plane crash scene or such an intricate one-shot stealth scene that feels like the best, most intense video game in the world. While Lara was exploring the territory, and either chasing or being chased, usually the latter, I wanted to feel the adrenaline rush of being right beside her, and fortunately, the movie managed to be enough on that note.
I was surprised by the twist they throw in at the end and loved these inventive trap scenes where there were a dozen ways each of them could’ve been cheaper and shoddy. There are loads of spikes, cave-ins, crevaces, patterns, and that’s only near the end. When Lara is chasing these thieves, she uses unique ways to try to sneak closer to them, and it’s fun trying to quiz yourself on how she’ll manage it. I think my favourite scene was a getaway that Lara makes with some teamwork that’s really intricate.
Here’s the rundown. My favourite kinds of videogames are ones that stretch what your character can do with you at the controls while still retaining some realism. I also like videogames with stories that keep you caring about the characters and what’s supposed to happen at the end. And even if some elements in the story are predictable because it follows these formulas as a movie...hey, at least it follows these formulas as a movie! Tomb Raider is one of the most fun and fast-paced movies of the year!