Published: Sat, March 17, 2018
Entertaiment | By Lawrence Myers

'Tomb Raider's Ending Opens Up a Feature Franchise Possibility

'Tomb Raider's Ending Opens Up a Feature Franchise Possibility

In its infancy, the medium didn't allow for much narrative, so you got a couple of lines in the manual or at the start screen to give you a so-called sense of objective.

What Vikander brings to the part is nearly negated by the film's unavoidable roots in video-game technology.

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Fresh out of the action factory though it may be, the new Tomb Raider is already ripe to be remade - as a better movie. But non-gamers might still have an outdated image of Lara Croft in their minds: A video game company's collective take on the ultimate sexy badass-so preposterously buxom that Angelina Jolie was asked to pad out her bust line before she could star in 2001's Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. I guess it's inevitable that the studio smelled the franchise bacon grilling. Lara becomes a vigilante with no real goal.

At the local police station, we learn the truth of Lara: This isn't some working class girl at all, this is someone who grew up wealthier than most could imagine and whose inheritance won't kick in until she signs some papers acknowledging that her father, who disappeared seven years ago, is dead. And the dramatic side of the story, in which Lara reunites with her long-missing father Richard (Dominic West), suffers in spite of the two performers' talent. One harrowing boat ride later and they've smashed into the island and found themselves in the possession of Vogel (Walton Goggins), a mercenary who is trying to get the mummified Himiko off the island.

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It wouldn't be an origin story without a hidden underground and unresolved daddy issues governing our protagonist's every decision. Although far from being a dark and gritty reboot in the traditional sense, this particular iteration of the character is surprisingly boring, taking a little bit of James Bond, Batman and Indiana Jones and wrapping it in Croft's trademark turquoise top.

When Lara inevitably escapes, Tomb Raider transitions into a video game-like series of zippy little missions. The movie ends with a goofy cliffhanger that sets up a whole slate of future adventures, and an even goofier stinger that will make longtime fans of the Tomb Raider franchise crack a smile. Lara does a bunch of puzzles, matching different-coloured stones, solving riddles and turning big stone wheels around to make patterns exactly like in the game. You can also follows us Instagram. She's lived the last few years making a living for herself without the family fortune-as a bike courier-and it's only through urging that she almost accepts her father's death. She's a commanding presence even within the limited scope of a movie where she's always falling off of things and hanging off other things. Jolie's Lara was perhaps having too much fun for much sense of urgency, but Vikander's Lara isn't really having fun at all, which makes it hard for the audience to have much fun either.

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Likewise does Harrison Ford in the Indiana Jones movies - not only the granddaddy of all movies of this type, but apparently the original inspiration for Lara Croft (first conceived as a male character with a whip and hat). This Tomb Raider takes itself very seriously, and although a very serious actress does a commendable job in a passably serious role, none of it ever adds up to much. I'm not saying I want another undead queen of evil rising from her ancient tomb, but what alternative would be better? It would be nice to have a blockbuster series that doesn't rely nearly entirely on explosions and swirly CGI baddies rising from crypts, but this first try is nearly spectacularly uninspired. It releases March 16, 2018.

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