Film review: Tomb Raider

It may not be the female action-hero film you’ve been hanging out for, but a new movie starring Alicia Vikander breathes new life into the relic-hunting character Lara Croft.

Review: Emma Rawson

A remake of Tomb Raider hits cinemas this week, 17 years after the action film Lara Croft: Tomb Raider made Angelina Jolie a household name and 22 years after the original video game.

The 1996 game about an English archaeologist was groundbreaking in its time for its use of a female lead character. Acrobatic gun-toting Lara Croft held her ground amongst the other ‘90s male shoot ‘em ups and platform games (although she did lose points in the female role-model department for her highly-sexualized triangular-breasted animation).

Tomb Raider

Academy Award-winner Alicia Vikander plays Lara Croft.

So how does this new iteration, starring Academy Award-winning Swedish actress Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl, The Light Between Oceans) stand up? Well, pretty well. Vikander’s Croft is a streetwise bike courier, who refuses to accept her inheritance following her millionaire father’s mysterious disappearance seven years earlier.

An action-packed scene in Tomb Raider.

When Lara discovers her father’s secret workroom, she follows his last-known tracks to a remote Japanese island, where he was searching for the tomb of an ancient queen called Himiko.

On the island, Lara is captured by crazed researcher Mathias Vogel (played by a googly-eyed Walton Goggins), and she must not only save herself but the world from what’s inside Himiko’s tomb.

Alicia Vikander trained for three months before shooting Tomb Raider.


Although it’s all a bit silly, Vikander gives a great performance as she jumps from crumbling ruins and dodges bullets. She also manages to flesh out the character’s backstory in a way that Jolie never accomplished.

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In the female action-hero stakes, it doesn’t measure up to 2017’s Wonder Woman (this film barely passes the Bechdel test, which requires two female characters to talk to each other about something other than a man). But it is good fun.

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