SHE'S A SURVIVOR, DON'T YOU KNOW?
Ever since we got our first, thoroughly unofficial, look at Alicia Vikander's Lara Croft last February, I've made no secret of my doubts about the premise of the film she'll lead. Not only is it claimed to be set in the same universe as the rebooted game series while featuring a significantly different backstory for Lara, but I find the addition of yet another canon to the Tomb Raider franchise to be questionable at best, and pointless at worst.
As I said way back when: 'Why not use the films to chart the further adventures of the existing Lara, to flesh out her character in ways that might not translate well to gameplay, further establishing a canon we're still only just getting to know?'
I stand by these sentiments, and reckon I'll continue to — but, in the interests of both sanity and giving that broken record of mine a break, I'm going to try to put them to the back of my mind, to judge Tomb Raider on what it is, rather than what I think it should be.
With that in mind…
TRAILER RAIDER II
I wasn't thrilled with the first trailer for the film. It didn't look particularly great, leaned too heavily on some age-old clichés for my liking, and did little to assuage some of my reservations about Lara's 'main' look. But it also packed some cool-looking action, an equally cool-looking puzzle box, and proved that those reservations of mine applied only to that 'main' look of Lara's. In other scenes — other outfits — Vikander looked totally credible as the character.
It wasn't, therefore, all bad.
By and large, that's pretty much how I feel about the second trailer, too.
There's still a bit too much cheese in there; I'm still not fond of the general 'look' of the film; and the fact that her father's disappearance is the catalyst for Lara's first adventure continues to niggle — not because parental issues have become a tired concept (though, in the context of Tomb Raider, they have), but because I'd much rather Lara's first steps towards becoming the 'tomb raider' stemmed from a passion for archaeology, a drive to find the truth behind ancient stories.
I remain deeply unenthused about Lara starting out — as per the film's official synopsis — as a bike courier, barely making her rent, and rarely making it to the classes of her various college courses. And there's also (though it's far from being anything more than a personal issue) a lethargic-sounding edge to some of her dialogue that strongly recalls Camilla Luddintgon's video game portrayal of the character — which, despite clear improvements in Rise of the Tomb Raider, I continue to find underwhelming.
Like I said, though: it's not all bad.
The action sequences continue to look promising (even if it's a bit too obvious that there's wirework behind some of the jumps); Vikander definitely proves to have brought a range beyond the above-mentioned lethargy to Lara, and looks to be quite the badass with that climbing axe; Walton Goggins's version of Mathias seems a good deal more compelling than the character's cartoonish namesake; the apparent slave labour adds an interesting element to what's going on on the island; and it's refreshing for the ever-villainous Trinity to be presented with a clear goal.
And everything else aside, this trailer automatically gets five stars for excluding that horrific little jerk of the head that's been so prevalent in the film's marketing, and that cuts a good few minutes off my lifespan every time I see it.
— John T. (@JHNMCHLTNR) 18 September 2017
Ultimately, though I'm still nowhere near as excited about the film as I'd like to be, Tomb Raider's second trailer did nothing to dissuade me from heading to the cinema in March.
I'll be there. I'll have my fingers firmly crossed. And I'll do my best to appreciate the film for what it is.