When the Tomb Raider gaming series was rebooted in 2013, it immediately seemed like Square Enix was onto something. This was the epitome of a classic game series ideally suited to a modern reboot; the action and beauty of the franchise was always destined for what current-gen consoles are capable of.
Inevitably (and luckily for fans), the game led to a sequel in the form of 2015’s Rise Of The Tomb Raider, which was nominated for multiple game of the year awards. There was also a mobile spinoff called Lara Croft GO, which is one of several similarly styled apps that Square Enix has designed and is effectively a puzzle game based on the Tomb Raider series. But even more exciting is the fact that 2013’s Tomb Raider appears to have laid the foundation for a film reboot as well.
Alicia Vikander, of Ex Machina, The Danish Girl, and Jason Bourne, has been confirmed as the new Lara Croft, and release is scheduled for 2018. So here’s a bit about what we should expect from the forthcoming action/adventure flick.
For starters, we should to expect a more European twist on things. Vikander herself is Swedish, and director Roar Uthaug is Norwegian. On this site, one of the first to have much actual information about the project, Uthaug was quoted as saying he’d like to bring his Norwegian sensibilities to the franchise. There’s no telling exactly what that means, but we can infer a general tone and a slant toward dark and gritty mystery as opposed to over-the-top action thrills. This will be more The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo than The Da Vinci Code.
Speaking of that grittiness that we might sometimes associate with films of with more European influence, Uthaug also discussed the idea of making Lara Croft come across as a “real” human, as opposed to the pseudo-superhero she used to be. The ’90s action environment Angelina Jolie’s Croft thrived in was built on characters like Neo from The Matrix and Pierce Brosnan’s Bond. But now, audiences appear more inclined to embrace relatable, flawed characters. So, just as Square Enix has done with the recent games, we should expect the studios to deliver a character that feels more human.
What will be interesting is to see how Croft’s wealth is handled in this context. It’s not always something that comes to mind first when you think of Croft, but she’s actually among the richest fictional characters of all time. That’s at least according to this platform, which occasionally facilitates fun conversations about lucrative wealth. Their write-up of the riches of fictional characters included Croft as the 12th wealthiest figure (one spot ahead of Mr. Monopoly!). But might a new film downplay this part of Croft’s persona in the interest of humanizing her? In this regard, Christopher Nolan’s Bruce Wayne is a nice model for the studios to follow. He was deeply flawed and extraordinarily human for a superhero, but still surrounded by the wealth of his family. (Incidentally, Wayne ranks sixth on the fictional riches list.)
In a more general sense, what we should expect from 2018’s Tomb Raider is an adventure film a little bit unlike anything we’ve seen. That may sound like a lofty expectation, but the ingredients are all there for this to be a special, or at least unique, film. Vikander is one of Hollywood’s true rising stars, the material has a huge built-in fan base, there’s plenty of reason for spectacular visuals, and the European influence should save the project from some of Hollywood’s aggravating repetition in the action genre. It’s certainly a film to keep an eye on.