Since we’re all friends here, I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I unabashedly love the 2000s’ Tomb Raider movies. They are my comfort movies, because they are campy and silly and fun, and Angelina Jolie kicks so much insane butt. But no, even though I’ve seen both — 2001’s Tomb Raider and its 2003 sequel Cradle of Life — probably like, 200 times (please do not judge me), I can’t exactly call them grounded movies. Because they’re bonkers.
The character Lara Croft isn’t necessarily outlandish, and while she’s not necessarily a female action hero character in the ’90s Tomb Raider video games, she’s exactly that in the original movies. Jolie’s performance is anything but down-to-Earth and relatable, and no, I can’t really see myself in her shoes whatsoever. But brand new Lara Croft? The one now played by Alicia Vikander in the movie also titled, Tomb Raider? Yes, she makes sense, she’s not an exaggeration of a female badass fighter, right down to the fact that at the beginning of the movie she is barely able to pay rent.
We’re now in the middle of Tomb Raider’s origin story, and while the Jolie movies aren’t being erased from the slate, we’re going back to the beginning with Lara Croft. The new movie’s mission is this: actually make Lara Croft real and relatable.
“[The] character that Angelina Jolie plays is obviously totally kickass and awesome, but she is so perfect and she’s just incredibly good at what she does and she feels like she knows who she is,” Tomb Raider’s screenwriter, Geneva Robertson-Dworet, explained to HelloGiggles over the phone. “We wanted to focus on Lara’s inward journey as much as her outward journey, and make her feel more relatable and basically dramatize the question of, ‘How do you become that character that we know from the Angelina Jolie movies? How do you start as a normal person and become kickass like that?’”
To figure that out, Robertson-Dworet simply looked at the struggles everyone has growing up — whether you grow up to become a tomb raider or not.
“We started with her [having] a realistic daily life, with real struggles that I certainly have in my life, like making my rent, and she’s incredibly tough on the outside but…we wanted to show her getting beaten at points. And how do you go from that to finding the resolve and inner strength and outer strength to kick butt and face down every obstacle thrown at you? That was what we wanted to show over the course of the movie and the adventure…I think that resiliency was something we all really wanted to show, because that’s the most inspiring thing in movies is when characters have that trait. And that was what I mainly wanted Lara to have.”
Vikander herself echoes this idea, telling HelloGiggles on the Tomb Raider red carpet:
So in short, if you’re looking for a real kick-ass heroine you can relate to, 2018’s Lara Croft it is. While Jolie’s portrayal of the character will always have a place in
our my heart, Vikander’s take is definitely the one we need right now.