Vikander’s amazing ‘Tomb Raider’ performance somewhat overshadowed

 This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Alicia Vikander in a scene from "Tomb Raider." It took weeks of training and plates full of protein to turn former ballerina Alicia Vikander into action star Lara Croft. (Ilze Kitshoff/Warner Bros. Pictures via AP)

This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Alicia Vikander in a scene from "Tomb Raider." It took weeks of training and plates full of protein to turn former ballerina Alicia Vikander into action star Lara Croft. (Ilze Kitshoff/Warner Bros. Pictures via AP)

A generic plot and overused action sequences seemed to take away from the stellar acting performance put on by Alicia Vikander in the remake of the 2001 action adventure film “Tomb Raider.”

The film, released on Friday, March 16, stars Vikander as Lara Croft, a young adult who clings on to the hope of her father’s survival seven years after his disappearance. While Vikander does an excellent job playing the part of the mischievous and stubborn Croft, it felt as though the writers missed an opportunity by putting her through a ridiculous amount of unneeded action sequences. The insufficient amount of dialogue she was given seemed to take away from her performance as a whole.

After discovering her father’s hidden archeological passion, Croft embarks on a perilous journey toward his last known destination, a Japanese island called “Yamatai” rumored to be the resting place of mythical Japanese Queen Himiko. Along the way, Croft befriends a drunken Japanese sailor Lu Ren whose father helped Richard Croft make the original trip the island. Ren is played by actor Daniel Wu who also seemed a little bit underused after his initial importance to the story line.

On the island, Lara encounters the primary villain of the film, Mathias Vogel (Walton Goggins), who works for a mysterious company called Trinity that is also searching for the tomb of Queen Himiko. Vogel quickly establishes himself as a despicable human being when he confesses to killing the fathers of both Lara and Lu Ren, and forcefully enslaves many shipwrecked sailors to help him find the tomb. This character could have been cast a little bit better as Goggins didn’t come off menacing enough to play the role of the intimidating and vile Mathias Vogel.

Lara also manages to befriend a mangy castaway who turns out to be extremely important in finding the lost tomb. The castaway (Dominic West) had a disappointingly weak and feeble script despite the importance of his character to the storyline overall. It would have made more sense if he wasn’t as easily pushed around and bullied by the rest of the characters in the film.

After a few more Hunger Games-esque action sequences where Croft fends off Vogel’s guards with a bow and arrow, the characters finally arrive at the tomb of Himiko. The journey into the depths of the tomb provides the most suspenseful and exciting scenes throughout the film. As the characters search deeper into the tomb, the suspense builds around whether the stories of the deadly and murderous Queen Himiko are true or false. This exploration of the tomb in which the characters dodge traps like they’re Indiana Jones really made up for the meaningless first hour of the script. It also added some suspense and excitement behind the action which had previously felt pointless.

Finally, I appreciate the fact that the conclusion felt somewhat realistic, but most of it felt very predictable. The film could have used some unexpected twists and turns down the stretch to make up for its slow start. Nevertheless, “Tomb Raider” was able to impress me through the suspenseful final 45 minutes.

Overall, it felt as though the movie was never really able to reach its full potential. It had some underused characters, generic plot points and meaningless action sequences that could have definitely been changed to improve the quality altogether. Despite not being used to her full potential, Alicia Vikander put on a stellar performance as Lara Croft. The suspenseful climax and conclusion were able to somewhat make up for the slow start to the film.

Rating: 3/5


Matthew Souvigney is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at matthew.souvigney@uconn.edu.