The third film in 15 years to star gaming’s iconic British archaeologist, Lara Croft, comes out later this month. Movies based off of Video Games have been coming out for the past twenty-five years, to very disappointing results. With that said, one might wonder why the film industry would even bother putting money into projects like these, which, as history would indicate, are doomed to fail. If trailers and promotional material are any indication, this could be the first movie based on a video game to actually have a healthy balance of style and substance.

Where video game movies get it wrong

With video game adaptations coming out as recently as 2017, with the likes of "Resident Evil: The Final Chapter," and "Assassin’s Creed" (which starred Tomb Raider star and Alicia Vikander’s husband, Michael Fassbender), it’s clear the film industry still has faith in the concept, from a financial standpoint at least. But as any critic will tell you, these films are mostly about style and cashing in on a popular franchise. Instead of trying to tell a story that enriches the franchise and its characters, they are blatantly showing disrespect for source material.

This is evident from such films as "Super Mario Bros," the first ever Video Game Movie and the first of many video game-based movie bombs. Turning the series’ main villain from a giant turtle into a guy in a suit and having the Mario brothers be nearly twenty years apart in age, without any hint of saving princesses from castles, or jumping on turtle creatures while collecting coins.

While the first two "Tomb Raider" films, starring Angelina Jolie, were far from critical successes, they are often omitted when people discuss the worst video game movies.

The two films together prove that a decent "Tomb Raider" adventure on the big screen is possible, with the first film capturing the style and tone of the games in a way most game adaptions fail, and the second telling a more solid and thought out story than the first.

With the trailers for 2018’s "Tomb Raider" film equally displaying action set pieces that pay homage to those in the 2013 game of the same name, and displaying a story which justifies Lara being in the circumstances she finds herself in.

To say nothing of the remixed Destiny’s Child’s classic "Survivor" serving the main theme song for the film, which makes sense as this film is clearly based on what "Tomb Raider" fans have called the “Survivor Timeline” of the franchise, with the 2013 game even showing a text after the game’s campaign reading, “A survivor is born.”

Vikander, like Jolie before her, has shown to have taken the role seriously, knowing how popular Croft is and how physically demanding the role can be. Both actors have undergone intense training for the role, with many videos of Vikander online showing her in weight rooms, on treadmills, and performing rigorous workout routines that Vikander herself has said caused her to put on twelve pounds of muscle.

On top of the physical commitments, Vikander has shown that the role is more than another paycheck to her by frequently stating her love for Lara’s games as a kid in the 90s and wanting to star in an adventure film. She has also said she would be willing to do a sequel if the film was successful enough, showing she sees the role as more than just something to boost her credentials and increase her name recognition.

History is also notably repeating itself in many cases. Just as Angelina Jolie took on the role of Lara Croft just two years after winning the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in "Girl, Interrupted," Vikander is taking on the role just two years after winning her Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in "The Danish Girl." And while it could be argued that Jolie was already a household name before "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider" hit theaters, many credit the film with turning her from an unrecognizable name into a movie star.

With "Ex Machina" and "The Danish Girl" already making Vikander a recognizable name in movies, and giving her a reputation as a serious actress, could "Tomb Raider "end up doing the same for her?

Tomb Raider’s timing could not be better

While Lara Croft is undoubtedly one of the most iconic heroines of the last 20 years, especially in gaming, where she holds six Guinness World Records, she has also come under scrutiny for sometimes being more of a pin-up girl than an action star, especially in the early days with her short shorts, tank top, and overly large breasts. Since the 2013 game, that the film is based on, was released, however, Croft has proven to be an increasing source of empowerment for women in gaming and beyond.

With the 2013 game finally giving Lara realistic proportions and leaving her largely covered throughout the game, the games, and by extension, the film, are paying much closer attention to Croft as an adventurer rather than as eye candy.

Since the early days of gaming, the industry has been criticized, not unlike other forms of media, for overly objectifying women and not giving them as evolved parts as their male counterparts. It is understandable, though not necessarily excusable, that developers and marketers would want to attract as many people to buy their games as possible, and since gaming has long been stereotyped as a man’s hobby, its low hanging fruit.

It's worth noting that in recent years, and especially in the past few months, women across the world have put their foot down and made it clear that they are not the playthings they have been treated as in both fiction and reality. Considering the "Me Too" and "Times Up" movements, a tough, resourceful and brave heroine like Vikander’s Lara Croft could help enforce the idea that women are forces to be reckoned with and can help pave the way for more empowering females in film and television, as well as the in workplace and at home.

This has always been one of the defining traits of a character like Lara Croft as a feminist icon.

She does not try to take down men and allow herself to be put on a soapbox, but instead simply does that which she feels is true to herself. Sometimes, that can be more empowering than any "I am woman, hear me roar" speech ever could be.

Only time will tell if "Tomb Raider" is the video game movie the world has been waiting for. But if the trailers and circumstances surrounding the film are any indicator, it certainly is on the right track to be just that.

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