As much as superheroes are currently dominating Hollywood, there is one type of protagonist that's pretty much on everyone's top hero list. That's the "action archeologist," the hero that chases down historical artifacts despite the danger their pursuits entail. And out of all of those heroes, two names stand out above the rest; Lara Croft and Indiana Jones. But since there's no such thing as a two-way tie for first place, we at ScreenRant wanted to discover just who was the greatest of this type of movie protagonist. To do that, we broke down traits we believe each action archeologist possesses and determined which character has more of that trait. What we came up with, for your reading pleasure, is Indiana Jones Vs. Lara Croft: Who's the Better Action Archeologist? Check it out!
One of the first questions we asked ourselves when looking at these two archeologists was; just how many artifacts have these characters found?
After all, unlocking history through its treasures is the goal of both these characters. And if we’re judging them just by how many they’ve found, Lara Croft just barely comes out on top. Granted, neither of them have a great record of keeping those artifacts intact, but that’s what separates archeologists in movies from the ones in real life.
Well, that and booby traps.
Both of these characters are wells of information when it comes to ancient lore. However, Lara has to ask a few more questions than Indiana does.
That makes sense, of course. While Laura was training to be an acrobatic ninja, Indiana Jones was studying for his doctorate. We can’t say for sure, but we suppose the latter career path entails a few more reading assignments.
Speaking of Lara’s ninja skills, we definitely give the combat category to her. Don’t get us wrong, Indiana Jones can hold his own in a bare-knuckle fight, but Lara’s kung-fu abilities are off the charts.
In fact, many of her problems can be solved by some type of martial arts know-how. Conversely, when Indiana Jones is confronted by a sword-wielding warrior in Raiders of the Lost Ark, he takes a much less skillful approach to solve the problem.
You can’t solve the mysteries of our ancestors alone. That’s why we decided to judge these characters on the people in their inner circle. And we’ve got to say, Dr. Jones has a few better companions. From Marion to his father Henry to Shortround, Jones’s pals are endearing and comical, great foils for Jones’s Personality. Lara has some great companions too, but we had to Google them to remember just who they were. For memorability, we definitely give this category to pals of Indy.
How much does it cost to be an archeological adventurer like the two of these people? We don't exactly get an answer to that question, but we do at least have it addressed in the Tomb Raider series. Lara Croft is a millionaire heiress, Simone who constantly has access to unlimited money in her pursuits of the ancient world. We’re not sure how Indiana Jones pays for all of his expenses, but we know it’s not his day job that covers it. Adjusting for inflation, salaries haven’t gone up that much for teachers since the 1940s.
Whether it’s finding just the information you need to solve a riddle or surviving the occasional Nazi death squad, being a cinematic archeologist takes a lot of luck. And though Lara Croft definitely has her fair share, it’s Indiana Jones that really owns this category.
From dodging ancient booby traps to walking a Nazi brute into a convenient rotating airplane propeller, Jones has got luck in spades.
It’s probably that lighter he carries.
There’s no job security when it comes to what these people do. Every day is a new situation, a new danger and a new challenge to overcome. That’s why to be in this line of work, you’ve got to have some ability to roll with the punches. You’ve got to be some type of MacGyver in a sense. And we think that title should go to the person who makes her own weapons out of what she finds in a jungle. There are more examples of Croft being a badass improviser than that, but honestly, we think it tells you everything you need to know.
Both of these characters have distinct, memorable looks. Think of all the cosplays that these two have inspired, or beyond that, the Halloween costumes. We could argue endlessly about which costume is more practical or sexier, but we have to frank. Indiana’s look is probably recognized by much more of the general populace, and it’s changed less times than Lara’s has. Plus, Indiana Jones’s look was designed by the guy largely responsible for making Nick Fury what he is. And that’s pretty cool.
Again, we have to remind you that neither of what these people carry around would work for a normal archeologist. They don’t have use for dual pistols, and a bullwhip could cause damage in a museum.
However, this gear is vital for these characters daily needs, and Lara has simply got more going on. Whether it’s the aforementioned pistols, her homemade bow, or that cool ice pick she uses in the new game series, Lara’s arsenal just works better than Indy’s. Plus, it probably took a lot less time for her to master her skill with that gear. As anyone who’s ever tried to use a whip can tell you.
Remember, we’re not saying here that Lara Croft’s stories are better than Indiana Jones’s, but we do think that Lara’s better at her job. She’s got the skills, resources, and gear to make her not just a great hero, but a fantastic explorer of the weird and unknown.
But do you agree? Have we judged any of these categories unfairly? Or would you have created different categories altogether? Also, wouldn’t Nic Cage’s National Treasure character beat both of these contestants? Let us know in the comments section below!
Even though we already know the answer to the Nic Cage questions. It is yes.