Warning: SPOILERS ahead for Tomb Raider
Tomb Raider's Lara Croft is many things: An ass-kicking hero, a globe-travelling archeologist, and of course, the star of multiple genre-spanning franchises. From her humble PlayStation origins, Croft has become one of the most interesting and recognizable characters in video game history. Famously, Angelina Jolie stepped into the role for two critically-panned but commercially successful films in the early 2000s. There was a plan for additional sequels, but this was scrapped when Jolie decided to not continue with the role.
Flash forward to the present day, and Lara Croft explores the big screen again, this time with Alicia Vikander stepping into Croft's well-worn shoes. In the new movie reboot of Tomb Raider, audiences learn her origin story, and find out how she went from seemingly-orphaned London girl to world-class adventurer in her own right.
Although the adventuring and tomb-raiding portion of the movie is solid fun, Tomb Raider also sets up a sequel for future films that's so blunt and heavy-handed, it's almost as nefarious as the movie's one-note villains.
HOW TOMB RAIDER SETS UP A SEQUEL
The latest Tomb Raider brings you on Lara Croft's first adventurer and into the Croft family legacy. Along the way, we learn her father, Richard (Dominic West), was not just a business tycoon, but an adventurer in his own right, working to stop an evil organization known as Trinity. Oh, and he's still alive.
After literally raiding a tomb on the mysterious island of Yamatai to save the world from a plague, Lara stops Trinity agent Mathias Vogel (Walton Goggins), but unfortunately her father is killed in the tomb. Croft then returns home, now officially an orphan. She finally acquiesces to Ana Miller (Kristin Scott Thomas), a seemingly-bland family friend and executive at Croft Holdings, to sign the paperwork and run the company. Only...
In a moment of powerful coincidence, Croft happens to stumble upon a tiny name in a gigantic ledger of other businesses owned by her company. Making the connections, she realizes Trinity is actually a shell company owned by Croft Holdings, and Miller is not as milquetoast as she seems.
The questions left behind are endless: Did her father know what was going on? What is Trinity's end game (since viewers got little more than a vague "rule the world" vibe from the plan)? What has Miller been doing behind the scenes? What's the next stage of the plan, since Lara ruined the first part, and where will it happen, since a map points to multiple locations around the world?
The largest question of all: Is anyone going to care enough for a sequel?
TOMB RAIDER'S SEQUEL BAIT IS AWFUL
The first mission of Lara Croft wraps everything up into a solid package. Audiences watch an angry girl, literally running away from her problems, grow up, take control of her life and save the day (and the world.) The final scene, though, sadly undercuts any emotional impact of the film, showing that Croft's been played from the start by everyone around her. She ends the film just as confused and frustrated as the audience.
Now, a bit that teases the next film and leaves questions open about the start of a possibly franchise would have been perfect in a post-credits add-on. It could have been a little hint of what's to come, a cheeky smile about the series' future, rather than a blunt-force ending that seemingly screams, "LARA CROFT WILL RETURN!"
No plans are yet set for a sequel, but with how the story pushed its end note, it's without a doubt going to happen if Tomb Raider does well. Obviously, we're happy to have more amazing female characters on the screen, but we're not sure of anyone who enjoys a to-be-continued ending. Tomb Raider - we expected better!
- Tomb Raider (2018) release date: Mar 16, 2018