Ben Wheatley to Direct Tomb Raider Sequel—Wait What Sequel?
For those who remembered and enjoyed last year’s Tomb Raider film starring Academy Award winner Alicia Vikander, there is apparently a sequel in the works, and it has finally found its director in Ben Wheatley, taking over from Roar Uthaug, who helmed the first film.
Tomb Raider, despite getting mixed reviews from critics, ended up making $274.7 million worldwide and therefore is seen as viable enough to put money into a sequel. Personally, while I think Vikander was fine in the role, my opinion on the movie is much like my opinion on the new games themselves: I do think they are well made, but the fun level drags a lot the longer you go. They may have been trying to go for the gritty, badass, rated-M-for-mature-but-make-it-PG-13 violence, but it just felt free from any narrative tension. Plus, the ending was really all set up for a sequel rather than being a genuinely interesting story for Lara.
The hardest part about turning something like Tomb Raider into a film is that the fun of playing a game is doing it yourself—completing the levels, knowing that you risk death at every turn, and unlocking the puzzles. Watching a character with plot armor doing a dangerous thing, with little to no real story engagement or puzzle aspect, just makes it any other generic action movie.
However, I am glad that this is a female-led series, and I hope that Daniel Wu will be returning as Lu Ren to be a foil for Lara.
Despite it having a lot of flaws, part of why I enjoy Angelina Jolie’s first run as Lara Croft is because it’s fun, and Lara actually seems to have a sense of humor and personality. She enjoys her work, enjoys being the coolest person in the room, and seems like a fully fleshed-out character despite us knowing very little about her. Vikander feels like Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins, except you have to wait for the whole movie for her to actually be the iconic character we paid to see.
Production on the sequel is expected to begin next year with MGM and Warner Bros., and it’s being written by Amy Jump, who is a regular collaborator with Wheatley. The previous movie was written by Captain Marvel‘s Geneva Robertson-Dworet, which also has the problem (in my opinion) of not letting its heroine express herself enough. (Although, I think Carol does have personality, it’s just very muted except for sarcasm.) I’m glad we have a female screenwriter, and I look forward to seeing if the sequel will find a way to balance being a video game adaptation and allowing Lara to have … something to keep us interested in why she does what she does.
We return to puzzle-solving March 19, 2021.
(via Polygon, image: Warner Bros/MGM)
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