The Tomb Raider reboot starring Alicia Vikander is officially out in cinemas. Though it performed well over its first weekend (pulling in more than $23 million in the US), it seems that most of the news surrounding the film has been dedicated to dividing the fanbase over who wore Lara Croft's fitted tank top better, Angelina Jolie or her successor. But, on Sunday, Jolie proved that women don't need guns or short shorts to be ass-kicking heroines.
Jolie, who played Croft in both the 2001 and 2003 Tomb Raider films, brought four of her children — Shiloh, Zahara, Knox, and Vivienne — to a screening of the reboot in Los Angeles. How's that for a power play?
Rather than get swept up in the drama, the 42-year-old actress and activist used her hard-earned dollars to combat sexist expectations that women must tear each other down to stay on top.
This move is especially meaningful after far too many critics used their platforms to compare Vikander's physical appearance — and not her talent or plot lines — to Jolie's. One outlet, the PhillyVoice, ran a horribly sexist review in which the author, Jerome Maida, said Vikander "never once comes across as having an ounce of sex appeal." Later, Maida asserted that Warner Bros. might as well have just had Vikander "gender bend" and play "Luke Croft" due to her "lack of curves." Though PhillyVoice later deleted Maida's offensive commentary from the piece, hundreds of fans echoed his sentiments across the deep void of the internet.
It's great to see that Jolie didn't engage such body-shaming bigotry and, instead, chose to celebrate Vikander's success. There have been a lot of discussions about whether Croft, who has been hyper-sexualised in films and in video games, could be a feminist character. While the films, specifically the reboot, do a great job depicting that women can fight just as hard for their morals as they can with their hands, there are a few places they fall short. Fortunately, the women who portray Croft seem happy to pick up the pieces and deliver those feminist messages IRL.
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