Warning: This post contains spoilers for the new Tomb Raider film.
When one tomb door closes, another opens. At the end of Tomb Raider — the new reboot of the video game-derived film franchise that swaps in Alicia Vikander for Angelina Jolie as adventurer Lara Croft — our heroine believes her days of merrily dodging subterranean booby traps to be over. Turns out they’re just getting started. A surprise gift left behind by her dearly departed dad, Richard Croft (Dominic West), clues her in on exactly who her next opponent will be … and it’s a name that, along with several other Easter eggs buried in the Roar Uthaug-directed film, will be instantly familiar to those who have been vicariously tomb-raiding alongside Lara in her recent video game exploits.
In the closing moments of the movie, Lara is peering through the multitude of files contained in her father’s secret lair (hidden — where else? — inside his tomb) and comes across a box labeled “Trinity.” Inside she discovers Richard’s research into this shadowy organization, whose tendrils are spread all over the globe, including inside the Croft-run corporation Croft Holdings. And the person responsible for getting Trinity through the company’s doors is none other than Ana Miller (Kristin Scott Thomas), her father’s trusted adviser and the woman who looked out for Lara following her mother’s death and Richard’s disappearance. Throughout the film, Ana has been pushing Lara to sign documents officially designating her missing father as deceased, and this climactic revelation explains why: Through Ana, Trinity now effectively has control of her dad’s legacy, and she has another perilous mission in front of her.
Both Trinity and Ana play major roles in the relaunched Tomb Raider mythology that started (again) with the self-titled 2013 video game introducing the “Survivor Timeline,” a back-to-basics continuity set during Lara’s early tomb-raiding days. (The previous timeline encompassed roughly a dozen games, released between 1996 and 2010.) In fact, the new film borrows much of its plot directly from that game. Tomb Raider players will recognize the movie’s chief villain, Mathias Vogel (Walton Goggins), a trigger-happy bandit looking to dig up the remains of the mythical Japanese queen Himiko — another character that’s been ported straight out of the Xbox. In a notable departure from the source material, though, Lara also finds her father on the island, and they conspire against Mathias as they navigate the dangers of Himiko’s tomb, a journey that only the younger Croft ultimately survives.
Having witnessed Richard’s final moments, and bidding him a tearful goodbye, Lara returns to civilization finally able to sign on the dotted line that declares her father dead. But she stops short of assuming control of Croft Holdings herself, instead asking Ana to be the de facto boss. As she pores over the list of companies her father owned, one name stands out: Patna — the same name emblazoned on all the supplies Mathias and his goons carted about. That word leads her to the aforementioned “Trinity” box where Richard stashed whatever information he had been able to uncover before his now permanent exile on Yamatai. It looks like Richard had only scratched the surface, but here’s what we know Lara is up against from the game: Founded in the early anno Domini era, the Order of Trinity seeks out ancient (and secretly powerful) religious relics for use in its mission of shepherding the entire world under the banner of a single god. And if doing that results in the destruction of entire cultures and faiths, that’s only a logical — and perfectly acceptable — outcome.
Unlike Trinity, Richard Croft’s main goal during his life was to preserve the totems he excavated from tombs, using them as evidence of lost folklore and myths he wanted to bring back into the public consciousness. So, to undermine his work, they planted a mole in his organization who answers to the name of Ana. Introduced in the 2015 sequel, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Ana collaborated closely with Richard on his research, a relationship that soon turned personal. (In contrast, Ana’s cinematic counterpart is depicted as having been more of a maternal guardian to Lara — whose mom, Amelia, died when she was young — than a paramour to Richard.) Lara discovers Ana’s actual identity midway through the game, and the two women then race each other to the lost Russian city of Kitezh to find the Divine Source, a doodad that is rumored to let its owner live forever. Not surprisingly, Lara wins that race, but opts to remain mortal; for her part, Ana is mortally wounded by a sniper, an ending that will presumably be the jumping-off point for the next game, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, set for release in September.
We’ll have to wait and see where Lara’s next cinematic adventure takes her. Good thing that, wherever she travels, she’ll be packing serious heat. A post-credits sequence uncovers the movie’s final Easter egg: how Lara acquires the signature dual pistols she’s been carrying around since 1996. Making a quick trip to her local pawn shop (run by none other than Nick Frost of Cornetto Trilogy fame) to buy back the necklace her father gifted her, she spots a secret backroom filled with guns. She forces her way inside, surveys all the firepower on display, and settles on two Heckler & Koch USP Matchs — the same guns Jolie wielded when she raided tombs in the earlier films — and strikes a classic Croftian pose. She’s discovering what video game players already know: Being a tomb raider is a real blast.
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