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So I watched Incredibles 2 a few days ago and so far it's my favorite movie of the year, beating out Black Panther, Ready Player One, Avengers: Infinity War and Deadpool 2. I honestly recommend that you go see it. It's as good as the first film and I'm really hoping that I don't have to wait another 14 years for the sequel so go and watch I2 dammit!!! But I digress.

About the only issue I had with the film is that I felt the villain was a bit weak, not terrible as in the first half of the movie they are very intriguing and intimidating but at the half way point, after the big reveal of who the villain is and what their motivation is they aren't all that interesting and its' kinda convoluted. But really that's the only complaint I have about the film and the rest of it is so good I'm more then willing to overlook that.

And among the movies many strengths it had some really new and great characters with the best, in my opinion, being Winston Deavor and Voyd. What makes these two so great, aside from having very likeable personalities, cool power on Voyd's part and both just being so damn cute is that they are a wonderful contrast to Syndrome the villain from the fist movie. Syndrome is interesting as a villain as he represents the worst elements of fandom, he is pushy, petty and whiny when things do not meet his impossible the match high "standards". In contrast Winston and Voyd represent the best parts of being a fan.

Both Winston and Voyd are huge fans of Supers with Voyd being a very obvious fan girl of Elastigirl. With Winston he seeks to help Supers regain their good will with the public so they can see them as he sees them. As good people with incredible powers who seek to do the right thing because it's the right thing and Voyd, as someone who is herself a Super but was forced to remain in the closet, for lack of a better analogy admires Helen/Elastigirl for being someone who could give her the courage to be open with others of who she is and find a place where she belongs.

One thing to keep in mind here is that with Syndrome, when he was still just Buddy trying to be Incrediboy he only ever saw Mister Incredible as a idea first and only and never as a person while both Winston and Voyd see the Supers as ideals to live up to AND as people. Now some don't see the problem with Buddy admiring Bob when he was Mister Incredible and felt he never gave Buddy a chance to be his side kick. The thing of it is, what's often missed in this is that A) While Buddy is clearly a skilled engineer at the time we met him he has exactly Zero skills when it comes to fighting crime and almost gets himself and Bob killed due to his carelessness. And B) Bob had asked Buddy several times to leave him alone only for Buddy to repeatedly ignore him. Bob states that he was okay with Buddy being a fan of his, gave his autograph but then Buddy just kept bothering him and by all accounts Bob had asked him polity to leave him alone at first only for him to keep ignoring him. Buddy was stalking Bob and it was likely only thanks to Bob's secret identity that he was able to able to hide from him. And here's where we get into the idea vs the person as when Bob showed himself to be the flawed person he was Buddy lost it and decided to go get revenge against his hero for the crime of being a person.

In contrast both Winston and Voyd see the heroes flaws but instead of getting angry at them for that they instead still see them as heroes who they can relate to. Winston never stops being supportive of the Supers and does everything in his power to do the right thing simple because it's the right thing and it's the same thing with void. Minor spoilers for I2 there's a scene where Helen and Voyd are talking and Helen then notices something and polity brushes Voyd off to go and investigate and while Voyd does seem hurt she doesn't push the subject and seems to realize that Helen needs to go and look into whatever she found.

And later in the film both Winston and Voyd get to help save the day with the former risking his life to save people and the and the latter getting to fight alongside Helen and even saving her at one point. What makes this great is that while Syndrome put people in danger and only ever thought of himself Winston and Voyd always put others ahead of themselves which makes them true heroes and show the best side of fans.

Honestly I would love these two to return in Incredibles 3 and with Voyd I would be 100% behind the idea of her getting her own spin-off movie which I will be posting a article on in the future. And what makes them such great heroes is the same thing that made Syndrome such a great villains, they perfectly represent the best of fandom in the same way Syndrome represented the worst of it. I love these two and hope to see more of them in the, hopefully, near future.
For those of you who follow me on Twitter you might recall that a while back I asked the question of what sort of adversary Sam should have if she were ever to get a spin-off, be it a game or comic series with the requirements being that they would have to be big enough to be a threat but small enough that they wouldn't detract from Sam's character or personal growth and that they had to reflect Sam's internal conflict/demons in some way.

After going through my library of games, movies, novels, comics and TV shows I think I found the kind of villain I would want Sam to go up against. Rafe Adler from Uncharted 4 A Theif's End. Now at this point this is just the early stages of the character, I just got this idea so we're using Rafe as more of a template for the eventual villain who would have different backstory and goals but the basic character is the same.

In U4 Rafe is a self-centered, man child who only ever thinks about himself and seeks to make a name for himself as he doesn't want to be known as the man who got rich on his parents wealth. He is impossible to put up with and even a people person like Sully or Nate can barely stand to be around him for more then a few seconds before they've had their full of him. Even his allies can barely tolerate him as shown with Nadine as she is just as fed up with Rafe as she is the Drake brothers, who are killing most of her men throughout the game while her annoyance at Rafe is more due to his constantly bitching about everything from the Drake brothers to Nadine's mercs to Nadine herself. He also has a bad habit of turning on his own allies and will hurt of kill them just because they annoy him.

In other words, the exact opposite of Sam. Sam is one of the nicest, funniest and most loyal people in the Tomb Raider series. While she can and has gotten angry at Lara it's so rare that the few times it happens that Lara and Jonah actually comment on it and while part of it is down to Himiko trying to take over Sam she still remains loyal to Lara as revealed in Choice and Sacrifice when it was revealed that she would often talk about Lara in a positive way and was even willing to kill herself if it meant protecting Lara. Sam is even willing to put up with people who annoy her like Whitman who, much like Rafe, had a tendency to why about everything that annoyed him and had a sense of self importance that would actually dwarf Lord Voldemort's. Sam despite his constant tantrums, which apparently happened a lot, Sam continued to be nothing but professional with him even though she suspected, correctly, that Whitman was planning to steal the credit for finding Yamatai away from Lara which is why Sam made sure to record all of Lara's hard work so she would get the credit she deserved. And throughout the entire series, despite likely developing a inferiority complex, despite feeling that Lara does see her as her equal anymore and despite being someone who loves drawing attention to herself Sam never tries to take credit from Lara for any of her findings.

Please note that the reason Lara was even looking for Yamatai in the first place was because Sam had told her the story her grandmother told her when she was young and yet while filming the voyage to Yamatai, as stated before, Sam made sure that Lara would get the credit for everything she did while Sam was content to remain behind the camera for the whole journey. And this didn't change in the comics as while Sam was pretty much the Deuteragonist of the story she never tried to take attention from Lara and always supported her no matter what.

Both Sam and Rafe were born into wealth but whereas Rafe only cares about himself and will hurt anyone and everyone to get his way, which includes the people who are on his side and as a result alienate everyone from helping him, Sam is cares deeply for those close to her and is due to being a social butterfly is quick to make friends who will be there for her when she needs him, even if it takes them a while to get there.

So Rafe is really the perfect adversary for Sam as he can help show Sam's better traits by seeing her go up against someone who embodies everything she stands against. Selfishness, needless cruelty and pettiness all of which Sam has shown open contempt for with Whitman, Mathias and Himiko once she learned her true nature.

So that's my idea for what sort of adversary Sam should go up against should she ever get a spin-off game. Also as I posted on Twitter, as a Shout-Out to Uncharted 4 and Sam's main voice actor Arden Cho's character Kira from Teen Wolf, the finally boss fight for said game should have both Sam and the villain having a Katana sword fight just cause. :D
So last time I talked about ideas I had for a sequel to Ready Player One, in which I went over a number of plot details for said story so I've returned with a few more defined ideas, who the rival player is at the start of the film, more on the other two members of the clan, more on the Owner and the idea of this being A Christmas Carol adaptation, of sorts.

So first off we've got the rival player at the start of the film. The idea and scene is still pretty much the same, this character uses a summon, said summon is the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters, he's using it as an attempt to break into the Owner's vault, our heroes us the Dragon Zord and its' combined form with the other Zords to fight it off. Alex fights the rival player on the shoulders of both the Zords and Stay Puft, the defenses of the Casino of the Owner easily pushes off Stay Puft without destroying it. Alex breaks the thing that is allowing the Rival player to control Stay Puft which then leads to Stay Puft to "killing" the Rival player by unceremoniously brushing him of it's shoulder as if he was a bug.

All that is pretty much the same only now I know who this rival player should be, I-R0k from the first movie. I-R0k is quite possibly one of most popular characters from both the book and the film and in the case of the former that was due to him being both funny and intimidating at the same time. However, out of all the characters we never really learned what happened to him after the first film when Sorrento used the The Cataclyst. Well in this hypothetical sequel it turns out that after the final battle I-R0k went back in and found the place where he was destroyed and managed to regain some of his loot which if you recall was still pouring out of the spot he was killed at when the camera cut away to show the bomb was still going.

However, I-R0k was forced to run where several other players came to get some of it and there were simply to many for him to beat. Because of this I-R0k has been trying to regain some of his fortune after the finally battle of the first movie. BTW because he was just a gun for hire and even tried to talk Sorrento out of using the Cataclyst the High Five never band him from returning to the Oasis.

Anyway I-R0k spends appears as a major recurring character in the first act of RPT and as you read, ends up trying to take the McGuffin by force. He has no real history with any of the characters from this film, they both know each other mostly by reputation so while he is a prominent figure in the first act he really is just a Dice One Final Boss with the Owner taking on the role of the "Main" antagonist for the rest of the movie.

Also the sadist in me just loves the idea of of I-R0k losing everything, then getting some of it back only to lose it again before the end of the second films first act. And what's worse is that he only has himself to blame as he will be warned that trying to take the McGuffin by force will not work. Oh, just as a side note, the storm that struck Stay Puft is another summon, specifically two summons, Thor and Zeus because Ready Player series can do that. XD

Then we have the Owner. Originally I described him as Scrooge but with a much nicer personality to start with. Well, I've decided to change that to where the Owner is just as cold and as harsh as Scrooge as that leads to a greater cathartics when he turns over new leaf and decides to turn his life around. As a tribute to my favorite adaptation of ACC his first scene in RPT, where Alex and Jenny are tailing him, is meant to recapture Scrooge's first scene from that movie, silhouetted, shot from a low angle with everything getting darker the moment he appears.

On that subject, much like ACC there really isn't any "Main" Antagonist in RPT as no one is evil or has cruel intentions they are all just players in a game. The Owner is the closest thing to a main villain but you could argue that Jenny and the others are the real villains as they are trying to steal from him except as stated in the "First Draft" the Owner put this challenge out so it is league. I-R0k also can't really be counted as a villain as he has nothing against Jenny's Team, (debating calling them the Ghosts right now, what do you think to on the nose?) or the Owner he's just trying to get the McGuffin his way which is perfectly valid just not successful and Alex didn't intend for Stay Puft to kill I-R0k she was just trying to turn the tides and destroying I-R0k's control over Stay Puft was the best method for that.

I just wanted to put that out there that no one is really evil, everyone has their reasons to do this and no one breaks the law or tries to be cruel to get what they want. And seeing that RPT is a adaptation of ACC it could be argued that this is as much the Owner's story of finding redemption as it is Jenny's.

Anyway on to the other two members of the Ghosts. I talked at length about Jenny and Alex in the first draft and nothing has really changed there, they still have issues but it's clear that they do love one another and Jenny is still trying to prove to Alex that she can be trusted. At the time that was all I was really thinking about as they were the ones that were the easiest to see in my minds eye but on to the other two ghosts. As the Ghosts are the Ghosts of Christmas that makes Jenny Jacob, the criminal in her old life who is now trying to make amends for her past mistakes while Alex is the Ghost of Christmas yet to come but only when she is attempting to get the McGuffin, (side note, the McGuffin will be the idol from Raiders of the Lost Arc just so everyone knows what we're looking for. Also, also the cars used in this film instead of the delorean from back to the future is the Mach 5 from Speed Racer).

That makes the last two ghosts Past and Present. Now ultimately these two do not get as much screen time or development as Jenny, Alex and the Owner and are really here more as a means to develop those three in some way but their core traits have to remain the same as Past and Present. So what are the core traits of the Ghosts of Christmas Past and Present. The Past is blunt and harsh, it shows Scrooge everything that led up to him being a horrible person to make him change for the better but like with the other ghosts you get the sense that it was enjoying Scrooge's discomfort just a little bit. And as for the Present, he is often shown as a likable person who shows Scrooge that Christmas can be fun if you can get into the swing of things but doesn't shy away from how Scrooge is wasting his life.

So going to my library of pop culture references I tired to get an idea of what sort of characters would be best to play these characters and I think I've got the two perfect candidates, Rimmer and Lister from the Classic British Sitcom Sci-fi series Red Dwarf. No really think about, Rimmer is a ass, one that many characters, including his own ship mates, have wanted to punch or kill which exactly what Scrooge wants to do, and in some versions of the story, (including the original novel) does to the Past Ghost. And as for the Present, it's someone who likes to hang out with his mates and have a good time and appears to be absent minded but in truth is a much smarter then it lets own and can be a bit harsh when it catches someone being a bit of a hypocrite. So for right now the Past and Present of Christmas are Expies of the two leads of Red Dwarf. And for any Dwarfers out there yes I know there is more to Lister and Rimmer then that I'm just trying to keep things simple for the story of this movie.

And as for the ACC adaptation idea ACC is, in the end, a story of redemption as he faces his past present and future but with the twist that the Ghosts weren't really intending to change Scrooge but where, in fact, trying to rob from him and him becoming a better person was just a nice side benefit. I've also been playing with the idea of when RPT is set, Holiday wise because while this is a adaption of a beloved Christmas story it doesn't need to be set at Christmas, Christmas is just the setting that Charles Dickens used to tell the story as it was around the Holiday that he was writing the story.

In the end ACC is a character study and this one is no different it's just that the Ghosts are now more characters instead of just being there to develop Scrooge's character and have goals outside of changing him, and like I said before changing him isn't even really a goal for them it's just something that happens along the way but that doesn't mean it will lower the impact of the drama for anyone involved.

And there's my second draft of ideas for Ready Player Two. What do you guys think, is it a improvement over my first "draft", let me know in the comments below. :D
Given the how overly toxic the Star Wars fandom is right now if you even try to talk about the newer films I wanted to talk about something that I am making just for the fun of it, who I would cast if I was making a Adaptation of the Thrawn Trilogy if I was able to make such a film. The basic idea here is to look at who I feel would best fit the characters of Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa Solo, Han Solo and Lando Calrissian and given the overall positive resection of Solo A Star Wars Movie, even if the overall opinion of the film is So Okay It's Average, I figured now would be a good time to talk about my Dream Re-Cast of the Original Star Wars Cast.

Let's start with the easiest member of the cast Lando as I already know how I would pick as I've heard nothing but good things about his take on the character already. He's got the charm, he's got the looks, he can pull off a cape like nobodies business, Donald Glover. There's really nothing much I can add here, from the little bit I've seen from clips and trailers Glover has Lando down to a T, and from what I've heard he did such a great Billy D. William impression that some actually thought that he was being dubbed over when the reality is he's just that good and sounding and acting like Lando. I'm not sure about Lando being Pansexual as there was nothing like with the Original Trilogy or anything in the Legends line up but as it doesn't really change his character in anyway I'm, willing to let it pass. So yeah, if I was making this film Glover would be my first, second and last choice to play the charming rouge.

But what about the galaxies most charming Scoundrel, who would I cast as Han Solo. Well from what I've heard and seen of Alden Ehrenreich performance didn't fill me with a lot of confidence as he seemed to have none of the charm or wit of Harrison Ford and the rumors that he needed a acting couch during the making of the movie didn't do anything to instill confidence. However, in my Thoughts on the Solo Teaser Trailer article I did said that I felt that was a bad sign and, in less polite terms, said some rather mean things about Ehrenreich's performance saying that he needed a acting couch because he was so bad. That was not the case, the acting coach was done to make sure that Ehrenreich's performance was in line with how Ford's take on the character was done. So I spoke harshly and unfairly and for that Alden Ehrenreich, if you are reading this, I sincerely apologize. I let my feelings on the character and this series get the better of my and jumped to a conclusion based on information I had hardly looked at. It was a unfair assessment and I honestly apologize for it.

And from what I've heard from people who have actually seen the movie he gave a good performance and is a good actor on the whole. So open mouth insert foot with a side helping of crow and let's move on. I'll wait until I actually see Solo before I decide one way or the other but I will give Ehrenreich the honorable mention of joining Glover to be recast as Han for this imaginary recasting of these characters.

With that said my preferred choice for the actor I would want as Han Solo is still Anthony Ingruber as I still feel that he really gets Han and got Ford's mannerisms down perfectly. I've already talked about this at length, along with unfairly judging someone based on little information, in the aforementioned Thoughts on the Solo Teaser Trailer, and thoughts on Ehrenreich's acting not withstanding, I still hold to what I said and think that Ingruber is the better choice for Han.

The next, and last, two original cast members are also going to be a bit wired as my preferred choice were chosen based solely on how the two are perfect for the characters in every other way but are non the less the odd ones out compared to the other two choices. So with that in mind let's talk about the Skywalker twins starting with...

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Luke Skywalker. Now I realize the irony of casting a actor who also played a character who lost his right had and got it replaced with a artificial one, has a terrible evil overlord father and has had romantic feelings for and in fact kissed his twin sister. But that is all just coincidental and has nothing to do with why Coster-Waldau is my preferred choice for Luke Skywalker and to get into why we have to briefly go over why I don't like how Luke was written in The Last Jedi so there will be spoilers.

One of my many issues with Last was how Luke was written in that he went from someone who was willing to risk life and limb in attempt to redeem Darth Vader and during that time, due to the danger of losing his friends and loved ones, his only other family member while going up against the two most powerful Sith Lords of his time still did what he could to redeem his father and only broke when Vader found his berserk button by threatening his sister. Luke risked everything to save someone he had every reason to hate and it was only due to being in such a bad situation that Luke briefly snapped and tried to kill Vader and after that he saw what he could become and then committed himself fully to the way of the Jedi and always seek the best path, not the easiest but he would always do what was right whenever he could.

In short Luke Skywalker is the most optimistic person in the galaxy who always sees the best in people and does whatever he can to be a good person. In The Last Jedi and several stories of the Legends line, lest you think that only Last was the only one dumb enough to pull this S#!t, Luke is a cynical idiot who jumps complaints killing his own nephew in his sleep (an act that Palpatine implied to have done to his own master BTW) because he might turn to the Dark Side... Yeah!

This is on par with Spider-Man making a deal with the Devil to undo his marriage and Superman having a bastard son in Superman
Returns. It's stupid and shows a great misunderstanding of the character that reaches legendary heights either due to choices from the Executive Producers or a failing on the part of the writer due to a lack of understanding of the characters, or having no real time to plot the story out.

For me, The Thrawn Trilogy is the perfect continuation and conclusion to the Skywalker Saga, even if Luke isn't the main character of TTT Timothy Zahn clearly had a firm grasp as to who these characters were and where they should go next in their journey. In TTT Luke is presented as calm, charming and having a bit of a snarky side. Enter Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.

Now to show up what I'm talking about here look at Coster-Waldau performance as Jamie on Game or Thrones in bits like the first episode when he is talking to Ned Stark about the upcoming Tournament or when he is being help captive at the start of Season 2. Despite talking to a man he dislikes, to put it mildly, or being threaten with being eaten alive by a giant wolf Jamie keeps his calm and remains polite while also being a bit snarky towards his rivals.

One of my favorite lines in TTT is in Heir to the Empire when Karrde informs Luke of the Huge Bounty the Empire has put on his head and Luke says the following, "Wow, I had no idea I was worth so much." There are little jewels like that scattered throughout the entire Trilogy and a few of Zahn's other books and much like Jamie while Luke does get angry and loses his cool it's much more controlled instead of him going berserk. When Luke does get angry he does what he can to keep himself under control so it's much more tranquil fury which is much more befitting of the character and the journey he has been on. And Coster-Waldau more then capable of pulling both off.

But here's why he might seem a odd choice to many and that being that A) Coster-Waldau is a bloody giant. Coster-Waldau stands at about 6 '2 which is about a inch shorter then Harrison Ford and and Anthony Ingruber, both of whom stand at about 6 '1. Coster-Waldau also has a much sharper facial structure and very broad shoulders and there's nothing wrong with this except for the fact that Mark Hamill stands at about 5 '9 and has a more slender build. So if these films were actually made and Coster-Waldau was cast as Luke then Luke would go from being notably shorter and more slender then Han to being just as tall and as broad build as Han. Which means we would either have to arrange everything so Ingruber would appear taller then Coster-Waldau or just ignore the fact that Luke and now a inch or so taller then Han. The first option could look silly as we would have to keep this in mind throughout production of the entire Trilogy which could work or just look very silly while the later is going to be really odd for anyone going straight from Episode 6 to 7 as apparently Luke had a huge growth spurt in the five years between Return and Heir.

And then we have our fourth and final member and here's where things might seem really wired but bare with me, Gal Gadot as Princess Leia Organa Solo. Okay first off yes I realize that much like Coster-Waldau Gadot looks nothing like Carrie Fisher and much like Coster-Waldue Gadot i also a bit taller then Fisher was, (Fisher stood at about 5 '1 while Gadot is about 5 '10 so it's not much of a difference but one that could be noticeable). And there is also the fact that Gadot has a very noticeable accent while Carrie Fisher was born and raised in America and there for, for obvious reasons, had no accent.

But here's why I chose her as my Dream Re-Cast as Princess Leia and it's for the same reason I would want Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Luke Skywalker and that is simply the fact that they are perfect for the roles in every other way. Coster-Waldau could capture Luke's charm, wit and good spirit while Gadot is someone who, as shown in her role as Princess Diana aka Wonder Woman, that she can have a commanding presence that makes her feels like royalty, (which is a key plot point in TTT and Heir specifically) can hold her own in a fight which is added by the fact that Gadot spent two years in the Israel Defense Forces, while still being able to present as a loving and kind person despite all the hardships she has gone through. And the fact that she filmed most of Wonder Woman and a bit of Justice League Pregnant shows that he actor herself is willing to go the extra mile for her work.

So yes the Skywalker Twins are, without a doubt, odd choices in regards to their looks, builds and in Gadot's case, accent. But the reason they are my preferred choices is simply because they are perfect for their respective roles in every other way.

So there you have it, my Dream Re-Cast for the Original Star Wars character, what do you think, comment, like or share with others and let me know. :D
Seeing as a full day has past and no one can stop talking about it I figured now was as good a time as any to talk about Naughty Dogs demo from The Last of Us Part 2 and what Tomb Raider should learn from it. Now in general there's not much TLOU can teach TR, both feature strong, well rounded female characters, both include rather spiffy bow and arrow mechanics and the protagonist for both stories, Ellie for TLOU and Lara for TR, show how to write a character who suffers from Survivors guilt without it going to far, which is saying a lot given that Lara has been suffering from this for almost 5 years.

But there is one thing that Tomb Raider does need to learn from TLOU, something that I have been pushing for ever since Sam was parked back in 2015 and that is to Bring Sam Back and make her and Lara's relationship the emotional core of the story. For those of you who didn't see it yesterday The Last of Us Part II released a demo in which we got a cutscene that focused on Ellie with her new love interest Dina in which the two danced and kissed. Yes, yes there was the actual gameplay bit where we get to see Ellie go up against the crazy cult that we saw in the second trailer released last year and it looks awesome, with tones of new gaming mechanics liking being able to dodge attacks, squeezing between tight spaces to evade enemies, hiding in tall grass and crawling under buses and cars. All good and will help keep the gameplay from feelings to repetitive but in the end what is going to keep any series going isn't the gameplay or the graphics it's the characters and their journey.

In the years since their release when anyone talks about Tomb Raider: A Survivor is Born or The Last of Us it's to talk about how useful the bow and arrows are, or which game had the better enemy A.I. it's about the characters how well they were told and in that respect both games have age remarkably well. Both games are a coming of age story as Lara and Ellie come to see the worst of people while trying to protect all that they love form the worst the world has to throw at them and while they are able to hold onto some of their loved ones they are both horribly scared by the events of the story and lose people they care about and are only able to save a few of them.

A while back I wrote why I felt that Rise of the Tomb Raider was a weaker game when compared to the first game and the tie-in comics and that was making the emotional core of the story between Lara and her dead father instead of between Lara and her best friend Sam. I argued that no matter how well written Richard was in Rise, (which was actually very well handled) the player was never going to be able to attached to him the way they did with Sam and the endings of both games reflected that. With Survivor the original ending was that Lara would fail to get to Sam in time and would be forced to kill her but test players hated this as they had come to care about Lara and her relationship with Lara so it was change that Lara would get to Sam in time and save her from Himiko. In Rise the ending we got was the ending that was always planned, Lara being forced to destroy the Divine Source thus removing the one thing that could redeem her fathers name.

And with this ending, no one complained that Lara was being forced to lose, no one felt that it was a bad ending and that was because, no matter how often we heard Richard's voice, no matter how well written he was and no matter how often we saw or heard him interact with young Lara the players could never come to really care for him or his relationship with Lara because there was a gap between them and the character that could never be crossed and that is this. Sam is someone Lara can lose, she's someone for Lara can fight for, someone whom Lara can continue to grow close to and who can be there for Lara when she needs her. Richard, being dead, cannot be more then what he is, he cannot grow as a character, he isn't someone Lara can truly fight for, (at least not in the same way she can for Sam) and he cannot be truly be there for Lara other then to be a reminder of what she has lost.

Enter The Last of Us Part II and Ellie's relationship with her surrogate father Joel, a friend in Jesse and a love interest in Dina. It is my believe that Dina will die or get gravely hurt in this Part II which is what sets Ellie off on her quest of revenge against the cult which I know sounds bad, especially given how often queer characters die or are hurt for the sake of the plot but given that in the world of The Last of Us anyone can die it doesn't bother me as much here as it does with other stories.

The reason I bring this up is that given that we will be spending time with all of these characters in either flashbacks or at the start of the game proper we will be able to form a emotional connection to them so that when something bad does happen to them we feel what Ellie feels and want revenge right along side her. Now I hope that Dina and Joel will both survive but odds are good that at least one of them is going to die which is what will set the events of the plot into motion and given that we will have a connection to both of these characters it will have a greater impact on us the player then it ever would have if both characters were just faceless ghosts that we hardly ever saw.

This is what Tomb Raider needs to learn from TLOU, stop making the emotional core of the game about characters that we cannot form a active connection to and bring back Sam and make the next game about her and Lara rebuilding their relationship. Take a leaf out of Sony's book as shown with Uncharted, God of War and The Last of Us we want to see our heroes with someone who we can connect to as well, be it romantic, platonic or familial. Same thing with Tomb Raider, we want Lara and Sam to meet up again, we want to see them rebuild their relationship and admit that they need each other because which is going to be more powerful and strike a cord with players more? Lara trying to stop a Apocalypse and save the world or repair a broken relationship with her best friend?

There is of course Jonah but given that he seems to have changed personality between games yet Again and just doesn't seem to fit in with the greater story or add that much to Lara's character, (though that could change in Shadow but again he's changed his personality for a second time). Sam is the only other character who understands the threat that the supernatural poses as well as Lara and her enemies do. She has been changed by these events but, much like Lara and Ellie, she has remained the same person at her core, in that she cares for people and always wants to be there for those she loves and still wants to enjoy life as much as possible.

I am looking forward to Shadow of the Tomb Raider as it does look like a lot of fun to play and a lot of the ideas sound very interesting to me and I like that the developers aren't shying away from Lara's PTSD like Rise did. I'm a bit worried about Jonah as, again, he seems to have changed personality again but Earl Baylon is a strong enough actor to make it work. But honestly the stronger relationship remains Lara & Sam and the series needs to stop beating around the bush and just bring her back to the story. Sony has released hit after hit with their games over the past few years and most of them are about people just coming together and finding love in one form or another and these games stories have been praised for that very reason so there is no excuse for Tomb Raider not to do the same with Lara and Sam.
So I just finish my second playthrough of the fourth God of War game... God of War. Okay before I get to what I liked about this game I just want to say I Hate it when a series reuses the game of the first installment of the series as it makes talking about the standalone product annoying as you have to repeatedly clarify which game, movie, comic book or whatever every time you go to talk about it. The worst of these has to be the Halloween series where there are no more then 3 films called just Halloween and two films called Halloween two but the first one called Halloween is the original Halloween but the second one that is also just called Halloween is a reboot that has nothing to do with the original but the third film that is just called Halloween is a sequel to the first Halloween even though there is a direct sequel to the first film just called Halloween which is Halloween II but that is not to be confused with the other Halloween II which is a direct sequel to the second film just called Halloween. But not the third film just called Halloween which is a reboot of the entire series which ignores all the Halloween films except the first film called Halloween but that does include the other film just calling itself Halloween and it's Halloween II while also ignoring the original Halloween II and I've gone crossed eyed.

But yeah Hollywood, which I am using as a general means of addressing all forms of entertainment across the world unless you are a remake of a single story that only has one story like The Christmas Carol, Hamlet or the like please, Please, PLEASE stop using the title of the first film with no subtitle, it's not creative, you're not being clever it's just annoying. At least George Lucas had the good sense to give the first Star Wars film the subtitle A New Hope so no future film can't just call itself Star Wars and try to confuse you with the original film.

Okay rant over now let's quick talk about God of War no subtitle or number for the PS4. Short version, it's amazing. Its' a well crafted story about a father trying connect with his son after the death of his wife while also trying to escape his past only for his past to catch up to him which threatens his son. It does a fantastic job at telling a standalone story that can be enjoyed in isolation while also setting up future games in this new setting. If you are, like me, unfamiliar with GOW don't worry the game is able to catch you up with the story in such a way that doesn't bog the story down with a ton of exposition. The acting is top notch and the gameplay was really fun.

My only really issue with the game is the repeated false starts. The goal of the game is to take the ashes of your wife to the highest peak in all the realms and spread her ashes there and there are no more then five times when you think you're about to achieve that objective and the game no more then 5 times and by the 3 time it's gets a little annoying. But aside from that it's very well done. It takes itself seriously but not to seriously that it becomes just plain depressing and when the humor does come around it feels earned and real which helps make you care about these characters all the more. Pick it up if you get the chance it is defiantly worth your time and money.

But onto the point of this article which is what Tomb Raider can learn from this game and much like Uncharted The Lost Legacy that is to show why Lara remaining as a lone wolf is no longer a valid argument as Kratos has been working on his own almost as long as Lara has and yet he was not made weaker by having his son Atreus and later a talking head with him on this most resent adventure. In fact many long time GOW fans have called this one of if not the best game in the series and a big chunk of that is due to how well written and likeable Atreus was. In terms of gameplay Atreus is useful in combat as he stays out of your way for the most part, doesn't need to be saved outside of plot events and when you call him in to help you fighting his can do a lot of damage.

Atreus also has his own skill tree, can get his own set of armor and his weapon can be upgraded like Kratos' weapons and Atreus also has access to his own magical powers which is him summoning some sort of spirit animals which can do a lot of damage to a lot of enemies or just a single really powerful enemy depending on the summon. He's also useful for unlocking certain bits of lore that you find throughout the world and is really useful in dealing with some of the games toughest bosses, both in the main story and side quests. Also Kratos and Atreus have some really awesome combos which makes combat all the more fun. My only real complaint about Atreus in terms of combat is his tendency to screaming all his warnings at you in EVERY fight throughout the game. It gets really annoying really fast and while it's always fun to talk to him during the story him warning you about a incoming attack by Screaming WATCH OOOUUUTTT! Got real old real fast and I hope that's toned down for future games.

But what makes Atreus such a great companion is his relationship with Kratos. Throughout the game you get a real sense that these two are father and son all be it with a very strained relationship but there is never any question that these two love each other which helps to make the core game all the more powerful. This is where Tomb Raider comes in as Lara working on her own just isn't that interesting to me as her working with someone. Someone who has been through as much as she has, who has a established relationship with her that while fractured is still more engaging then her relationship with any other character, living or dead.

Yes I am still fighting for Sam to return in Lara's life and God of War shows that this can be done with a character who was alone for most of his series and God of War is only 10 years younger then Tomb Raider so if Kratos can have is son join him on his adventure and said adventure can be well received by critics and fans alike then there is no reason to keep Lara on her own especially when you have a character who is just as interesting and well rounded as her just warming up the bench.

Sam has proven that she is just as capable as Lara and has done some amazing things throughout the series which includes but is not unlimited to, saving Lara from crazy cult leader, stabbing a bull shark in the eye, beating up a thug while only armed with a cupcake and beating a Demigod in a Battle of Wills.

But give as much time as needed to making the game work with Sam in it, focus on Lara and Sam rebuilding their relationship along with a singular goal that both need in order to finish and keep all their character development intact and you could have a game that makes Lara trying to stop a apocalypse look like an episode of He Man and the Masters of the Universe.

So after going over a number of issues I had with the 2018 Tomb Raider movie the question rises about is there a way to make a good adaptation of Tomb Raider: A Survivor is Born? Yes and it's called Tomb Raider Legacy. Released on August 1 2017 Legacy is a fan film adaptation of A Survivor is Born and like most fan films it is a labor of love made by fans of the series and while there are a few issues with it the film is, in all honesty, very well made and the issues here exist with almost every fan film or adaptation regardless if it is made by fans or a major movie studio. And as a major plus Legacy manages to avoid every misstep of the 2018 film, Lara is just as smart and resourceful as her video game counterpart, she does more good then harm and the focus is on the characters it should be, namely Lara and Sam.

For this review I'm going to take a leaf out of The Dom's book and look at this as just an adaptation, see what was left in, what was changed and what was left out all together, as to talk about what I like about this films story I might as well talk about the game as they are the same plot so let's look at this fan film but before I do here are my thoughts on the game and this film. BTW, if you don't know who The Dom is here's a link to his twitter page one one to his YouTube page, check him out if you get the chance he does great adaptation reviews and he was nice enough to allow me to use his format of reviewing adaptation for this article. :)

Now let's get down to my thoughts on these two stories on their own merits, starting with the game.

I think it's fairly obvious at this point that I am a huge fan of the most resent incarnation of Tomb Raider and I've talked about a number of elements from the game already so I'll try to keep this bit short. Before playing this game the only Tomb Raider I had any familiarity with was the Angelita Jolie movie which I actually really enjoy despite it's flaws but other then that, I had never played a games so I went into this game not knowing anything about this series but after playing it I am now a huge fan of TR or at least of this incarnation of Lara as I still have yet to play the other games. And there's a good reason for that, it's a good game. Lara is a well rounded and likeable protagonist, Himiko is a fascinating villain and the game play was a lot of fun. Obviously this latest incarnation of TR was inspired by Uncharted, of which I am also a huge fan of, but it has just enough of it's own elements to make it stand out Uncharted and I'm glad that the two have influenced each other in such a positive way and I hope they continue to do so in the near future.

And of course this game introduced one of my favorite characters in the series Samantha Nishimura who I still love to this day and will continue to fight for her return no matter what. Even in the first game Lara and Sam have the most interesting relationship and I can, and have, go on about them, their characters and relationship forever. However, no game is perfect and there are a few issues I have with this game.

First and foremost there are to many characters. Survivor has a grand total of 10 characters and to be honest most of them aren't really needed. I'll get into this a little bit more when I compare the game to the film but you could have removed half these characters and it would have changed nothing. There are also very few quite moments in the game as it's almost always fast paced action which is fine but I would have liked a few moments for the game to have stopped and slowed down. It sort of has that as you are allowed to explore a area you're in to find relics and documents but it's not the same thing as the story just slowing down and letting you and the characters breath. I've read that slower moments will be making their way into Shadow of the Tomb Raider so here's hoping that they, along with Sam, are really in there as action is fun and all but really I do want Lara to be able to catch her breath and just take in everything that's happening.

As for the fan film, like I said before this is a very well made fan film and while it does have the same issues as most fan films do, namely the acting is a little uneven, there's nothing really wrong with it and as for the acting it's not bad and the bits from the films two leads are pretty good IMO. It's well shot, the locations they used were good and it captures the atmosphere of the game really well.

So I honestly recommend the game and suggest checking out the fan film if you were disappointed by the 2018 film like I was.

So with that out of the way here's how the two compare to one another.

What They Didn't Change

Despite the fact that this is a 48 minute film they manage to work in more or less the entire plot of the game without it feeling to condense and cluttered. Both the film and the game fallows a young Lara Croft as she searches for the lost Kingdom Yamatai in an attempt to make a name for herself. She is joined by her best friend Samantha Nishimura who is the one funding this voyage and is also the one who told Lara about Yamatai and the legend of it's ruler Himiko. While Lara and Sam are doing this mostly for the adventure and to make a name for themselves this voyage is to also help a former TV star Dr. James Whitman who is hoping that finding Yamatai will help save his failing TV show but has so far refused to listen to Lara's theories as he doesn't want to risk his carries on her hunches despite the fact that she is the one who actually knows what she is doing why all Whitman is doing is following in the footsteps of others to find Yamatai.

However, Sam encourages Lara to share her ideas with Whitman and Roth, the captain of the ship their on who is also Lara's surrogate father/mentor/dead meat, and while Whitman bitches that he's the one with all the PHD's Roth points out that he's the captain and as Lara is the one who is actually offering a plan that might actually work he decides to follow her lead. The one downside to this is that Lara's idea is to sail into the Dragon's Triangle which is pretty much the Bermuda Triangle if it had a bad temper but Lara is assured that they can sail into it so long as their careful.

Which then leads to the ship getting caught up in a storm that ship wrecks the crew on the very island they were looking for. Naturally Lara feels just a little bit guilty for getting herself and everyone she loves stuck on a island. Thing's only get worse when Lara is able to find Sam again only for Sam to be taken by a unknown man called Mathias after Lara falls asleep after several hours of being awaken and hunting for food.

Lara soon runs into a fellow crew mate, in this case being Whitman but soon the two run into the Solarii. Instead of fighting them Whitman instead makes a deal, if they surrender then the Solarii should take them to their leader but Lara, who has already run into a member of the Solarii who tried to kill her early, knows that these people are not to be trusted but she is tackled to the ground and subdued and taken away. Lara is able to escape but is soon attacked and almost killed by one of the Solarii who she is forced to kill in self-defense. Doing so clearly has a rather traumatic effect on her though this doesn't stop her from killing pretty much every Solarii in her path for the rest of the game or the film. If/when I ever get around to reviewing the game proper and I'll go into my thoughts on it a bit more but the short of it is this, yes Lara does kill several hundred Solarii and later several Trinity soldiers. However, in regards to this game and this film Lara takes no pleasure in these killings and there are several points where she either asks the Solarii to stop so they can talk this out and every time this happens they ignore her and try to kill her so her killing people are either in self defense, preemptive self defense, or in defense of her friends.

So soon after her first kill Lara makes her way to Roth who has just managed to fight off a large pack of wolves but one of them got to his leg so he will be unable to make his way to the radio tower meaning that Lara will have to do that herself though Roth does give her some words of comfort and assures her that she can do this. Lara does make it to the Radio tower but things don't go according to plan and Lara is forced to make a run for it. Soon after that she is taken prisoner by the Stormguards, sort of Zombie Samurai that act as Himiko's personal guards. Luckily Lara is able to escape from where she is being held and soon comes across information that proves that the island she is on is Yamatai and also learns of a ritual that covers how Himiko would chose her successor which includes burning women at the stakes and if they survived then she would transfer her power to them.

Lara is able to escape from the Stormguard and is then soon contacted by Sam who has managed to get a hold of one of the Solarii walky talkies but it doesn't tale long for Sam's guards to discover this and they take her away and the last Lara hears is Sam screaming in terror. Lara makes her way down to the Solarii shanty town and gets there just as the Solarii are preparing to burn Sam at the stake in a recreation of the fire ritual that was used to chose who the next sun queen would be. Lara tries to stop it but is soon over powered and beaten to bloody pulp before Mathias, who is clearly the leader of the Solarii, order his men to stop and has Lara dragged over to where he and Sam are so Lara can have a front row seat to the fire ritual. Mathias then lets the fire and I like that they kept the little bit of Lara telling Sam to look at her as she apologized to her for failing to save her. Luckily for Sam a huge gust of wind blows through the cave and extinguishes the fire. Mathias then has Lara taken away and order Sam to be brought to the throne room.

Lara is able to escape by jumping down a chasm that, luckily for Lara, had a pool of blood to break her fall. While making her way through the cave system she soon learns what happens to others who come to the island as she finds herself in a small prison where the Solarii take survivors of ship wrecks without food or water so they resort to cannibalism which Lara gets to see first hand when she sees someone, who I presume is a fellow crew mate of the Endurance, get eaten alive by the his cell mates soon after getting tossed in the prison.

After making her way through the prison Lara is able to make her way to the throne room where she over hears that Mathias and the Solarii have been looking for Sam for a while now and says that she is the key to them getting off the island. Among his ramblings he makes a passing mention that many have given up their soles willing for this moment which is a sign of just how far Mathis as fallen as by all accounts none of the women who were subjected to the fire ritual went willing and as we learn later, none were made fully aware of what becoming Queen actually meant so they only went willingly because they didn't really know any better and when one of them did learn what becoming queen meant she killed herself rather then submit to the ritual.

Mathias is then told of Lara's escape and tells one of his lieutenant to stay in the throne room and watch Sam while Mathias goes to help search for Lara not knowing that she is in the throne room already and as soon as Mathias and the other Solarii leave Lara kills the only Solarii in the room and reunites with Sam. However, shit hits the fan and during the chaos Lara and Sam are separated but both are able to make it out of the shanty town. Sadly during all this Roth is killed as he is helping Lara escape. The loss of Roth hits Lara harder then anything else that has happened to her so far as he was not only the closest thing Lara had to a father but also the last link to her old life.

After escaping Lara and Sam put as much distance between them and the Solarii as possible. Soon after they run into Whitman who tells them how he was able to escape the Solarii as well but Lara, who is still angry at Whitman for just surrendering to the Solarii and almost getting her killed, doesn't buy his story and indirectly accuses him of betraying her but Lara is convinced to let it go as now is not the time to start fighting among themselves.

Once they are safe Lara learns through a series of journals, among which is a journal from one of Himiko's Generals who reveals that what is causing the storms is a dead body where the ritual to chose the next queen took place. With this Lara figures out that she might be able to stop the storms and allow them to escape the island. However, soon after this Lara and Sam are betrayed by Whitman who, to the surprise of no one, is working with the Solarii in a attempt to kill the remaining survivors of the Endurance crew so he can become the soul survivor of this expedition to become famous again. With Whitman's betrayal the Solarii are able to capture Sam again and take her to where the dead body is located. Lara soon learns that Himiko is some kind of spirit who transfers her soul into a new body and is the one controlling the storms and that Sam is the one she has chosen as her new host.

Lara fights her way through dozens of Solarii, storm guards and even fights and kills Mathias before she is finally able to reach Sam and Himiko. Lara stabs Himiko in the heart thus saving Sam and stopping the storms. Both the game and the movie end with Lara and Sam leaving the island, revealed that the horrible ordeal is over.

So despite being only 48 minutes long the film managed to get pretty much every major plot point from the game along with all of Lara and Sam's character growth without feeling forced or rushed. Of course, as the Dom would say, the real test of any adaptation is going to be seen in...

What They Changed

The film gives just a little more screen time to Sam, while she had a lot of screen time in the original game there were a few things this film added that either didn't happen in the game or did happen but were off screen as it were. First we have little things like Sam running into Mathias while she is lost on the island after arriving and her being held in the Solarii prison before she gets a hold of a radio to contact Lara. The film also adds in a few scenes like Sam having visions of Himiko which I can understand as given that this is a fan film and couldn't afford to do things like having Lara run from a crashing plane and in a helicopter as it also crashes so they needed to establish Himiko's supernatural powers in some other way.

One thing that was added that I didn't get was a bit where after Lara is knocked out and captured by the Stormguard Lara has a dream where Sam stabs Lara and is then horrified by what she just did. It's a very well done scene that is strange as a dream like that would be but I have to admit that I found it just a little bit detracting. Another thing that was changed is that instead of Lara finding a series of documents while traveling Yamatai looking for Sam and her fellow crew mates that's all condensed down into Sam stealing Mathias' journal that has all the documents that has all the plot relevant stuff and her just giving Lara said journal soon after they meet up.

I don't mind this change as, unlike the 2018 film, all Sam did was find something Lara needed and gave it to her. This isn't like the film where Richard ended up doing all the work while Lara was just following his notes as Lara is still the one who figures out what all this means. All Sam did was find said documents and gave them to Lara when she needed them, she didn't solve the mystery for Lara she just saved her, and the viewer, the leg work of going around the island and finding the documents.

It also makes sense that Mathias would have these journals as he's been on the island for years and has been learning everything there is to know about Himiko and her power over the island so it would make sense that he would have documents about Himiko just lying around. Plus it gives Sam something else to do instead of just being captured without taking away any of Lara's achievements which is again in direct contrast to the resent film which took not only all of Sam's contributions to Richard but also all of Lara's contributions. There's a difference between a character finding a puzzle box to give to the hero and someone telling the hero how to solve said puzzle box.

And before I go lets talk about the fact that Sam is very clearly Caucasian in this film while she is Japanese-Portuguese in the games but TBH that's not as much of a issue here as it is in a Hollywood movie as this is just two fans of a game playing characters they love and nothing more.

So, yeah, not a while lot to talk about in this section as while they changed things they're pretty reasonable changes and none of them hurt the story in anyway. Next bit.

What They Left Out All Together

So in the bit where I talked about one of my issues in the first game being that I felt it had to many characters and how I would get more into that in the comparison, well here's where that point comes in. The fan film cuts out Grim, Alex, Reyes and Jonah all together leaving only the characters that, to be perfectly frank, actually had some significants to the plot, Lara, Sam, Roth, Whitman, Mathias and Himiko.

And, to be honest, I actually didn't mind this. At all as, in my opinion, the other characters really didn't add anything. Grim and Alex are only really there to die and frankly all their deaths really did was add to Lara's guilt and neither really effected her as much as Roth's death. Reyes was just there to remind Lara of her guilt and didn't really do anything and Jonah...

I just want to repeat this as I have said it before, I do like Jonah but to be blunt he hasn't really done anything note worthy in the series so far. His biggest contribution to the game was giving Lara a new bow and insisting that they needed to keep working together to get off the island. He doesn't add anything to Lara's character that Sam doesn't already add and while he is played by a awesome actor, (seriously I've actually tweeted with Jonah's actor, Earl Baylon, he's a really nice guy :)) I don't get why the series insists on keeping him around above Sam. Even in the first game Sam has a more defined and fleshed out character who adds more to the series and Lara then Jonah ever has and as much as I like him I honestly wasn't bothered by his appearance in this film because, again, he didn't really do anything in either A Survivor is Born or Rise of the Tomb Raider. Hopefully he will be put to better use Shadow of the Tomb Raider but I'm honestly half excepting him to only play a bit part in the first hour and then disappear for most of the game before coming back for the last few minutes or so. I want to be wrong on this point, I want to see him be useful and put Baylon to good use but please Bring Back Sam as there is room enough for both Sam and Jonah and if you keep insisting that Lara needs to do this alone then why does she keep bringing Jonah with her?

Okay, rant over, back to comparing things here. Now for those of you who've read my review of the 2018 film, you'll recall that I was rather annoyed at the film giving all of Lara and Sam's contributions to Richard so with this game removing so many characters is there anything how many of their contributions get handed over to Lara or Sam. Surprisingly, one, recall that I mentioned that Lara was convinced to work with Whitman despite not trusting him, well that was done by Reyes and Jonah while in the fan film it was done by Sam. And that's it, Lara, Sam nor Roth take any of the plot contributions.

Alex's death in the game felt rather pointless and unneeded as did he's out of nowhere crush on Lara that was never brought up before and never mentioned again. Same thing with Grim and his death, all it does is show that the situation is serious which we already knew given everything Lara had already gone through so far. Removing both Alex and Grim doesn't really effect the plot all that much and makes Roth's death all the more impactful when it happens.

Removing the other characters also meant that a number of missions from the game were also left out like Lara trying to make her way down to where Sam, Jonah, Reyes and Alex were as there was no way Lara would leave Sam alone so them splitting up wouldn't make any sense. This also includes bits like Lara trying to make her way into the Solarii Shanty Town where she met up with Grim. There's also a number of other missions missing like Lara running from the crashing plane that she called in for help which was the first real sign that there was something supernatural going on with Yamatai.

That was replaced with Sam's visions of Himiko while she was being held captive as mentioned earlier, also missing is Lara's fight with the remaining Solarii and Himiko's storm guard along with Whitman's death which was Mathias using the dumb ass as a decoy so he and Sam could enter the ritual chamber. Also while the film managed to work in all the documents that were most important to the plot sadly a number of character related documents were removed, most likely due to the films run time so we sadly skip Whitman's obsession with wanting fame and ignoring the fact that Mathias and the Solarii are insane.

Final Thoughts

While Legacy left out a lot of characters and missions from A Survivor is Born I honestly wasn't bothered by it like I was with the 2018 movie as the film removed the characters that were the least important, as far as the games went, to the plot. Between the two I would say that Survivor is the stronger of the two but Legacy was a faithful adaptation who's changes to the plot were understandable due to the films much smaller budget and run time that still managed to capture what made the game so successful. And in some ways I think it improved on the story by keeping the focus on Lara and Sam's relationship and it continues to highlight what is missing from the 2018 movie and Rise of the Tomb Raider. That Sam adds more to Lara's character and attempting to replace her with someone else will doesn't work.

And it really bugs me that a 48 minute fan film was able to do what a almost 2 hour movie couldn't, which was make me care about the characters by telling a standalone story about two young women trapped on a island and doing what they can to get off was more compelling then anything done in the 2018 movie. And the fan film didn't need to dumb down Lara and give all her achievements to Sam to make us relate to either Lara or Sam.

In short good fan film, good game goodbye beautiful readers. :)
Since I want to avoid talking about Star Wars, (it's like avoiding a spouse, we're going to need some serious couple consoling at this point :p) and I've talked to death about Shadow of the Tomb Raider I decided to talk about something a bit more fun an talk about what I would like to see in a hypothetical sequel for Ready Player One. Before I do here are my thoughts in regards to Ready Player One.

On the whole, I really like it, it was fun, had likable characters and it really got gaming, why we love games, what makes them work and, through never directly saying it, helps shows why games, like movies, TV Shows or any form of entertainment is a art. It really is the best video game movie ever made as it, more then any other video game movie, captures what makes video games work. Sure it's also loaded with pop-culture references up the wazoo but when I was watching this film it did video game movies almost always fail to do which is making you feel like an actual game.

Gaming as a number of limitations when it comes to writing, more so then any other form of media. The first of which being that the player characters almost always have to be the ones winning meaning you have to make the villains enough of a threat that they stand in the way of the heroes goal but are never able to really stop them and if they do it has to be down to gameplay reasons, forcing players to lose because of a cutscene that is outside of our control is cheap and lazy.

Ready Player One actually took that into account as it is written in a way that makes it feel like the characters are playing a game as the villains almost never give the heroes a break but when you get down to it the heroes are always the ones that are coming out on top.

It also had a good balance of puzzle solving and action, another common trope that is almost always featured in games. But what I find most impressive is that the film knew when to stop and take a breath unlike most video game movies which almost never have quite moments. I'm not talking about exposition scenes where the characters pretty much look at the camera and go, you are suppose to care about what happens to us and what we hope to accomplish. Instead it has moments where the characters are just talking, were we get to see them open up to each other which always us to care about them and helps us root for them when they go up against the impossible and hope that they can achieve them.

Yes, actions scenes are fun, conversations about the nature of good and evil can sound interesting but in the end nothing is going to make you connect to a character more then watching them try out every outfit while getting ready for a date with someone they like.

For me, Ready Player One, while not an adaptation of an actual game, it's based on a novel in fact, is my Gold Standard for how a video game movie adaptation should be handled. It's not perfect but it's what I expect from a popcorn flick, a lot of fun to watch and one I will likely be watching again in the near future.

So, now that we've got the review for the first film out of the way let's talk about what I would want to see in a sequel for this film.

Main Cast and Title

So first off let's talk about who would be the focus of this film, one thing I would like to do is keep original cast out of this story, or at least give them much smaller roles. Their journey is done, they accomplished everything they set out to do, their journey is complete, there's no need for them to have a story that would undo that, at least not right now. So for a sequel have new characters with new goals and the title can reflect that with one simple change from the films first title and I'm pretty sure you can all guess as to what that change would be, Ready Player Two.

As for the main cast, will cover this a bit more in the next bit but I would keep it simple, four to five characters, all of whom come together to finish something complete a task that none of them can finish on their own. Each other their own reason for doing this challenge but in the end they come form a strong kinship with each other which is key to them finishing their task.

As for the villains, as IOI was defeated the villain of this film should also be different, with them being a threat/obstacle to these specific characters and this specific film. Whereas Nolan Sorrento was a greedy Corrupt Corporate Executive who only wanted to Oasis for the money it could give him this villain I would much rather have be a more charming rogue, who is just as likable as the heroes and instead of him wanting to rule the world he just wants to keep what's his. And to continue to contrast with Sorrento when he losses he's actually impressed with the heroes and accepts defeat with dignity unlike Sorrento who was just a sour loser.

Goals and Motives

To help contrast with the fist film the motivation in this film is more personal and less global. The villain does not threaten anyone but the heroes, said heroes are doing what they are doing for a noble, if someone personal, goal. Said goal doesn't threaten the safety of the Oasis and determine the fate of the future. The goal is simple, the films lead is trying to raise money to save the place where she is from and to do that she needs to rob from the most secure "Casino" in the Oasis. It's pretty much the Blues Brother's meets Oceans 11, except everyone isn't as stoic. As for the other, well I really just started on this idea so I don't completely have their reasons for doing this sorted out, right now this is just the basic back bone of the idea for a sequel.

However, one of the motives of the heroes is a bit of a mystery that is unraveled as the film goes on though it is nothing sinister or dark. They aren't doing this as some elaborate form of revenge, they have no real connection to the films hero until this movie, it's again very personal which is they need the money from this highest to pay for something. Well cover what that motive is at when we get to the character arcs.

As for the "villain" as said before he's really just interested in keeping what's his, the films McGuffin, which is undefined at this point but is most likely a rare item that is worth millions. Obviously that is something no one would really want to lose hence why it is so hard to get which leads us right into.

Action and Obstacles

Obviously, given how often they dominate the conversation of the first film, the three challenges from the first film were the most popular part of the first movie, the chase scene at the start of the movie, the Shining "Level" in the middle of the movie and the Big Damn Action scene at the end of the film which featured, among other things, Mechagodzilla fighting The Iron Giant and Mobile Suit Gundam. So for this we're going to do things similar but different namely...

The big fight featuring giants duking it out takes place at the start of the film and with the roles somewhat reversed. The first 15 to 20 minutes of the movie will be dedicated to the films hero, where our protagonist, let's just call her Jenny for right now, calls up her old online friend to help her in a highest to steal the films McGuffin along with the other characters. Over time she starts to get them into the idea though there is obviously a lot of risk in this as few have tried this and none of won.

Then, as Jenny is still trying to convince the films Deuteragonist, let's just call them Alex for right now, and the others of her plan something happens that none of them were expecting, the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man has been summed by a separate player in order to steal the very McGuffin our heroes are after and while it's unlikely that it will work Jenny cannot risk them getting their hands on it so summons her Mech to deal with Stay Puft, the Dragon Zord from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Only in Ready Player series could you get away with a statement like that.

Anyways, while the Dragon Zord is powerful, Stay Puft is just stronger and soon Jenny is on the defensive though she is putting up a good fight. One thing that will be made clear during the film is that Jenny, Alex and the other characters were also in a guild but for reasons that are either never clarified or are covered in the first act or over the course of the film. split up. As such they all have the rest of the Original MMPR Zords, or at least the Saber Tooth Tiger, Triceratops and the Mastodon, and call them in one by one to help Jenny beat Stay Puft.

During the fight the player that summoned Stay Puft try to take out Jenny by getting on the Dragon Zord but Alex jumps in to protect her using the Blades of Chaos while wearing the Shield-Weaver armor from Horizon Zero Dawn to fight them. Again, this is something that you could only say in the Ready Player series. They first fight on the Dragon Zord, and then have to maneuver around while it's combines with the other Zords to form Dragonzord Fighting Mode (on a side note that name as always bugged me. Couldn't they have thought up a cooler name). At one point Alex and the rivals player jump from the MegaDragonzord and onto Stay Puft's shoulder where they fight for a little longer but during the fight Alex gets a hit on the rival players controller that he used to summon Stay Puft which causes Stay Puft to notice the two of them fighting and processed to brush them off. Alex gets off in time but the rival player is not so luck and gets knocked off Stay Puft's shoulder and is taken out of the game. Jenny and the others, in the MegaDragonzord catch Alex and help them into the Zord so they can use it's finishing movie to finish off Stay Puft. However, our heroes get a bit of help as during the fight, before they combined their Zords, Stay Puft had managed to get to the casino but just as it reached it a lightning storm hit it which forced it back and weakened it allowing Jenny and the others to finish it.

By putting the big fight at the start of the film it provides viewers with what they expect to see and by showing what happened to Stay Puft it helps show why a frontal assault wouldn't work. Stay Puft was strong enough to almost destroy the Dragon Zord and even injured it gave the MegaDragonZord a Run for it's money. So if someone as powerful as Stay Puft could be so easily pushed back from the Casino then the only way to get what they want is to go the highest route.

After this is the highest itself and the chase scene, though those two are combined instead of taking part at completely different times in the film as the McGuffin has to be taken out of the city the Casino is in otherwise it's still the property of the villain, who we will just call the Owner.

Now unlike other highest movies, where we are told the plan bit by bit so we know what's going to go wrong when they go to pull off the plan we are only give bits a pieces of information of what the heroes plan to do while most of the film is character stuff and most of the action is the Owner sending a few of his henchmen after them. We'll cover the characters stuff in a bit for right now let's get down to the highest.

After a few failed attempts on them the Rangers, our heroes, go to pull off the highest, with Alex being the one to go get the McGuffin, Jenny detracting the Owner, one of the others working as a decoy to draw attention away from and the final member being the one who hacks the cameras and alarms.

Thanks to the efforts of the fourth character Alex is able to get to the vault with no real issue but the real problem comes when they are confronted by the vaults guards who are designed to look like Lord Voldemort, Darth Vader, Magneto and Ganondorf. During this fight Alex Morphs into the Green MMPR and fights them with the Dragon Dagger and the Red Ranger Sword, (Jenny gave them that earlier). While Alex puts up a good fight, and is able to take out at least Voldemort they are simply out matched but is able to get the McGuffin and get out. However, doing so drew the attention of the other guards resulting in everyone needing to make a run for it.

This leads us into the big chase scene which works as the real climax of the movie and it uses the craziness of world of the Oasis to it's fullest and the Owner has set up this city to work as a means to keep everyone trapped should the McGuffin ever be stolen. On top of that Vader, Magneto and Ganondorf, who has now changed into one of the Ganon forms to chase our hour heroes are also after them.

Bit by bit Jenny and the others manage to take out the remaining Big Bosses and find a way out of the City and, eventually, escape with the McGuffin. As stated above, the Owner isn't frothing at the mouth that he lost but is instead impressed with our heroes, he's a bit annoyed at first but after a moment smiles at their resourcefulness and creativity. At the end of the film he even meets with them in real life to personally congratulate them to show that there are no hard feelings but will cover that a bit more in...

Character Arcs

The overall arc of the Rangers is to for them to reconnect with one another which we see in both the action scenes and the films more quite moments. As with the first film, while a lot of the action and character interaction takes place in the Oasis, there's a bit more time to the character hanging out in the real world and unlike RPO where the real world was dark and filthy here it's a bit more green and earthy, showing the positive effect the heroes of first film have had after taking over. Sure the Oasis is still important and still a big part of the world but things are better then they were before.

Jenny arc is very similar to Jake Blues from the Blues Brothers in that she has made a few mistakes but is trying to save the place that raised her by getting the money in a legitimate way and only in a sequel to Ready Player One could committing a highest be considered a legitimate and legal means of getting money.

The Owner set up this challenge to see if anyone could steal from him mostly as a sign of his pride to show that no one could unless they were as smart as him, so this theft is completely legal but very default. Alex's arc is about them coming to grips with who they are and being able to except that openly. You may have noticed that I never referred to Alex by gender during all this, well that's because they are transgender being open about one self is a major theme of this film. The reason they are involved in this highest is to get enough money in order to pay for a sex change operation so they can become who they feel they should be.

For the record, while Alex goal is to get enough money for the sex change they are not defined by them being transgender but rather being open about it with others. Alex most notable character trait is their loyalty to the other members of their guild. Alex is the first to step in to defend Jenny during her fight with Stay Puft, they are the ones who goes to fight directly with the player who summed Stay Puft and the reason they go down to the vault is because they feel they are the best suited for it, which they are as the fight with the rival player showed as fighting on two giant shoulders isn't a easy feet.

As you can also likely guess, Jenny and Alex's relationship is the one that receives the most focus in their guild though at this point I'm not sure if it's romantic or not as I've only recently created these two but it's either going to be stated or heavily implied that the reason the Rangers broke up was due to a fallout between Jenny & Alex and whatever Alex did in the real world played a key part in that and why the others are so hesitant to work with her again.

The Zord fight at the start of the film is meant to show the characters relationship in a nutshell. Apart, they are strong but only together, can they hope to win.

As for the Owner, while he's meant to be likable he is somewhat arrogant and prideful, not believing that he's challenge can be beaten. And that isn't unearned as there have been several attempts to steal his McGuffin and none have succeeded and this has been going on for 3 years now. As shown at the start of the film, no frontal assault would ever work due to the protection spell and no one had ever been able to get around the security inside the Casino. The only reason that the Rangers get in is because Jenny had been planning this highest for years and had gathered everything she could find on the Casino.

Throughout the film the Owner chats up the Rangers a few times but mostly interacts with Jenny as he figures that she is either the leader or the one with the plan. The first few conversations are a bit tense but as time passes the Owner grows a bit found of the Rangers. His arc is pretty straight forward, he finds equals in the Rangers and after he losses, excepts defeat and decides to donate to Jenny's causes and becomes a more open person.

In many ways the Owner is Ebenezer Scrooge if he wasn't so uptight to start with as he does horde his money and is a bit selfish but his encounter with Rangers changes him and helps him become a better person, even if that's not what the rangers intended.

And that's it for my ideas for Ready Player Two. What's you guess thing of it, like, dislike, great potential for world building characters or should the first film just be left alone. Let me know in the comments below. :)
Okay, its' been about 4 months since I decided to step away from Star Wars for a while, maybe I need to take a break from Tomb Raider and see how things are going on with my favorite series. So how have things been since I left?

Ah shit, I'm going back to Tomb Raider.
Spoiler Warning for Dragon Age Inquisition

Taking a break from Tomb Raider for a bit, one game that I am really looking forward to is Dragon Age 4 and recently I've been replaying the series and watching a series of fan theories from fellow Dragon Age fans about what may happen in DA4, how the story will unfold, how we intend stop Solas from bringing back the Elvin gods and other plot points like the mystery of the Titans, where the remaining Old Gods are, what the Qunari are planning and so on.

However, here's something I was thinking about for a while and that is in regards to Solas and his plan. However, given that Solas as a key member of the Inquisition he is fully aware of how the organization works, who runs it, who the key members are and who their allies are. Add to that your final choice of the game is to either Reform the Inquisition, in which they will be more powerful but efforts to stop Solas will be less secure as it's made clear that he and the Qunari have several spies working within the Inquisition. Or you can disband the Inquisition which will make the order more secure but you will be less powerful to stop Solas.

In the very last cutscene The Inquisitor will declare that they will stop, either by trying to redeem him or kill him no matter what, by gathering people who Solas doesn't know before stabbing a dagger into the map that shows Tevinter. The implication of this is obvious, we're going to Tevinter to gain allies in a place Solas has very little interest in and fewer connections to, as far as we know, in order to match our forces to his so we can stop him.

At this point in the series it is pretty much confirmed that we are going to Tevinter not only due to the ending of Trespasser but also with the tie-in comics Knight Errant which introduces two characters who I assume are going to join you as companions Fereldan knight Ser Aaron and an elven cat-burglar Vaea who also happens to be Aaron's squire, and their story ends with them also heading to Tevinter.

So, yeah, we are heading to Tevinter for the next Dragon Age game... however I don't think we will be confronting Solas and trying to stop his plan. My theory is whatever is going to happen in Tevinter Solas will either not appear or will not play a major role and that Solas' grand plan will not come to fruition until DA5. Remember at the end of Trespasser while the Inquisitor says that they will stop/save Solas from himself their goal for right now is to gain allies and forces that have little to no connection to the Inquisition. And one thing that has been a recurring theme among fan theories about DA4 is that there's way to much going on.

One theory video had the player character, taking over Tevinter, defeating the Qunari invasion and stopping Solas with the stinger show the Architect awakening the last two Old Gods and corrupting them into Archdemons while also doing the same to a Titan. All of which was really awesome, and would likely never happen in DA4 as the developers have said that DA4 would be more focused on characters and stories and with all this amazing things there would be little to no room for character development.

Odds are good that DA4 will be meant to work as set up for DA5, and that DAI, DA4 and DA5 will work as a sort of Trilogy that covers the overall conflict between the Inquisitor and Solas and that we won't be dealing with Solas' plan until DA5. My theory is that DA4 will be all about gaining power and forces in Tevinter and that the main antagonist of DA4 will be the Qunari as the biggest bits of set up in Trespasser, along with your conflict with Solas, was that the Qun was redirecting efforts to conquer Tevinter. Also, Dorian is made the Magister at the end of DAI regardless if you helped him mend his relationship with his father or not and it's made clear that Dorian, along with his friend Maevaris, are working to reform Tevinter so it will not be as horrible as it is right now so except them to join you in DA4 as either companions or advisories.

So between the conflict with the Qunari, trying to either reform or reinforce Tevinter's worst traits, not to mention helping your companions in their personal quests along with your own personal journey of trying to lead this story there's not a whole lot of room for dealing with Solas and his plan. Though I have no doubt that he will show up and try to hinder your efforts in building a force to stop him but the Qunari are likely to be DA4's main antagonists while Solas works in the back ground, manipulating events but not getting directly involved otherwise.

Admittedly I could be completely wrong about this and DA4 will be mostly about trying to stop Solas but given that has said that they have planned out both DA4 and DA5's stories and that having a game that has the player trying to stop a villain from ending the world after just dealing with a villain from trying to end the world would be a bit repetitive so having us deal with a "smaller" threat like the Qunari would be a nice way to keep the bigger world ending threats feel more fresh.

So that's my theory for DA4, it will mostly be setting up for DA5 but will tells it's own story with it's own threat ad DA5 is when we finally deal with Solas. So what do you guys think of this idea, agree, disagree. Let me know in the comment section as I would love to hear what you think and while we're at it let me know what your theories are for Dragon Age's future.
So going back to the 2018 Tomb Raider movie, one of my major issues with the film is that Lara was useless at best and an idiot who only made the villains job easier at worst. Now I have heard a few bits a defense of this film are things like, "Well Lara made mistakes in the games" and "Well Indiana Jones was also a failure hero so it would make sense that Lara would be one too."

To address the first allow me to say this, LARA CROFT IS NOT INDIANA JONES!!! Yes she was inspired by him and originally was meant to be a blatant rip-off of Indy but she has become her own character and therefore saying that she is a failure hero like Indy doesn't work as she isn't Indy and shouldn't be him. Second while Indy in Raiders of the Lost Arc was pretty much useless in the grand scheme of things and made the villains job easier on a scene by scene look Indy is anything But a failure hero as he succeeds at everything he does and the villains just get lucky by getting the drop on him.

Indy gets the Idol in the first scene in the movie, he saves Marian, fights off several armed thugs, finds the Arc, gets out of a death trap and reclaims the arc soon after and understands what he and Marian have to do in order to survive the Arcs wrath. What does Lara in the 2018 film succeed at doing? Well, she got her ass handed to her during a cage match when we first see her, gets arrested during a fox chase, only finds Yamatai by following her father's notes and had to be told something so obvious that even I noticed it upon first viewing, only escaped because the guy she hired told her to, got captured by Trinity a second time and was forced to open Himiko's Tomb and stopped Vogel from escaping with Himiko's thumb.

What's worse is that Lara is told by her father what she is up against and why she has to destroy his research but instead she doesn't do what she is told and instead does the very thing he warned her not to do which gives Trinity what they need. Then later, when Lara meets up with Richard, he again tells her not to do something and she does the exact opposite of what he says and this ends in her and her father getting captured and Richard getting killed.

In Tomb Raider: A Survivor is Born it is Lara's idea to sail into the Dragon's Triangle and she does get captured a few times when going against the advice of her father figure Roth. However, one thing that has to be taken into account is the context of these situations. Yes it was Lara's idea but it should be noted that there is plenty of blame to go around, Sam, Roth and Grim all supported Lara's idea to sail into the Triangle and while Whitman and Jonah were against it the rest supported Lara's idea. Also Lara was not aware of the supernatural threat of Yamatai which, let's be honest, isn't something anyone would really be able to take into account. And the only other time Lara "screws up" is when she goes against Roth's advice to not rescue the captain of the plane that crashed which results in her getting captured by Mathias who uses said captain to capture Lara.

And then there's Rise of the Tomb Raider and Shadow of the Tomb Raider. In the former Lara leads Trinity to the Deathless Prophets Tomb and later to Kitezh which almost leads them to acquiring the Divine Source. And in Shadow Lara takes a dagger and in doing so starts the apocalypse due to her not understanding what the dagger did. I'm not going into detail as we would be here all day, and because I have actually seen the demo for Shadow so I don't know all the details there but the point remains the same. In all three games Lara is not made fully aware of the threat she is up against and her impulsive decision to follow through on her idea is a character flaw, one that she has yet to truly over come.

The Lara in the resent film on the other hand is just a idiot who IS made fully aware of what she is up against and is told how to avoid making the situation worse only for her to go ahead and do the very thing she is warned not to do which results in making the situation worse. Lara and Indy are flawed characters who make mistakes and it's debatable whether either of them ever really learn from their mistakes but neither of them could really be called idiots. Both prove in their respective adventures that they are intelligent and resourceful people who are a force to be reckoned with while the Lara in the 2018 movie is just a idiot who is only useful when she does what she is told.

And why was Lara less competent in the film then she was in the games, and please note that in Survivor Lara went to college and majored in archeology while in the movie she is a college drop out and has to be told the blindly obvious to figure anything out, and even then she'll likely find a way to screw it up. Because it was the only way to make Richard look better by comparison. No really think about it. If Lara was made out to be as smart as she was in the games and had all of her accomplishments and her original motivation, which was first her trying to make a name for herself and then trying to save her friends, then there would be no point in Richard would there?

So for this film to work Lara had to be dumbed-down, her common sense removed along with her motivation completely altered in order to make Richard fit in a story that he originally had nothing to do with. And really there was no need for that as shown in the fan film Tomb Raider: Legacy, a fan film adaptation of Survivor, managed to tell the entire story of the first game in 48 minutes and it didn't need to dumbed-down any of the characters to make the plot work. And really when a fan film that doesn't even have half the budget and half the run time of a feature length film is able to tell a more faithful version of the game the film is supposedly based on then your film has a problem.

There are so many reasons I hate the 2018 film and turning Lara into a idiot in order to make her father look better is not something that should have even made it past the idea phase.
For anyone who has been following me for a while you may have noticed that I am rather passionate about the Tomb Raider series, specifically the third series which will be releasing it's third game, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, in what fans have dubbed the Survivor's Timeline. And if you have been following me so far you will also know that I have grown to love one of the games characters who is original to this incarnation of Tomb Raider, Samantha "Sam" Nishimura. And for those of you wondering, "Are you ever going to give up on her returning?

Nope! Not giving up on one of my favorite characters in the series, I have been fighting for her return for almost six years and I will continue to fight for her return until she is back. Not as a glorified cameo, not as someone who is now a enemy of Lara, (as given everything the two have risked to save and protect one another that would be like Spock turning on Kirk it's just wouldn't fit their characters). Not as a background character or reprising her role as Damsel in Distress but as Lara's in game partner be it as a helpful voice over the radio or, preferably, as competent AI companion who helps Lara out in combat, puzzles and stealth.

And as the resent God of War proved, you can give a classic loner character a side kick and make the story about their relationship, in that games case a father and son, and not only will no one be bothered by it but it helps add to the characters and Lara and Sam have the added advantage of already having a interesting and fleshed out relationship. Which brings me to the point of this article which is about Lara relationship with her father Lord Richard Croft.

Now one thing I've mentioned before is that I don't actually mind the "Finishing a Parents Work" Trope as it is rather common in the Indiana Jones Action/Adventure Genre. It was used in Uncharted 4 & 5 and you could argue was used in Raiders of the Lost Arc as Indy and his love interest Marian were largely trying to finish the works of the latter's father work and yes, Tomb Raider has used this in a number of its games. Hell you can even say that this genre is all about finishing someone else's journey, Uncharted 1 and 3 are all about Nate trying to find a treasure that Sir Frances Drake, Nate's supposed ancestor, was looking for while Uncharted 2 is about following in the foot steps of the famed Marco Polo to find Shambala.

However, as I've also said in the before, the real problem with this is that Tomb Raider has over used this Trope as Lara has been dealing with her father's enemies and while trying to finish her father's work for to long. In fact I think the only time that Richard was not the focus was in the Legend's Timeline game Tomb Raider: Underworld which focused instead of Lara's mother Amelia Croft where the plot was Lara trying to find her mother only for her to be a zombie or a ghost, I can't remember off the top of my head. However, the problem with Underworld, Rise of the Tomb Raider, the first TR movie staring Angelita Jolie, the resent TR film and, to a lesser extent, the Rise's DLC Blood Ties is the same, there's is no connection between the audience and the character.

Now to clarify I am not calling Richard or Amelia bad characters, at least as far as the Survivor's Timeline goes as I do think that they are very well written and are fully fleshed out characters in their own right. The problem is more to do with their relationship between them and their daughter. In every story I have mentioned neither Richard or Amelia spend little to no time with the Lara we, the players and viewers, have come to know. The Lara who has grown up and fought her way through Hell to save her friends, the Lara who has had to kill in order to survive, who saw horrors her parents have never seen and still haunt her very nightmares. The Lara who has had to grow up without the two of them and can barely remember then but is still fighting to make sure the world doesn't forget them while giving up her own life to do so which is something no parent wants for their child.

Let look at Blood Ties for a moment as it is, in my opinion, the best written out of all the stories I have mentioned or the ones that I have at least seen. Blood Ties is a zero action story driven DLC that focuses on the characters. This DLC was released about a year after Rise was released, remember that we'll come back to it later, and is about Lara trying to find her father's last will and testament to prove that she is the rightful heir to the Croft Esta and all it's holdings. This DLC is set in the Croft mansion as Lara looks through her family history and on the way learns everything there is to know about her father and her mother and this is why I feel that the two, in this game at least, are well written characters because in the snap on 2 hours we see the two grow and change as we go through their life. Hear about how they met, how they challenged one another and grew to love one another and build a life together. We learn how Richard grew obsessed with finding the secret to immortality and how Amelia died and how that effected Richard, his friends and family.

If you are reading this and ever plan on getting Rise of the Tomb Raider then I highly recommend buying all story based DLCs and playing Blood Ties as soon as possible as it adds so much to the games story and to Lara's journey in this game. However, the problem still persists as even though we get two hours of getting to know Richard and Amelia we never form a connection with them the same way we did with Sam in the first game.

Remember how I mentioned that BT was released a year after Rise, well here's where the problem comes in as while Richard was well written in Rise all he was in the core came was a voice on some old tapes Lara has with her and a faceless ghost in a few flashbacks of said flashbacks there are only 3 and there are in the first 3 to 4 hours of the game. Why is this a problem? Because in all these tapes and flashbacks he and Lara are only interacting for about 5 minutes and in those 5 minutes Richard's face is never clearly seen so a consequence of this that while we come to understand Lara's connection with her father and know why she's doing all she is doing we, the players, never really get to form a connection with Richard. For us he is just a voice that talks about his work and how much he loves his daughter. It takes about 40 minutes to a hour before we get the first flashback with Richard and like I said we never get a clear look at either him or Lara and while we can feel the love between father and daughter it is all to fleeting.

What's worse is that the scene is dominated by Richard and his obsession in his work and the scene is almost immediately followed by a action scene which is not helped at just how fast passed the flashback with Richard is so the players have no real time to process what we have just seen which means that the moment where Richard is suppose to connect with the player we are instead focusing killing a much of enemies.

Take this in contrasts with Sam's first scene in Survivor. Like with Richard we met Sam in the "past" as we are watching a recording she made of her and Lara talking about Lara sharing her theory of where Yamatai could be. Now while this scene is met to help set up Lara's guilt as we learn it was her idea to sail into the Dragon's Triangle the point of this scene is to show the connection between Lara & Sam and what helps is that the mission that follows right after this is a calm hunt scene with nothing to stressful happening as all Lara is doing is hunting a dear so she has something to eat. Soon after this Lara runs into Sam who is then taken by Mathias and while we get a little bit of action with Lara killing some wolves that are trying to kill her but for the most part the mission is largely devoid of action and what's more is that we find a few documents from Sam which cover her sense of unease as they approach Yamatai, her frustration with dealing with Whitman and most importantly her relationship with Lara.

This all happens in about 17 minutes between the cutscenes and the audio files you find and this all happens during the games tutorial levels which take about half a hour to finish. Within the first part of the game we learn more about Sam then we do about Richard throughout all of Rise so we fully understand the connection between Lara and Sam but there is also a connection between Sam and the player. Sam sense of humor helps lighten the situation, her loyalty to Lara as she states that she is going to make sure that Lara gets the critic she deserves for finding Yamatai also helps endear her to player which contrasts nicely with Whitman's more selfish and self centered character. And Sam encouraging Lara to follow her gut and share her ideas helps bring out the best in Lara which helps us see how smart she is.

But there is no such scene like this between Lara or either of her parents, even when taking time travel back from the dead tropes which are taken into account as, as I said before, the Lara who Richard and Amelia knew is not the same person as the Lara the player has come to know so if/when they do meet their connection isn't as strong as the one Lara has with Sam.

Take the films for example, in both cases the writers included Richard in the story proper, one with Lara using a form of time travel to meet him in some kind of limbo, past... thing and with the most resent film Richard is not, in fact, dead but is instead alive & well and has spending years on the island trying to avoid Trinity. Both bring the character into the film rather late in the game and neither one works because there is no real time in getting to know them and their relationship with Lara. All we ever get, and this is true of every incarnation of Lara's parents, they love their daughter want to see her happy.

And in any case were they turn out to be alive or what have you, they always dominated the scenes in one form or another as, well, they were dead until then so naturally the scene kind of has to revolve around them. To take a look at Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade which is all about Indy bounding with his father. Now unlike Lara parents, Sir Frances Drake, Cassandra Morgan and Chloe's father Indy's father is very much alive and unlike Lara we never really see the relationship they had but rather see the relationship they build together over the course of TLC.

Also, as Henry has not been dead in anyway shape or form, and despite being played by the awesome Sean Connery he doesn't dominate the scenes he and Indy share as the film is about father and son rebuilding their broken relationship the story is about them as equals. In Tomb Raider when the subject turns to Lara's parents they almost always take over the story and Lara becomes more of a means to tell their story instead of using her parents help explore Lara's character. Now that is not always the case, the first movie and Rise both use Lara's parents to further explore Lara's character as seeing her past helps informs us about who she is today or at least helps show how far she has come as a person.

Another example as to why Henry, and by extension Sam, works while Richard and Amelia don't is to compare when each is put in danger. In The Last Crusade Henry is shot by the villain in order to force Indy to get the Holy Grail for him as it is the only thing that can save Henry and in A Survivor is Born and the tie-in comic Choice and Sacrifice Sam is at risk of losing her very soul and Lara goes through Hell to find save her. In the games since Richard and Amelia are well and truly dead, for the moment anyway, they're clearly in no danger and what Lara is fighting for is to give them some peace. With Amelia that means finding where Richard buried her and letting Lara's uncle know that as well which gives Lara what she needs to take control of the Croft estate and all it's holdings. And with Richard that means Lara trying to find a way to vindicate his name and in Shadow avenging him. Please note that neither of these are bad it's just that the two have nothing to lose as they have already lost given that they're, again, dead and the dead usually don't have to much to worry about.

And then we have the 2018 film. While Richard is arguably the real focus of the movie he's not in it all that much and soon after he is introduced he is quickly killed making the reveal that he is alive completely pointless. But what's worse is that unlike Henry or Sam when Richard is about to die, it doesn't really mean anything because we never really get to know him and his relationship with Lara is pretty much the same as it was before. He loves her, she loves him, he tells her not to do something, she does it anyway and all Hell breaks loss.

And just to rub salt in the wound as Richard is dying he gives Lara this speech about how she is ready to stand on her own and that she doesn't need him. Please note that at this point Vogel is getting away with Himiko's thumb and Richard's death speech just seems to go on and ON so while he's going on about how awesome Lara is, which is contrast by everything that we've actually seen as, like I said, Lara only makes things worse and is only useful when she does what she is told.

In TLC after Henry is shot and he falls into Indy's arms the only thing he says is Junior and before that when he through Indy had died all he says is. "Oh God. I've Lost him. And I never told him anything. I just wasn't ready Marcus. Five Minutes would have been enough." And when he sees that Indy is alive he cries and hugs him and we get this little extant.

Henry (Crying) "I thought I lost you boy!"
Indy (Tired) "I thought you had to sir." Indy Smiles as his father hugs him.

And over in ASiB after Lara saves Sam from Himiko all we get is this.

Sam "You saved me, I knew you would."
Lara "I made you a promise, now lets get you home."

And in C&S while the two don't say much what they do say says more then that overly long speech Richard made in the movie.

Lara has, "I won't let you go." "Sam open your eyes" "Stay with me. Please, Sam. Stay with me."
While Same has, "Please Lara. Please don't abandon me again."

Both pairs say very little to one another because they didn't HAVE TO SAY THAT MUCH! Their characters and the growth they had undergone throughout their respective journeys said it all. Henry didn't need to go into a long speech about how Indy could get the grail and Lara and Sam didn't need to express how much they loved one another because they and we already know it. We got to seen these relationships grow and change, both from a single story and the other from a single game and several comics.

And that brings me back to Ricard Croft and the problem with his character and relationship with Lara. Because it has been over 20 years since the series began Richard and Amelia Croft have never, and likely will never change as they are there to motivate Lara to be the person she is and that's Not A Bad Thing. Batman and others character have had this and it works but in the last few years Tomb Raider has put even more focus on Lara's connection to her parents and Richard in particularly and while the stories Have been good it is likely no surprise that the ones that have been the best resieved are the ones that focus more on the relationship between Lara and Sam and it all boils down to one thing.

Lara and Sam's relationship, like their characters, has grown and changed over the years and will continue to do so even though the two are not together at this moment just like how Batman's relationship with his sons, Alfred and Selina has grown over the years and that is why I think Sam will return as her journey with Lara feels far from over. But like with Bruce and his relationship with his parents Lara can never go any father with her parents. They are in the past and that is were they will always remain and in many ways that is were they should remain. Sure Lara fighting for her parents isn't bad and we have gotten good stories out of it, but in the end Lara must let her parents go and move on with her life as she cannot continue to live for them and I sincerely doubt either of them would want that from her.
Given that we have 21 days before the full reveal of Shadow of the Tomb Raider I want to go over what plot threads and character arcs I would like to see in resolved in the game that is the supposed end of the Origin Story Trilogy. I've gone over most of these in other articles so I will be repeating a lot of what I've said in the past so if you wish you can go ahead and skip this one, I won't take offense if you do so don't worry. :)

The End of Trinity

Okay, basic stuff first, as this is the end of a Trilogy of sorts then this is were Trinity should meets it's end. Trinity has been a constant thorn in Lara's side ever since Secrets and Lies and Rise of the Tomb Raider and are responsible for a lot of Lara's problems, with the most notable bit being killing Lara's father and Lara's surrogate mother, Ana, being revealed to have been working with Trinity all this time. Constantly hunting Lara and hurting Sam which resulted in Himiko gaining full control of Sam and her almost dying.

Why I Think This Will Happen: Everything from the ending of Rise of the Tomb Raider, Choice and Sacrifice, Survivor's Crusade and the upcoming Inferno have all been hinting at that Lara and Trinity are coming to their ultimate final confrontation where Lara will meet the man who ordered the death of Richard Croft who is likely the mysterious voice we've heard throughout the series. And with his death Trinity will either fall or be thrown into chaos which will, at the very least, render them harmless for a time.

Why I Want This to Happen: As of the time of this writing Trinity has been a sufficient threat to Lara and her loved ones but TBH they're running out of things to do. Lara's connection to them is almost entirely personal and that sort of plot thread running long after Shadow is, to be blunt, not something anyone wants. Rise was the story of Lara trying to vindicate her father's good name and trying to let go of him while Shadow is, I think, a revenge story as Lara tries to get revenge for the death of her father and for them hurting Sam. Lara's ultimate goal is to get at the One person who is responsible for all this and finish him off once and for all. Also Trinity being the one and only enemy Lara has will get very tiring very quickly so for the longevity of the series I think it's best if Trinity comes to a end in Shadow of the Tomb Raider.

Will it Happen?: I honestly don't know at this point, as I said it will likely be better for the series if Trinity is stopped here and now as there are other threats out there and facing them will be more fun then just fighting the same group of enemies that fans don't really seem to be all that interested in to begin with. Then again it was stated that Trinity has connections that lead all the way to the Vatican so who knows maybe the series has other plans but at the very least I hope Trinity is put out of commission for at least a little while so Lara can go and fight other enemies.

Putting Richard Croft to Rest

Why I Think This Will Happen: The whole point of Lara hunting down Trinity down is that she has learned they are responsible for the death of her father and the tie-in comics have been making it rather clear that Lara still blames herself for what happened and that killing the person responsible for her father's murder will allow her to finally put her father's ghost to rest and allow her to, hopefully, move on with her life.

Why I Want This to Happen: As I stated before, one of the issues with Lara's father being constantly involved in the series in one way or another is that it has been overplayed and we are getting tired of it. It was a major plot point in the movie Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Tomb Raider: Underworld, Rise of the Tomb Raider and in the most resent film adaptation of Tomb Raider was pretty much the main character while Lara was his fumbling sidekick. And in Shadow Lara is going after Trinity to get revenge for his death. None of these plots are bad per-say but it has been over used so hopefully after this the series will focus more on Lara Croft instead of turning this into the Richard Croft show featuring Lara Croft.

Will it Happen?: Again I honestly don't know, it does seem like this is the direction the series is going but then again Square Enix might just go the way of the most resent film and not only make Richard Croft the one and only reason Lara does anything but just make the series more about him which is something NO ONE WANTS! We want Lara to move on with her life and we want Lara to put her father to rest so he stops being her soul motivation for doing anything in the story. While I want Sam back it's for what they have not what Lara and her father had. Richard Croft is dead and I think he more then anyone else would want his daughter to move on with her life and be with the people who love her and not give into her obsessions as that is what ultimately destroyed him and the Croft family name. Lara should be allowed to avenge him and vindicate his name in some way. But she shouldn't have to live for him. It's plot point that has been over used and it needs to stop.

Resolving the Support Cast

For the most part the comics have been largely self contained with most of them having a beginning, middle and end so they do not step on the games toes. With that said there have been a few characters from the comics that have yet to have proper resolution or who's resolution/absence will likely will need to be addressed. Jonah for example seems to have left the series and while his apparent exit was very well handled his absence will likely have to be addressed. There's also Kaz and Reyes, with the former not being mentioned or talked about in Rise of the Tomb Raider or any of the other comics and Reyes, who after the Season of the Witch arc has only made one or two cameos here and there but other then that just despairing.

Unlike the other things on this list this is rather minor as, while I like these characters, their absence can be easily handled like the player finding a news paper of Kaz getting married to someone showing that she's moved on from her dead wife, or a letter from Reyes that shows that she's with her daughter and has moved on from Roth's death. As much as I hate to say this but Reyes and Kaz are not really that important, Reyes had, arguably, concluded her confrontation with Lara twice, the first in the first game when she admitted to being wrong and when she choose to trust Lara to go and save Sam instead of trying to escape the island. And in the comics when she directly forgave Lara for Roth's death. As for Kaz she forgave Lara in the very arc she was introduced in so all the issues she could have had were resolved as soon as she met Lara. And finally, we have Cuddy, Grim's twin brother, who also pretty much forgave Lara for what happened to his brother.

But then we have Jonah, Cortez and, of course, Sam and their plot points. As stated in my review of Surivor's Crusade #2 Jonah actually does seem to have a pretty good exit from the series and most of the plot threads connected to him were pretty much all resolved and to be perfectly honest there wasn't much Jonah could add to the series and I'm honestly surprised he stayed as long as he did. But still he was a part of the series and his absence will likely need to be addressed I for that I think the best we're going to get, and I hate saying this, is a recording of either Jonah leaving one last message for Lara where he says his goodbye but that he can no longer watch him destroy herself with her obsession. Or Lara leaving Jonah a message for driving him away and that she understands why he left.

Cortez on other hand is another issue altogether. As I've mentioned before I think there's a good chance of her returning as a major character in Shadow given that she is the only villain, so far, to have survived her first encounter with Lara, has a connection with Lara's father and given that she was last seen in Mexico and Shadow seems to be mainly set in Mexico and she was nearby the Mayan Pyramid that likely has some sort of connection to the Star Phenomena it's like that she will play a big role in the next game. As I have also mentioned I would like her to be someone who starts off as Lara enemy but over the course of the game becomes Lara ally and even a possible surrogate mother to he and even encourages Lara to let her father's rest in peace and move on with her life. Also it would be nice for Lara to have a parental who doesn't die as that trope is getting a bit tiring.

And finally, you all saw this coming, there's Sam who out of all of Lara's supporting cast has a character arc and plot revolutions that have yet to be resolved. As I mentioned in my very last article the way for her return has been left wide open given how similar the ending of the first game parallels the ending of Choice and Sacrifice and that it wouldn't take much effort to work around most of the comics major plot points like Sam being possessed by Himiko or Sam being tortured by Trinity both of which are likely to come into play in the near future given how significant Sam was in those stories. And of course, Lara and Sam relationship has yet to be mended and this is a point the series itself has drawn attention to so hopefully Sam will return and both she and Lara will be able to mend their relationship and finish off Trinity once and for all.

Why I Think This Will Happen: Well this is the ending of a trilogy so to give a proper sense of finality I do think characters like, Reyes, Kaz and Jonah should at least get mentioned while Sam and Cortez seemed to have been set up for future plot points and are, let's be honest, just to interesting to be kept out of the series.

Why I Want This to Happen: I know that a lot of fans of the classic Tomb Raider feel that Lara should be a lone wolf with no one in her life and that the series should just be her raiding tombs and doing so because that's want she does. But as the saying goes, times change and we change with them. The reason Lara was alone in the classic games was because that's just how games were done back then and as the series went on Lara started to have more popular in her life. And remember Batman also didn't have anyone when she started out, he didn't even have Alfred as a surrogate father. In fact Alfred came after Robin and was originally just a butler Bruce hired who found out that he boss was Batman. Obviously that changed over time and now Alfred is a key part of Batman's mythos to the point that no one can conceive of making the series without him. That's another reason why I think Sam should return, she has the potential to be like Alfred and become part of Lara's life and Tomb Raider's mythos and honestly I don't see how that could be seen as a bad thing.

Will This Happen?: Once again, I have no idea. On the one hand Sam does have a huge following and Cortez has lot of potential and if this is the end of this part of the story I would figure that Square Enix would want to make this as epic and as personal as for Lara and the players as possible and bring back a fan favorite character and making good use of a rather under used character and using both to their fullest potential would be awesome. On the other hand you have fans who want Lara to be more like the classic Lara who was is less of a character and more of a icon.

And that's about it, Hopefully these plot points and character arcs will be properly resolved in Shadow and help make it the kind of finally that makes you want to go back and replay all the games and re-read all the comics. So here's hoping for the best.
Because my last two articles were kind of downers I decided to talk about the endings of both the first game in the series A Survivor is Born and the fifth comic arc Choice and Sacrifice and why the latter paralleling the former gives me hope that Sam might return to the series. For this we're going to go over the final battle in ASIB where Lara saves Sam from Himiko and the final confrontation between Lara, Sam & Himiko in C&S where Himiko's soul is drawn into the Mirror of Wei and thus freeing Sam of Himiko.

Fighting Through Hell

Okay not literally through Hell but given everything Lara and Sam have gone through I'm sure it felt like Hell for both of them.

So first off we have the final level of Hell Lara has to fight through to get to Sam. In the game this was Lara climbing the tallest area yet in the game, the Ritual chamber and Lara fighting through two armies just to get to Sam. A key point here is that needs to be taken into account is when Lara reaches the top of the tower the Ritual has already begun and as Himiko begins to "Pour" her soul into Sam Lara calls out to Sam and then fights through the Solarii, The Storm Guard and Himiko's control over the weather itself trying to reach Sam. As this goes on Lara calls out to Sam to hold on as she tries to reach her. After a brief fight with Himiko's two most dangerous servants, the big Storm Guard and Mathias Lara is finally able to reach Sam and Himiko.

In the comics Lara has to outsmart Himiko and Trinity's respective forces, which doesn't seem to be to hard as both seem to be running on Bond villain logic, in order to follow Himiko's minions in order to find what where she's hiding while Trinity also follows Himiko's minions to do the same. Lara arrives at Himiko's current base of operations with Trinity right behind her which results in Himiko and Trinity's forces fight one another. As the two armies fight one another Lara uses the chaos in order to get to Himiko, even calling out to Sam as she sees her, and force her out of the battle. The two struggle briefly as Lara attempts to reach Sam within Himiko, begging her to fight back against Himiko's control. However, Himiko pushes Lara off her and is able to escape but Lara follows her and eventually runs the van Himiko is driving off the road and with her now unconscious Lara is now able to safely take Himiko away from the battle and to the barn where Jonah has set up the Wei Mirror.

Now the parallels here are fairly obvious, from the smaller things like Lara calling out to Sam when she finally reaches her to fighting her way through two armies that are fighting each other in order to get to Sam and Himiko and Lara reaching out to Sam while she struggles against Himiko. The big difference with the last part being, of course, that in the former's case Himiko was transferring her soul into Sam and Lara was begging Sam to hold on while the latter Himiko has already taken full control of Sam and Lara is begging Sam to fight against Himiko's control but in terms of key differences that's pretty much it.

The Ritual

The next key point is the ritual itself and fun bit of trivia, in both the game and the comic we've never seen the whole ritual. The game showed us how Himiko transferred her soul to her new host while the comics revealed that the Wei Mirror was needed to remove the soul of the new host before Himiko could possess them. Not really all that relevant but I just thought it was something fans of the series might find interesting.

So the parallels here are pretty straightforward though it does use elements from two parts of the game instead of just the ending, the first of which being the fire ritual where the Solarii attempt to burn Sam at the stake to see if Himiko will allow her to be burned alive or will save her and in the games ending when Himiko begins to transfer her soul over to Sam. In the comics Sam/Himiko are tied to a stake as Lara and Jonah await for the sun to come up which will activate the Wei Mirror which will then remove Himiko soul from Sam which leads to the Battle of Wills the two have as Sam begins to regain control of her self and forces Himiko to look upon the mirror.

In a nice bit of character development in the game when Mathias began the fire ritual Sam was, justifiably, screaming in terror as Mathias set the fire to see if Himiko would save her. For obvious reasons Sam was clearly terrified and who could blame her as burning alive is not something anyone would want to go through. But in the comics, when in a situation where it is entirely possible for her to loss her soul Sam remains calm and in control and simple tells Himiko that she will not allow her to control her anymore and will not allow her to hurt anyone she loves. Himiko actually seems to be unnerved by this and begins Demanding that Sam obey her, only for Sam to regain enough control and stab herself in the stomach. In the game Himiko was clearly the one with all the power and Sam surviving was down to just her choosing to spare her but in the comics, while Himiko has been controlling Sam for months in the end its Sam who is the one with all the power and Himiko losing is all down to Sam refusing to let her get out of that barn alive.

But back to the ritual in the game and the comic, another key plot point is that Himiko is stabbed which, for obvious reasons, is a bit of a glitch in her plans as all her plans depend on her not being stabbed. In the game Lara stabs Himiko in the heart with her torch, as in a actual torch not a flashlight, while in the comics, as I stated earlier, Sam stabs herself in the stomach to insure that no matter what Himiko wouldn't make it out of the barn.

In the end Lara prevented Himiko from fully transferring her soul over to Sam and in the comics Sam was able to get Himiko out of her soul by making her look upon the very mirror Himiko had used to in-prison the souls of the priestesses she possessed for centuries.

The Aftermath

And then we have the ending proper, in both game and the comic Lara holds Sam in her arms while making sure she is okay as Sam has been greatly weakened by her confrontation with Himiko. Lara and Sam are then taken to safety while a friend of there's drives them to a place were they are safe. However, Lara realize that there is still much work to be done and there is something she must do. Both Tomb Raider: A Survivor is Born and Tomb Raider: Choice and Sacrifice end with Lara alone and away from her friends and she prepares for the next part of her journey.

The key difference between the two is that in the game it's strongly implied that Lara and Sam are going to be okay while the comics leave their relationship unresolved and open for debate whether the two would ever fully recover or meet again. On the other hand both the game and the comic make it clear that both have suffered a great deal of trauma and that it will take time for them to recover, if they ever do.

Why this is Important

So you might be asking why is this important, what does this have to do with anything? Because when you break it down, as we did just now, you see that the two endings are virtually identical to one another. Sure there are several difference between the two both minor and major but the bare bones are the same basic plot. Lara and Sam go through Hell while trying to rid themselves of Himiko as she does what she can to take control of Sam and kill Lara.

The biggest difference between the two endings is Himiko, both her role in the story and how she is ultimately defeated. In the game Himiko is more like a Lovecraftian monster who's presents can be felt throughout the game given her control over the weather and that every single bad guy on the island works for her while in the comics Himiko is more like a Bond villain who has a more active role in the plot and she isn't the only threat out there. Even her number one Henchmen feels more like a Bond Henchmen with her having a specific gimmick, in this case a sword, (I wonder if that's where Square Enix got the idea of Lara using a sword for the next game?) but that's besides the point.

Then there's how Himiko is ultimately defeated, in the game Lara is able to get to Sam before Himiko finishes transferring her soul and Lara wins by just stabbing Himiko in the heart. In the comics Himiko has succeeded in possessing Sam and in the end Sam is the one who has to be the one who defeats Himiko by forcing her to look upon the Wei Mirror as the sun hits it.

But here's why this is so impotent, see not everyone reads/watches/plays supplementary material so including a key plot point or character that was included in said supplementary material is always a risky move as you need to explain something or otherwise your going to just end up confusing the viewer. For example, the appearance of Phasma in Star Wars: The Last Jedi is something that was confusing to most fans as her appearance made no sense unless you read her tie-in comics which explained how she escaped Starkiller Base and fleshed out her character. Hell her appearance was confusing as she had no real character and no reason to be in the story to begin with outside of her sorta, kinda, rivalry with Finn.

I know I said I wouldn't talk about the Disney Era of Star Wars again but this is the best example of how you shouldn't use supplementary martial as Phasma was really only there for fan serves and nothing more. She's only in the movie for about 5 minutes, I think, and her return is never explained and makes no sense unless you read her tie-in comics and those in turn won't work very well unless you saw The Force Awakens.

But the ending of Choice and Sacrifice has the potential to be the exact opposite of what happened with Phasma in TLJ as you don't really need to know the fully detail about what happened during the comics as the two endings are, again, almost identical to one another. And Rise of the Tomb Raider pointed out that Lara and Sam were not on good terms and you don't need to go into the whole possessed thing because the reason Sam was angry at Lara was simply because Lara left her without so much as a goodbye and that Lara was treating Sam less like a equal and more like someone who always needed to be protected.

The only thing that would have to be address that could confuse fans who haven't read the comics is Sam stating that she fought against Himiko's control. But this could be worked around as one could assume that Sam was fighting against Himiko while she was transferring her soul over to Sam in the first game before Lara was able to stab the Sun Queen. Hell even Sam have knowledge that only Himiko knew could be chalked up to her "hearing" Himiko's thoughts while she was transferring her soul to Sam.

I mentioned in my Will the Comics Effect Tomb Raider article that a number of events that occurred in the comics could be chalked up into a few Noddle Innocents like Lara preforming on stage for a play in a brief bit of dialogue but the thing about Himiko possessing Sam is something that is a lot harder to work around for one very important reason, character development. As a consequence of Sam being possessed by Himiko she has greatly changed as a person, she is more serious and willing to risk her life for a fight against forces that have the power to kill her or worse and yet she has grown stronger as a person. True she has broken a bit but so did Lara and that's not something that can, and really shouldn't, be swept under the rug. So if Sam does return in the games that development HAS to be addressed and used.

I've said in the past, many times, that Sam has the potential to join the ranks of Ellie, Garrus, Ciri, Varric and Cortana as one of the best companions in video games but for that to work she has to retain all the character development she has undergone in the comics. But as I've also said before, not everyone reads supplementary marital so including something as big and important as Sam's character development would be something some of the best writers would be hesitant to take on because you need to write the story in such a way that if you have no knowledge of the series you can still follow the story with little to no difficulty.

The worst things Square Enix can do is bring Sam back and act as if nothing happened and she acts no different then she did in Survivor or to directly address everything that happened in the comics which could result in confusing fans and new comers to the series who never read the comics. The best compromise is to muddy the water and have the dialogue be a bit more vague without directly mentioning things like Himiko taking over Sam or Trinity experimenting on Sam to strength Himiko's unknown connection to the Divine Source.

To off series again in Raiders of the Lost Arc Marian and Indy have a conversation that implies that Indy used and manipulated Marian for his own gain and while it's clear that the two still have feelings for one another but whatever Indy did it's clearly not something Marian can easily forgive him for. Later in The Last Crusade we are shown earlier on that Indy and his father have been estranged from one another for a long time though we are never told the exact details in the movie itself. All we know is that Henry was obsessed with finding the Holy Grail and because of that he was rather neglectful towards Indy which is presented in a quick scene at the start of the film during the opening prologue which is a flashback and later when he is talking about his father Indy becomes notably more aggressive and puts on a rather forced smile.

Remember what I said about Noddle Incidents in Uncharted 3, strange or funny situations that we are not privy to but the characters are that is explained in a few words, this is similar as whatever happened between Indy and Marian or Indy and Henry is not something we get the full picture for, but instead of being used as a quick joke it is used for more dramatic purpose. For example when Indy is talking to Henry on the Zeppelin Indy talks about the last time they had a drink together and noting that they didn't talk, that they never talked and that it was lonely living with his father.

Henry attempts to justify his, very poor parenting of Indy by saying that he respected Indy's Privacy and taught him self-reliance. But Indy points out, correctly, that was Henry really did was neglect his only child so he could bury himself in his work to find the Holy Grail which itself was likely a means to deal with the loss of his wife, Indy's mom. Something similar could be done between Lara and Sam to help explain why the two had a falling out with Sam calling Lara out on her obsession with finding the lost history of the world and destroying Trinity. And that Lara choosing to push Sam out of her life to protect her, from Lara's point of view was her protecting her.

But Sam, like Indy, could point out that doing so was not Lara's choice to make and that while one tries to paint their actions as in the right said actions hurt someone they loved and as the scene in TLC showed you can do all this in one or two minutes and this can be done without clearly addressing the comics. Sam notes that she remembers the last time they just sat down and talked to which Lara also remembers. Sam then calmly, without getting to emotional, talks about how she wished Lara could have trusted her.

Again this can be done in a two minute cutscene when Lara has some down time as she and Sam start to reconnect with each other and rebuild their relationship and it can be done with as few direct reference to the comics as possible as all the hang ups Lara and Sam have with one another is purely character driven and not event driven.

The point here is that given how similar the ending of Choice and Sacrifice is to the first game in the series it would make it easier on the writers to write Sam back in the story and as for the more direct story elements like Sam being possessed by Himiko and her own possible connection to the Star Phenomena is something that can be handled by a vague bit of dialogue that can reference either the time Sam was possessed by Himiko in the comics or when Himiko attempted to transfer her soul into Sam. It is something that could be done and I really hope that this was the intent of Square Enix and everyone writing the series.
I just realized something in relation to my Star Phenomena Theory, which ties back into the whole connection between Himiko and the Divine Source. In the thread arc of the comics, The Queen of Serpents, as Lara, Sam and the others make their way to Mexico for the first time in almost a year Himiko finally starts to gain control over Sam and it gets worse the longer Sam is there, she is more prone to violent outbursts and gets usually angry at Lara.

As I said this was likely Himiko fueling Sam's own insecurities in order to weaken her will so she could take more control over her. However, Sam did get better when she got out of Mexico and according to one of the nurses from the Asylum Sam was taken to Sam seemed to have been getting better and was acting more like her old self and even talked about Lara in rather high regards and it was only when Trinity began to try and strengthen Himiko's connection to the DS that she started to lose control.

Now we know that Shadow of the Tomb Raider is taking place in Mexico and in preparation for that I have been re-reading the comics. Specifically QoS which is the first time Lara ever went to Mexico and upon re-reading it I noticed a few things that I didn't really pay that much attention to before as I was more concern with Sam but now there are things I can't help but notice.

Case in point, in issue 15 Lara, Sam and Jonah meet a old woman who is preparing a ritual to ask spirits for help. As they appoarch, however, the woman says that she sees Sam for what she really is but before Sam can ask her what she means she faints. Later Lara finds a Mayan Pyramid like the ones we see in Shadow and this Pyramid, it's not far from the village where Sam and others are.

If this is the same place Lara goes to then it backs up my theory that this area has some sort of connection to Himiko, the DS and the Star Phenomena, one Trinity may not have known of at the time. To revisit a few things I've mentioned in my article Will the Comics effect Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Leticia Cortez and her group are so far the only villains to have survived Lara and in fact let Lara get away. In fact Lara or any of her friends killed any member of Las Serpientes Que Caminan during the whole arc. In fact the only person who was killed was done by Himiko after she managed to gain enough control over Sam at the end of issue 17.

Though from what I've seen Cortez doesn't seem to take this personally but that's besides the point. As I mentioned before it has been established that there is a connection between Himiko and the DS and I suspect that Shadow will revile what this connection is. I also said I doubt that Square Enix had planned everything out but given the what happens to Sam in QoS and C&S I do wonder if this idea had been something Pratchett, Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix had put together when plotting out the games main story and used the comics to set it up as soon as possible.

Given that Sam only started getting worse when she got close to Mexico and the fact that they were so close to a Mayan Pyramid and that said Pyramid might actually be in the next game does support my theory.
So happy Easter everybody and sorry for that little prank earlier but it's also April Fool's so I had to get one prank in for today and I figured I use it to go over a number of things that I'm worried might happen in Shadow of the Tomb Raider and what better way of doing it then by making a bad joke but in all honesty, yes those are the things I'm worried about happening in Shadow, that Sam will be killed off screen along with all of other survivors from the first game, that Whatshisname will be made into Lara's love interest despite him being so forgettable that I have honestly forgotten his name. And why I do start to remember anything about him I'm reminded that he is a terrible character on par with Dorian Grey and wonder why the Hell anyone would ship him with Lara as he shot her and left her for dead in The Ten Thousand Immortals.

And yes I am worried about it being revealed that he is some kind of Reincarnation of Lara's' father and the reason for that is Hollywood's rather rampant use of dumb plot twists that have become annoyingly popular today. Case in point Mass Effect 3 and the Resent Far Cry 5 endings both included "Clever" Plot Twists that were both stupid and poorly thought out and that's not how any series should end. Shadow is reportedly the of Lara's origin story so hopefully endings like ME3 and FC5 won't come to pass and Lara will able to put her father's ghost to rest and move on with her live and her next adventure.

As stated before when it is fully released I will be covering my thoughts on Tomb Raider: Survivor's Crusade but the long and short of it is I like it but it is so utterly frustrating to me because I like it so much even though I really shouldn't. Basically it's doing a number of things that I'm not a big fan of, making Lara more isolating making her suffering even more, having Jonah leave and still letting her father's ghost haunt her. And yet it's all very well written, nicely thought-out and doesn't feel forced which helps you feel for the characters and their struggle and makes me like and respect Jonah more then I originally did before.

At the same time I Don't want Lara to end up alone with only her father's ghost to keep her company and pushing all her friends away and letting no one in so they never get hurt and what I like about SC is it does just that and shows that it is the most emotionally unhealthy thing Lara can do to herself. And it also shows that having only the dead for company isn't as fun as one might think.

I get classic fans who want this Lara to be more like the Lara they grew to know and love, I do, I have the same feeling about the most resent Star Wars films as I much prefer how Luke, Han and Leia were written in the Thrawn Trilogy. But this Lara isn't the classic Lara much like how Christopher Nolan's Batman isn't Tim Burton's Batman, their two different versions of the same character and trying to turn one version of the character into another version of that character isn't always going to work.

Classic Lara Croft was a badass thrill seeker with no real ties and did what she did because she was a badass. And there's nothing wrong with that, any more then Burton's Batman being someone who is socially awkward while dealing with people and seems to get a true enjoyment out of being the Caped Crusader. The Lara Croft of the Survivor Timeline is a awkward history geek who has suffered sever trauma but still cares for those around her and is still a badass through and through.

But most important of all is that Lara this Lara has people she loves and her pushing them away to protect them will not make her more of a badass but will only end up hurting her more then anything. And, to go off series for a moment, in Uncharted 4: A Theif's End a young Nathan Drake and his brother Samuel Drake meet Evelyn, a old archeologist who their mother use to work for.

Evelyn is a very clear Expy of Lara Croft a British proper lady archaeologist with her hair pulled back and who spent her life as an adrenaline junkie. However, she ended driving the people she loved away from her and spent the last few years of her life with nothing but but the artifacts she discovered and a lot of regret. She dies soon after meeting the Drake brothers who are the only ones who end up morning her as her own son had come to hate her for her years of neglect due to her obsession of finding treasure and unlocking the past.

In universe Evelyn is clearly meant to represent what Nate might become if he let's his obsession with adventure consume him and let's it drive away his loved ones. Out of universe, as she is a clear Expy of Lara Croft, she also represents what may happen with the current Lara if she let's her obsession with avenging her father and love for adventure over take her, and it's already happening. She has driven away two people she loves, Samantha & Jonah and in the case of the latter it's uncomfortably very reminiscent of how Evelyn drove her son away from her and ending up with only a empty house with only a ghost and the relics they have found to keep them company, Lara with her father and Evelyn with her husband.

And that is my greatest fear in regards to Shadow of the Tomb Raider and this version of Lara in general, that she will die alone and forgotten and that no one will moron her in the end. However, one thing that must also be noted is that what Evelyn was truly missing was people who she could share in her love for adventure which is what Nate had with Elena and Sully. Nate didn't have to give up what he loved to be with Elena but rather he And Elena had to discovered something that was missing because Elena and Nate were happy with their lives before the adventure started, they loved being with each other but it was very clear that there was something missing and that they both knew it but neither of them wanted to say it. That's why Nate didn't tell Elena the truth when Samuel dragged him back into the adventure one more time because he didn't want to lose what he had build with Elena, not because he didn't want her to get hurt but because they both had foiled themselves into thinking that they didn't want the adventure anymore because it would endanger what they had build together. But in the end what brings them back together is they remember why they fell in love with one another again.

When Elena is watching Nate go over what happened to the other founders of Libertalia Elena sees the man she fell in love with back in Drake's Fortune, Nate loves discovering what has been lost and seeing the world that others would leave to turn to dust and you can see what's going through her head as she listens to him. And for Nate, when he sees Elena kicking ass he remembers what made him fall for her as well as this was someone who not only shared his love for what was lost but was someone who could keep up with him, someone who could be his equal and he kicks himself for pissing her off in the first place.

That's what Lara and Samantha have, that's why they worked so well together. Sam loves Lara for the same reason Elena loves Nate, they love how they're respective partners see the world that time has seemingly forgotten and Lara loves Sam for the same reason Nate loves Elena as this is someone who not only shares her love for what was lost but is someone who can keep up with her. These are characters who are perfect for one another and why Lara pushing Sam away is so frustrating because it's the exact same mistake Nate made with Elena as both are choosing to keep someone they love out of their lives for without giving them a choice in the matter.

As I said before, the reason Jonah's apparent departure doesn't bother me all that much is that it was his choice to leave and it is easy to see his point of view and to be honest there wasn't much his character could really offer to the series. He went as far as he could go and when things became to much he realized that he could not follow Lara any further and it felt natural. Sam, however, is the opposite she is someone who was forced out of the series without getting a say in the matter and there is so much more she can offer to the series, more stories she can provide to Lara and her adventures and it's not like she doesn't have any fans. Six Years after the first game and people are still talking about Sam, some articles even noting her absence from the most resent film and the fact that all her accomplishments were handed over to someone else.

But back to my fears, Sam is someone who adds to Lara and my greatest fear is that she will be killed off screen in order to turn this Lara isn't someone she's not. This isn't the classic Lara Croft who was an adrenaline junkie who does what she's does because she is just looking for her next big adventure, this is the Lara Croft who had friends and a life outside of her adventures and had someone to come home to. Someone who loves her enough to be willing to die for her and to be honest, both Lara and Sam deserve better then that.

Please, let Lara and Sam find each other again. Let them mend their relationship and let Lara have the one person in this world who understands her and let them go on to have more adventures. Nate has Elena and Batman will soon marry Catwoman, why can't Lara have Sam?
So by a series of random events that I will not be elaborating on I managed to get a hold of the script for Shadow of the Tomb Raider and I now know how it all ends. Now under any other circumstances I wouldn't dream of spoiling this for anyone who is a fan of the series but for this case I'm making a exception mainly because I AM SO FUCKING PISSED RIGHT NOW!!!

So first off remember all that fantastic character development from the first two games and the tie-in comics, you can forget it all, has no baring on the plot as a whole. In fact the game goes out of it's way to mock said character development along with all insulting Sam who is killed off screen by someone who ends up being Lara's boyfriend. And yes it's Whatshisname from The Ten Thousand Immortals and his just as boring and uninteresting as he was in that book. Also, are you a fan of Lara and Sam relationship, regardless as to whether the two are friends or lovers? Well good news, it turns out that Sam was actually a Trinity agent in this game. Oh she wasn't one from the start of the series that would be stupid no. She started working with the first game. Yeah Shadow actually wipes the comics from canon and instead only treats TTTI as canon and even goes as far to recon Rise of the Tomb Raider as Lara reveals that she was totally in love with Jacob despite the fact that he was not only old enough to be her father but who's daughter was only a few years older then Lara.

Oh and not only was Sam evil but she actually was into the idea of becoming the next vessel for Himiko and that's why she turned on Lara but also went out of her way to kill Jonah, Kaz and Reyes for some contrived plot reason so the writers can have a lazy excuse to kill off everyone Lara ever knew and loved from the series as why have characters who were actually popular with fans when you can have a generic white guy who is so boring and generic I actually keep forgetting it.

So to my fellow fans of Samantha Nishimura, turns out that all that time we spent getting invested in her character was for nothing as she killed off screen but was made completely evil and hated Lara for reasons that don't even make sense in the game itself. And then they kill off everyone else we've come to know and love because why would anyone want characters who have actually proven to be rather popular with fans when you can have someone from a book that no one read be not only Lara's love interest but the real hero of the series.

Yeah remember how much I "Loved" the resent Tomb Raider movie, with Lara being made out to be more incompetent with all hers, and Sam's, achievements handed over to her father who was revealed to be alive in this version, well it turns out that wasn't just lazy writing but a tease for Shadow as the series pretty much stops being about Lara and gives as much attention as it can to Whatshisname who has to keep saving Lara from her own stupidity. And let's you think this is as bad as it gets, you ain't seen nothing yet as Lara has forgotten EVERYTHING she knows about archaeology and other cultures and showing respect for that culture as Lara and Whatshisname makes some rather terrible comments about the Mayan culture. And the worse part of this, this is used to buildup the romantic relationship between Lara and Guy Number 1. The romance is so bad in this it makes 50 Shades of Grey look like The Last Naruto Movie, it is so forced and so uncomfortable to just read this got past the development stage.

There's more things wrong with this relationship but let's go on to how the game ends and if you thought the ending of Mass Effect 3 was bad, oh boy you ain't seen nothing yet. Yes really so it's implied that Whatshisname might actually be... (sigh) Richard Croft reborn but lost his memory and that Lara is and this is right after Lara is revealed to be with child. Or maybe that was just all in my head as I'm pretty sure I burst at least three vanes after reading that, or I got a concoction from smashing my head through by TV Screen.

So, yeah, Lara is made into a secondary character in her own game and her reward for all Hell she went through is to enter into a relationship with her reincarnated father. I can only imagine that the writers of this game were huge fans of 200th Anniversary of the Avengers comic and the TNG episode The Child as that really is the only explanation that makes ANY sense.

God This Games Suck!!! ARGH

Oh and happy April 1st.
I'm going to be honest, I am simultaneously exited and worried for the up coming game Shadow of the Tomb Raider, for a number of reasons. I'm exited as it is the next part in a series I have come to love and while I wouldn't list either Tomb Raider: A Survivor is Born or Rise of the Tomb Raider as my all time favorite games, same goes for all the tie in comics, I would count both Lara Croft as one of my all time favorite character and as you could probably tell from my many entries on this series that I also have come to really love Samantha Nishimura and see her as Lara's equal.

However, the series has not gone the way I would like due to Sam's repeated parking and a few story choices in regards to Lara's character arc but and I'll be getting into my thoughts on that when the finally issue of Survivor's Crusade is out so I won't go into detail on that subject here other then to say that these choices frustrate me as I'm worried for the well being of my fictional peeps and want to see them get a happy ending with them finding each other but I can't say that these story choices haven't been well written. But that's not what this article is here for, this is just me going over a theory I have in relation to the next installment in the series and that is the what ties the games and comics together.

As the marketing has made clear the Shadow in Shadow of the Tomb Raider is a eclipse that is taking place during the story of the thread game. And that's pretty much all we know, despite a few leaks that made their way online, which might have actually been intentional on the part of Square Enix as a sort of Gorilla Marketing strategy, we know next to nothing about the plot of Shadow other then what I just told you. It's set in Mexico and takes place during a eclipse. However, I do think I know how this is going to tie into the over arcing story of the series and for this I'm going to need to go over a few key plot points in both the first two games and one of the comic arcs Choice and Sacrifice so it goes without saying Spoiler Warning is in order so if you haven't played the games or read the comics stop reading this go back and check them out and then come back. Don't worry, I'll still be here when you get back. :)


Okay, now that your caught up let's go over this little theory of mine. Now the first point of this theory we need to take a look at the hidden message from that Lara finds after gathering all the GPS caches that are scattered throughout the game which unlocks a hidden document which reveals that the GPS' were left behind by a Trinity agent that was sent to locate something called the Star Phenomena and to investigate a threat to Trinity's interest. He had encountered Mathias and his cult but did not believe that he was capable of unlocking the Star Phenomena but learned quickly that he was wrong and was mortally wounded before he could kill Mathias.

What's interesting about this is that the agent refers to Himiko as the Star Phenomena which at the time I didn't think much about because the name still fit, she was called the Sun Queen and the sun is a star so it made sense but then came Rise of the Tomb Raider and with it the Divine Source. Now the DS was seen by many fans, myself included, as just another McGuffin that Lara and Trinity was after, nothing more nothing less. that is until we got to the end of the game when Ana used to DS to cure herself of cancer and the DS was revealed to have a very familiar blue glow. See as Himiko was transferring her soul over to Sam she admitted the exact same glow that the DS did in Rise, suggesting that the two have some kind of connection.

Now at first this could all just be a massive coincidence and that the blue glow was just something that the developers just thought looked cool as contrary to popular belief writers do not, in fact, think of every little detail. Sure they may have somethings worked out like knowing where the plot of the series might be going, like in Star Wars Lucas did know that the main goal of the series was Luke becoming a Jedi, that the Empire would be defeated and that Han and Leia would be the ones to end up together but other things like Vader being Luke's father, the history of the Empire and Luke and Leia being twins were thing that he came up with while he was writing the films as they came out.

I don't say this to insult George Lucas as I love the man and will likely remain so until my dying day but it is the best example I can think of for a series that makes things up as they go while still having a basic idea for how it will all end. Which leads us back to Tomb Raider which has also, (probably) had a basic idea laid out for the plot of the series but there are clearly things that their making up as they go.

Enter Sam. I've mentioned this before but original Sam was intended to die at the end of the first game in the series but this idea was scrapped as test players hated the ending for a couple of reasons. The first being that test players ended up really liking Sam and her relationship with Lara and it was felt that Lara had suffered enough and that losing Sam was the step to far so the ending was changed so that Lara would get to Sam in time and save her from Himiko instead of failing to get to her in time and being forced to kill her. So you may ask, Okay Winter that's all well good but what does that have to do with this Star Phenomena theory and how does it tie into Shadow's plot?

Well because Sam was suppose to die and Rise was likely already in development it's very likely that there was, in fact, no real plan for Sam to appear in the next game in the series. Not helping matters is that Sam was growing in popularity thanks to the tie-in comics fleshing out both her character and her relationship with Lara so she couldn't be easily written out without fans not noticing. Rhianna Pratchett has stated in a number of interviews that Crystal Dynamics had order her to "Park" Sam in a way that would give her a concrete reason to not be involved in Rise's plot but could be undone if they ever needed her to return. It was Pratchett's idea to go with it being revealed that Himiko had successfully manged to get a bit of her soul into Sam and was able to at least partly possess her which eventually resulted in Sam getting sent to a mental asylum.

Remember what I said about George Lucas making up a number of major plot points in Star Wars while he was working on the films, this is the same thing as, well, Himiko still being around was not actually planned and Pratchett had done it mostly as she felt it would open the door for more interesting stories instead of Sam just leaving as that didn't fit her character. The reason this is important is because Himiko still being around and Sam being partly possessed and thrown into a asylum leads to the next major component of this theory as these series of events lead to a rather big revelation and its' here where my theory comes into play.

See after Lara destroyed the Divine Source Trinity seemed to learn about Sam and that she had a piece of Himiko's soul inside her and bought out the asylum where she was now locked up at. There they began to strengthen Himiko's hold over which eventually resulted in Himiko taking full control of Sam and escaping from the Asylum which lead to Lara locating the Wei Mirror and Sam finally defeating Himiko and freeing herself from her once and for all. But of course why did Trinity strengthen Himiko's hold over Sam, what was the point of that, other then tormenting fans of the character by putting her through even more hell then she had already gone through? Because, there's some sort of connection between Himiko and Divine Source and Trinity was trying to use Himiko to get at it.

Now I've actually mentioned this a few times in my other articles on this series and Sam in-particularly but as of the time of this writing, this is a plot point that has gone completely unanswered in the series as it was only mentioned in one scene in the second issue of Choice and Sacrifice and to be honest, at the time, most fans didn't really care as we were more concern about Sam then whatever plan Trinity had. Still, this is a major reveal which of course begs the question, what is the connection between Himiko and the Divine Source?

Well recall for a moment what the Trinity agent called Himiko in Survivor. He called her the Star Phenomena, not the Sun Queen so the question naturally becomes was the Star Phenomena just a fancy name Trinity gave to Himiko or was is the SP something else. Cue Shadow of the Tomb Raider.

I know it took me a while to get to this point but that's only because the series did the same thing cause as of right now, outside of that bit with the comics, the series has never really talked about the connection between Himiko and the Divine Source as it has always been more focused on the characters and their journey but as this is the end of this Trilogy its time to answer all those questions and I think the answer lies with the eclipse in Shadow. After what is a Solar Eclipse but a rare Phenomena? I'm willing to bet that whatever made Himiko and the Divine Source the way they are was the result of a Solar Eclipse and that what Lara and Trinity are after this time is the rare Phenomena that creates one of these same beings.

My bet is that the game will answer all the unanswered questions of the series, how both Himiko and the DS were some how created at a sight of great magical power during a Solar Eclipse giving them both their powers and that Lara's goal will be to stop Trinity from getting their hands on this power. This will also involve the lead of Trinity who is here personally to gain the the power of Immortality but as we've seen with Himiko and the DS having this power does not make one unkilliable and Lara will be able to kill him in the end and finally avenge her father's death and, hopefully, move on with her life.
I touched upon this a bit in my review of the 2018 movie adaptation of Tomb Raider but never directly talked about it so I guess now is a good as time as any and I'm just going to cut to the chase here. Tomb Raider (2018) is sexist. Not sexist in that it objectifies Lara like how women are objectified in, say, a Michael Bay movie but sexist in a completely different way which I will explain in this article.

As I said back in my review of the movie proper all of Lara and Sam's contributions to the plot are handed over to Lara's father Richard Croft who turns out to be alive in this movie. Lara's own contributions to the film's plot are rather minor and do little, if anything, to advance the plot in a meaningful way and for the most part she only makes the situation worse instead of better. Now in A Survivor is Born Lara is the reason that everyone is in danger as it was her idea to sail into the Dragon's Triangle in the first place to find Yamatai but in terms of making things worse that' pretty much about it.

For the most part Lara actually solved more problems then she caused and in the grand scheme of things there was enough blame to go around. It was Lara's idea where to go but it was Whitman who started this whole voyage to begin with, Sam who encouraged Lara to tell the others about her idea and Roth who supported Lara's idea to sail into the Triangle. Hell you could also give some of the blame over to Grim as he stated that he would have no real issue sailing through the Triangle to begin with. Please note that I'm not saying Lara is blameless I'm just saying that she is not the only one at fault for things going wrong in the game.

In the movie, Lara is told by a recording of her father and the captain of the ship she hires that doing this is a bad idea and she shouldn't do it. Richard's specifically tells Lara burn his notes so that Trinity never gets their hands on them, and the captain of the ship also tells Lara that going into the Devil's Sea is a bad idea. Lara ignores both and only makes the situation worse as by ignoring both she ends up giving Trinity what they want and nearly gets the captain killed and gets her father killed.

In the game Jonah, Alex, Whitman and to a lesser extent Reyes, all voted against going into the Dragon's Triangle, Jonah because he had a bad feeling about the place, Alex because of how bad the storms were and Whitman because he didn't want to put his reputation on Lara's hunch. Reyes doesn't quite count as she wasn't really sure about going into the Triangle but did admit that she felt that Lara's ideas might have merit. On the flip side Lara, Sam, Grim and Roth voted for going into the Triangle. Lara because she theorized that because the legends of Himiko had control over the weather, and myths are often based in some forms of fact, then Yamatai might be located in the Triangle due to how bad the weather was there. Sam because she felt Lara knew what she was doing, Grim because he was felt certain of his skills in sailing regardless of the weather and Roth because Lara was the only one actually suggesting new ideas and had confidence in Grim's sailing.

I'm harping on this point because while in the game there was plenty of blame to go around in the film everything that goes wrong is because Lara doesn't like being told what to do which is apparently her arc for the movie. Stop trying think for yourself and just do what you are told. Because really Lara has no other arc in this movie, she clearly doesn't feel estranged from her father as the two have little to no problem getting along when they meet up and her learning to trust herself is clearly not her arc as her trying to do things her way is what makes everything go from bad to worse. So really Lara's arc for this film is her just doing what she is told for once instead of doing what she thinks is right because the only time she succeeds is when she final does what she is told.

And again there's the fact that all of Lara and Sam's contributions are given over to Richard up to and including destroying Himiko which was done by Lara in the first game Sam in the comics. Now I get that as a adaptation things have to be changed, some characters have to left out all together but this film changes things to drastically as you could have kept it pretty much the same story without having to cut out Sam and hand all of her and Lara's contributions over to a character who wasn't even in the damn game to begin with. Want to see what I'm talking about, here is a fan film called Tomb Raider: Legacy which itself is a adaptation of A Survivor is Born.

Now this film does cut out Jonah, Reyes, Grim and Alex but I'm willing to except their departure as, A) This is a 48 minute film so it had to keep focus on the characters that actually mattered to the plot and B) Aside from defending Whitman from Lara's accusation everything Sam doesn't take any of Jonah, Reyes, Grim or Alex's contributions to the story. And in terms of characters who could be cut from the story then Jonah, Reyes, Grim and Alex do make the most sense.

Now for fans of these characters let me just say this that in the grand scheme of things I Wouldn't think of removing any of these characters from the series as the comics really helped fleshed them out and led to some of the best parts of the comics. Without the deaths of Alex and Grim then Lara trying to protect their respective family members wouldn't be as strong as it ended up being and Reyes building up a friendship with Lara wouldn't have been nearly as engaging as it was without the baggage the two had from the first game. Please do not interpret this as me saying that I dislike these characters and felt that the series would be better off without them.

However, just in terms of adapting the first game and the possibility of adapting Rise of the Tomb Raider after that then the characters that make the most sense to cut are Jonah, Reyes, Grim and Alex as they contribute the least to the overall plot. When you break it down and focus on the characters who are the most relevant to the plot of the first game are, Lara, Sam, Roth, Whitman, Mathias and Himiko. Now admittedly this does make the ending a bit more depressing as Sam ends up being the only member of the Endurance Lara is able to save as Roth still dies and Whitman's own stupidity ends up dooming him like it did in the game.

But honestly it's still better then the actual film as Lara is able to save Sam and because the fan film made the smart choice of keeping the focus on her and Lara's relationship then it actives the same effect as you end up wanting both Lara and Sam getting off the island. Whereas the film you don't really get to know Lara or Richard and the actors barely spend any time with one another until the last third so when one dies it barely registers with viewers. Not helped by the films ending where Lara buys two guns and acts like a badass which makes it appear that the death of her father has had zero impact on her as she seems more interested in getting some killing done for the fun of it instead of anything else.

But back to the point of this article, which is the rather insulting way the film handles it's lead and the treatment of women in general. This film has no real respect for the series leads and the message it ends up conveying is, do what you are told and stop trying to do what you think is right. You are only going to make things worse for the people who actual make a difference in the world.

This film may not be objectifying women but it is doing something that is just as insulting and that is making them seem useless while handing all their achievements over to a male character who wasn't even in the first game. Oh sure the film says that Lara is a badass that is a great hero but when you look at the actual film it's very clear that what it says and what it does are two different things.

If you want a see a adaptation of Tomb Raider: A Survivor is Born check out the Legacy fan film. Sure it's not perfect but it does hit most of the major plot points and it clearly gets what made the game work while the film is, at best, a brainless action flick that with no real staying power and at worse a sexist piece of crap that treats women with little to no respect while given over all of their contributions to a male character who wasn't even in the game the film is supposedly based on.
So as I've mentioned a number of times I am a big fan of Tomb Raider and the character Samantha Nishimura and during my completely unbiased opinion of the film that is based on the newest version of the series (and by based on I mean barely resembles it and ripped off the plot of Uncharted 1) I mentioned just how much better of a character Sam was then most of the characters in the newest movie (though to be honest the charcter's in the first TR movie Lara Croft: Tomb Raider were better as a character then most of the characters in the most resent film). However, I wanted to highlight just why Sam is a good character by examining just what is needed to make a three-dimensional character and see if these points are hit with Sam in Tomb Raider.

Now some of you may know or heard of Red Letter Media's character test in which the following question is asked, describe a character Without, talking about their relationship with other characters or talking about their role or job in the plot and without describing their costume. Now while this is a interesting idea I don't think this is the best method of testing if a character is a fully three-dimensional character as you can have a character who's entire character effectively revolves around another and not only still be loved but be just as well rounded another character. Hinata is a good example as her journey is about winning Naruto's heart and as it's rather hard to describe Hinata without talking about her relationship with Naruto and yet Hinata is well loved in the Naruto fandom, some even liking her more then the Sakura who was one of the main characters. Hinata's character effectively revolving around her relationship with Naruto isn't a bad thing as her character isn't bland or weak in any way.

However, just to be far lets see if we can talk about Sam without talking about her role in the plot or her relationship with Lara so here goes.

Does Sam Pass The RedLetterMedia Character Test?

Sam is a social butterfly who has a love for adventure and parties. Because of constantly switching schools, and even continents, she feels a bit out a place in the world which is why she is so social and seeks to make friends wherever she goes as she hates feelings lonely. Sam is also remarkably strong willed, fighting against forces that are almost Lovecraftian and winning against them despite the odds. She is also loyal to a fault and is willing to sacrifice even herself if it means she can protect the ones she loves.

And there you have it, that is Sam's character without talking about her role in the series or her relationship with Lara. Now while this might not seem like much it should be noted that some of the best characters in fiction are also not very hard to describe. Hamlet, Mara Jade, Captain Kirk, Batman and yes, our own Lara Croft are all characters that can be summed up just as easily. Of course what makes or breaks a character really down to answering the next upcoming questions so let's continue shall we?

Does Sam have a Memorable Personality?

Yes this is actually important as a character needs to be memorable if they are truly going to stand the test of time. It doesn't matter if they're stoic, a jokester, or somewhere in the middle a character must have a memorable and constant personality to make sure that they leave an impression on fans. For example, Batman and Geralt are both really stoic but also deeply care about those they love and the world they fight for. They're both huge play boys and love flirting with women but at the same time respect women and will act like gentlemen.

So how does Sam have a memorable and constant personality? Let's give it a shot.

As stated before Sam is a social butterfly, she loves getting to know people and is the first two make a joke in order to lighten the mood. This is best shown in a flashback when she first meets Lara and asks if she can take Lara's picture and when Lara says that she doesn't like having her picture taken Sam offers to put the camera away so long as Lara shares some of her Jaffa Cakes and then proceeds to introduce herself and asks Lara if she wants to go dancing. However, after Yamatai Sam becomes somewhat colder and she tries to deal with nightmares about what happened on in A Survivor is Born and much like Lara is attempting to cover this up by continuing to act like herself and while its not all a mask we see that Sam has changed and is still recovering from what happened.

This isn't inconstant which leads us into the next key question.

Does Sam Grow and Develop as a Result of the Events of the Story?

Short answer, yes, the events of the story in the series has defiantly had a effect on Sam as much as they have on Lara, for both good and for ill. Sam at the start of the series is a far cry from the person she has become now and it's not just limited to the comics. Sam has clearly effected by what happened as while she still makes jokes to lighten the mood, like commenting on how she was thankful on there not being any mirrors as she must look awful. However, she still shows signs that she is just absolutely terrified by what is happening which is understandable as she was almost burned alive, has lot some she knew and had to kill to survive. This continues in the comics as Sam is force to kill, this time against her will as Himiko takes control of her and she seems to develop a inferiority complex as a result of all the times Lara has saved her.

However, contrary to what Sam may think she has not gotten weaker from these events but has actually become stronger. As I've mentioned many times now, one of my all time favorite moments in Tomb Raider is Sam's battle of wills with Himiko in the last few pages of Choice and Sacrifice and the reason this is one of my all time favorite moments in the series is that it helps show why Sam is such so awesome. The young woman at the end of this arc is a far cry from the girl we met at the start of the series as she is able to over power a monster who can control the weather and at the end it was Himiko who was screaming in terror while Sam remained calm and in control.

Like Lara Sam was clearly, and understandably, terrified for her life while on Yamatai and like Lara her experience with Himiko and what happened on the island left her scared, both emotionally and mentally. Yet in the end she proved to be stronger when she refused to let what happened ruin her life. She stood up and did what she could to move on with her life and proved that she does have what it takes to face the horrors that are out there and also has what it takes to over come them.

Now, here comes the big questions. While having a define personality and development what really proves that a character is a three dimensional character all comes down to three questions. So let's ask this questions and see if Sam really is a three dimensional character on par with Lara herself.

What does she want, what goals does she seek to achieve?

Why does she want this, how does it further her own happiness?

What are the obstacles both internal and external that stand in the way of her goal?

These are the questions that must always be asked above all other as these are the questions that lays the foundation for making a three dimensional character. And these goals can be about one character be about wanting to be with someone else, find their place in the world or just trying to survive so long as the character is able to answer all three questions then they pass the final test that proves that they are a fully realized character. So does Sam pass this test?

Sam's goal is that she wants Lara to see her as a equal and to be there for her when she needs her to be. This has been her goal since the second arc in the comics Secrets and Lies when Sam insisted that she went with Lara and was continued in The Queen of Serpents arc and Choice and Sacrifice. Said goal has yet to be really accomplished but its is her goal and one we can relate to. We all want to prove that we can stand on our own and we all want to be seen as a equal either to those we respect or those we love so that's the first question answered now on to the next one.

The reason Sam wants Lara to see her as a equal is because they use to be and she hates feeling useless and being a burden to her friend and because she, whether romantic or platonic, loves Lara and wants to be there for her. So that's two so onto the final question.

What are the obstacles, both internal and external, that stand in Sam's way of her goal? For the latter the remnants of the Solarii who planned to her as bait to draw Lara into a trap, Trinity who torture her to draw out Himiko and Himiko possession of Sam threatens to hurt Lara and everyone she loves. As for the former Sam seems to have developed a inferiority complex and likely fears that she is useless despite all she has accomplished.

And there you have it, Sam has passed every test that is needed to prove herself to be a fully realized character and it's why she's still well loved and remembered more then half a decade later while the characters in the most resent film of the series will likely be forgotten in a month or so as of the time of this writing as they all lack most if not all of what made Lara and Sam such memorable characters.