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So as many of you know I didn't much care for the resent Tomb Raider film, and while I am exited for the upcoming game, Shadow of the Tomb Raider and the tie-in comics Survivor's Crusade and Inferno, I am still bothered by the "Parking" of fan favorite Samantha Nishimura and after seeing the film I think I know what it bugs me and I also think that this is one of the reasons most fans are likewise annoyed by said parking.

First off the question must be asked why was Sam parked in the first place? There are a number of theories, with them ranging from her haters being very vocal about disliking her, (Which I find dubious as I honestly have seen very little of this hate dumb and have, in fact, met more fans who love Sam then those who dislike her), the developers being worried about addressing Lara and Sam's sexuality, (which I doubt given that one of the studios working on the game is Square Enix which has published a number of games with gay leads like Life is Strange and it's prequel Before the Storm) or the developers not wanting a game who's core relationship was two women regardless if they were romantic or not (again not sure about this as, again, one of the developers is Square Enix and LIS is all about the relationship between two women regardless if they are friends or lovers).

Now the most likely theory I've come across however is that the series is trying to turn Lara into more of a lone wolf like she was in the classic series under the assumption that this will make her a stronger character. I find this to be the most likely one because it does seem like the direction they are taking her in with the most resent comics as Lara has cut herself off from her friends completely and I'm just going to come out and say it, if this is their plan then its a bad plan. What helped make the newer series so popular was that Lara was more human and relatable then she ever was before and while it's true Lara didn't have anyone to help her in the past one of the problems was she wasn't someone players could relate to.

Classic Lara Croft is a iconic character and helped show that women can be awesome and kick ass with the best of them. But here's the thing, the same thing can be said about the Golden Age of Superheroes. Superman was someone the reader could look up to, he was powerful and did things we wish we could do, he was super strong, could fly and had heat vision, (yes I know Superman couldn't fly until much later but I'm on a role here so shut it). But what made Superman Superman wasn't his powers it was his desire to do the right thing simply because it was the right thing. But times change and we must change with them, and Superman changed as well. Yes he remains insanely powerful, he's still a Boy Scout and is still someone we look up to but what has changed after the Golden Age. He told Lois Lang who he was, married Lois and today he and Lois have a son who they are working as a family who save the world together.

Same thing with Batman, he has a family from his adopted children like Dick and Jason to his Biological Son Damian, his best friends is the aforementioned Superman and Wonder Woman. And most importantly of all he recently purposed to Catwoman who excepted and by all accounts DC seems to plan to go through with this marriage.

I'm not saying that Lara can't emulate classic Lara at all, one of my issues with the most resent Star Wars films is their mentality of letting the past die as that gives the impression that everything that came before is something to be embarrassed about. Hell even with the changes with Superman and Batman they still hold onto a lot of their old traditions. Batman still as broody as ever, and Superman is just as much a boy scout now as he was 70+ years ago, and that's nothing to be embarrassed about those elements are what made them so popular.

But to quote Linkara, Nostalgia can be toxic, not saying that is is toxic but that it can be toxic. There are some, not many as you might think though, fans who see the newer version of Lara as weak and whiny, who want the classic Lara Croft back as she was so much better then this newer version. But from my point of view, classic Lara was not a character I really cared about as a character. She was someone I found awesome and badass, I actually think the movie Lara Croft: Tomb Raider did a excellent job of adapting her character. She had all the cool one liners, cool stunts and was just a badass through and through.

And yes I would like to see some of that in the newer games. But I also don't want the newer series to throwaway all the good this incarnation of Lara accomplished. One of my issues with the newer film is that it tried to merge classic Lara with the one from the Survivor series which resulted in a number of rather poorly handled scenes that were filled with mood whiplash. The best example of this is best shown in the films very last scene as after Lara losses her father after just learning he was alive the movie ends with that scene you've seen in the trailer, with Lara grabbing her iconic twin hand guns and saying she will take two.

Like with the game she was forced to kill a man and broke down as a result of it and during her first few hours she kept trying to reason with the Solarii and not fight and was clearly uncomfortable with how easy kill people was. And at the end of the game the trauma of everything that happened on Yamatai has clearly left its mark on her. This has continued to be a recurring theme of the series as Lara still doesn't enjoy killing and Rise even game players the option to just get through areas without killing anyone if they so chose to. Lara can be a badass and a vulnerable human being which is once again shown with characters like Batman and Superman as both have people in their lives who help them out in big ways. They are still the heroes of the story but there is nothing wrong with them having help in saving the world.

Now that's all well and good, you might say, but what does this have to do with Sam being parked? See as Superman grew and developed so to did his supporting cast with the most notable example being Lois Lang. Now Lois is often regarded as a Damsel in Distress who is only there for Superman to save but as time went on she grew into a hero in her own right. She fell in love with Clark Kent before he reviled that he was Superman and excepted his proposal to her and is now a action mom who has taken on enemies as strong as her husband which includes her putting on a Batsuit that was designed to fight Darksied! Yes Really! Sure she gets captured ever once and a while but so does her husband and son, and the truth of the matter is that every hero gets captured and needs to be rescued regardless of gender.

Which leads me to one of dumbest moments in Superman History, the New 52, where Superman lost all his character development, his marriage with Lois was undone and started having a romantic relationship with Wonder Woman because the two crossed each others line of vision. So why did DC split up Lois and Clark, and par Superman with Wonder Woman. Simple, DC now had a heavy anti-marriage rule now and Superman and Wonder Woman are the most powerful Superheroes in DC so they should obviously get together. So why not just have Lois and Clark get a divorce in the reboot? Once again its a very simple explanation and here's where Sam's parking comes in, because Lois and Clark would never hear of it.

Over the decades Lois Lang and Clark Kent have become fully fleshed out characters and a consequence of that is that it makes it a lot harder to do things like make them break up as it doesn't fit their characters as neither one would hear of that. And it's the same thing for Sam, because of the comics Sam has shown herself to be a true companion to Lara. She supported her more then anyone else in the series, up to and including Jonah. She is the only person Lara is willing to listen to and the only one who can change Lara's mind on anything. She convinced Lara her theories had real merit, that she could preform on stage and is, to date, the only person to convince Lara that she needs help. Add to that Sam was literally willing to kill herself to ensure that Himiko would never hurt Lara and it helps show that Sam knows Lara better then anyone else in the series.

The reason I keep bring up Sam winning a Battle of Wills with Himiko because that shows just how strong willed Sam is and that she has what it takes to be Lara's partner and that she is someone who will only complement Lara's badassery not diminish while also adding a more human element to Lara by giving her something else to fight for other then her dead father and whatever McGuffin she is looking for. Just like Lois in Superman.

And that here's the real problem with Sam's parking, it is something that is forced upon her as there is no way Sam would ever willingly leave Lara. Spoilers for those who haven't been reading the most resent comics but Jonah actually ended up leaving Lara because she wouldn't let go of her obsession and while I hate that Lara is losing yet another friend I have to admit that I actually do like how Jonah's departure was handled. Ever since Rise of the Tomb Raider Jonah has been trying to get Lara to let go of her need for revenge and move on with her life and not only has Lara continued on her quest to take down Trinity she has left Jonah in the dark for months at a time and he was just sick of her always lying to him. Jonah gives Lara one last chance to leave Trinity be but Lara refuses and with that Jonah wishes Lara good luck and hope she finds what she is looking for but if she won't let him catch her then he can't force himself to watch her fall and says goodbye.

It's a well written scene that fits with his character and the story that was set up in Rise. So why is it that Sam is forced to leave Lara by first being possessed by Himiko and later her parents pretty much refusing to let Lara near her and Lara asking Sam's parents to take Sam somewhere safe? Because Sam would've refuse to listen and if she and Lara ever met face to face Sam would make it clear that she is sticking with her to the end and she is not going anywhere. Sam is strong willed and is not someone who will just except Lara's request to leave so she has to be put into situations where she's forced to leave Lara. It's the same reason Lois and Clark were now no longer married in the New 52 because if they were there was no way they would ever be separated even if this was a reboot the writers knew that idea would never stick, EVER! Same thing with Sam, the writers did such a great job at fleshing out Sam that her just leaving Lara of her own volition would never work as Sam was to loyal to Lara for that to ever happen so they had to find a way for her to be parked that didn't break her character.

And much like with Lois and Clark being married again in DC Rebirth I do think that Sam will return as, just like the Lois and Clark we all grew up with, Sam is just to well developed and well rounded to ever be kept down. And as resent articles on other websites have shown, people have noted Sam's absence in the resent film and they are not happy with how her part in the story was taken over by Lara's boring father who had little to no character.
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Submitted on
March 17