We take filmmaker Ben Wheatley very seriously around these parts. He’s made too many new classics to ever discount out of hand, regardless of how bizarre the project.
Which is to say we are meeting the following news with as much optimism as we can muster. Deadline reports that Ben Wheatley has signed on to direct part two of Alicia Vikander’s Tomb Raider franchise. Take a moment to let that settle. Check your calendar, confirm it’s not April 1st. This is apparently for real.
First off, I’m surprised we’re even getting a Tomb Raider sequel. The first film is okay but I was under the impression the world forgot it even existed. I can confirm that I barely remember it at all. It must have made money, but it never felt like a hit movie to me.
As for Wheatley, his output has been far too varied to pigeonhole him into any one genre or even style, and I guess every good filmmaker deserves to get at least one big paycheck. Will his idiosyncrasies make it through the studio notes? I doubt it. Wheatley also made some Doctor Who episodes and brought his talents to the show’s already established parameters and aesthetic rather than try to imbue it with his own flavor. I wouldn’t expect much subversion here.
But hey, maybe this means Tomb Raider 2 will at least be good at what it’s trying to do, which I assume is offer a fun adventure film in which the central character almost dies a lot. If we start hearing the film will only be 90 minutes long, we’ll know the Wheatley we love is in there somewhere, doing his best to keep things simple and fun.