As an expert on the Tomb Raider films (as in, I've read their Wikipedia plot summaries), I think I've identified their problem, as well as those of other action movies with women protagonists. (Please note: I'm not talking about women co-protagonists, as in The Terminator, or members of a team, a la X-Men, but flat-out primary characters, as in Elektra or Bloodrayne.) Consider for a moment action movies with female protagonists. I can think of three good ones: Terminator 2 (if we consider Sarah Connor a flat-out protagonist, which is, frankly, iffy), Alien and Kill Bill (really only - Vol. 2, but I digress). But I can think of a number of bad ones: not just those mentioned above but Supergirl, Cutthroat Island, Aeon Flux, Ultraviolet, Resident Evil (all of them), Underworld (ditto), Charlie's Angels (ditto). So far as I know, all of the above bad female protagonist movies suffer from a dearth of emotional appeal. In none of the movies do you really give a darn about the heroine, or identify with her in her journey. And I also note that none of the three good ones give their heroines a romantic plot arc. Perhaps one reason that the heroines-with-romances action films tend not to connect with audiences is that such love plots are a lose-lose-lose proposition. Horny teen boys don't want to see Lara Croft make out with a guy who isn't them, and when action heroines are physically stronger than their male partners, emotional credibility problems generally ensue. (Example: Matthew Modine on his Cutthroat Island role.) Far more people, in short, enjoy seeing a hunk rescue a damsel in distress than seeing the damsel rescue the hunk. I'm not saying that's right or wrong, good or bad, it's just the reality of a high-risk market enterprise as I see it. Case in point: in Star Wars, before the sequels, did anyone really think Luke and Leia might end up together? No, because she's much stronger than she is. Leia and Han, though, maybe. So, what's the upshot? Are big-budget heroine-centered action movies doomed? Maybe not... if the heroine rescues a damsel of her own. The horny boys would be fine, I suspect, with Lara Croft flirting with and getting romantic with another beautiful woman. And if it were understood that the heroine were a lesbian, audiences would accept their being attracted to partners that are just as smart and good-hearted but not quite as badass as themselves. The films' backers make their money, audiences have a good time, the culture becomes a touch more accepting of diversity, everybody wins. Thoughts?