The English lord formerly known as Tarzan must return to Africa to stop
a conspiracy to enslave the African people and mine their diamonds.
The Legend of Tarzan (2016)
Directed by David Yates
Written by Adam Cozad and Craig Brewer
Starring Alexander Skarsgård, Margot Robbie, Samuel L. Jackson, Christoph Waltz, Djimon Hounsou, Jim Broadbent
Based on characters created by Edgar Rice Burroughs
I didn't expect a lot from The Legend of Tarzan. It's a story that's been told countless times and really didn't need to be told again. We live in an age where literally anything can and will be rebooted in one form or another, so it was only a matter of time before Hollywood producers chose Tarzan. What I didn't expect was for the film to be exciting, thought-provoking, and wildly entertaining. This film exceeded all my expectations and delivered a solid retelling of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes and answered the question of what Tarzan did when he finally went home to England.
Alexander Skarsgård may not be the best actor in the world, but he certainly looks the part of Tarzan. He does a serviceable job in the role and succeeds at making the Ape-Man a good protagonist. Margot Robbie excels in the role of Jane, Tarzan's tough-as-nails wife who's every bit as connected to Africa as her husband. Christoph Waltz was a good pick for the villain, Leon Rom, a Belgian mercenary who's after his weight in diamonds, but it's starting to feel like Waltz is playing the same character in every movie he appears in. He's the European sociopath who gives long-winded speeches that show off his intellect but he ultimately loses due to his own ego. Maybe it's time to switch it up. Samuel L. Jackson stole the show as American diplomat George Washington Williams. His constant eye rolls at Tarzan's incredible agility and near-superhuman abilities make for some much-needed laughs in an otherwise bleak adventure.
This film certainly pushes an agenda of environmental conservation, which I expected in a film about a jungle warrior, although it pushes the envelope a little when Tarzan can actually speak to and plan strategies with the animals of Africa. The CGI looks a little fuzzy at times, which is never a good sign, but the film ultimately pushes through its flaws to deliver an exciting big-screen version of everybody's favorite vine-swinging jungle hero.