The Legend of Tarzan

Alexander Skarsgård, Margot Robbie, Samuel L. Jackson, Christoph Waltz
Directed by David Yates
Rating: B

The Legend of Tarzan tackles human nature: can a man of the jungle be tamed as a sophisticated English aristocrat?

John Clayton (Skarsgård) was born as the fifth Earl of Greystoke but he wasn’t raised like any typical upstanding citizen. He was born in the jungle, raised by apes and known as Tarzan. Yet he learned to be civilized and traveled to England with his wife, Jane (Robbie).

The English prime minister and an American named George Washington Williams (Jackson) want John to return to the Congo so that England can become partners with Belgium, who has land there. Only Williams has an idea that the Belgians are enslaving the Congolese and he wants John to help him prove it.

However, it’s merely a trap as Leon Rom (Waltz) wants to lure John to a tribe who wants him dead. In exchange, the tribe will allow the Belgians access to rare diamonds that will make them rich and supply mercenaries that will colonize the Congos.

The Legend of Tarzan feels like one of the truest adaptations of the Tarzan movies made to date. The relationship between John and the animals in the jungle seems so realistic; it’s not like the writers made talking animals happen so John could get them to do as he needs. I like the way he can communicate with them, as someone who respects them for what they are.

Then there’s the plot, where John is not only on a mission to save Jane from the bad guys but also to save the people of Africa from becoming slaves. Christoph Waltz returns to the silver screen as a villain and, as usual, fills the role out nicely. Leon Rom is motivated by power and greed, but there is a lack of really knowing who his character is.

The cinematography is a perk, from watching as John swings from vine to vine in the jungle to the jungle canopy, that makes for stunning views and worth watching alone. The story is interesting enough to keep viewers from getting too bored, and there are a few tense moments between John and the apes that are almost unnerving to watch.

It may not be a movie young kids who have seen the animated Tarzan movie should go to, but it’s suitable enough for those who can stand a few violent scenes.

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