It has been in development since 2008 with numerous changes made along the way but finally The Legend of Tarzan has arrived. The story starts off in England where Jane (Margot Robbie) and Tarzan/John Clayton III (Alexander Skarsgard) have been living for years. Soon they receive an invitation to return to Africa by King Leopold, which Tarzan/John declines, until George Williams Washington (Samuel L Jackson) convinces him to return to help the Congolese. George explains that he suspects Leopold to be the one who’s been taking people away to be sold off into slavery. Unbeknownst to them, the invitation is a set up by Leopold’s ruthless deputy, Leon Rom (Christoph Waltz), to capture Tarzan/John.
This is an absolutley beautiful movie to watch, however, its one flaw is the storyline. It touches on some awful historical events and topics but it never properly conveys the horrors of it all. Understandably, the studio and the film makers wanted an adventure film which could be enjoyed by everyone but the story should have been meatier. There are a number of flashbacks to the beginning of Tarzan’s life and his first meeting with Jane throughout the movie, all of which flow well with the continuation of the plot without it being disjointed.
The story lacks in parts but the impressive visuals certainly make up for it. The wide shots of the African landscape shows its magical beauty without any interference from the special effects team. While the rest of the scenes were shot on a sound stage in England, with CGI added later, it’s almost indistinguishable to tell between what’s real and what is computer generated on screen. Nedless to say, the people behind these effects deserve a few awards.
It’s impossible to fault any of the talent involved in bringing these characters alive. Samuel L Jackson is hilarious as his character tries to keep up with Tarzan/John in the jungle. The brilliant Christoph Waltz plays the cunning Rom in a restrained way, he is truly despicable to the core but his awfulness is not in your face, unlike most villains in other movies.
Margot Robbie and Alexander Skarsgard were the perfect choices to play Jane and Tarzan/John. Robbie’s Jane is not a damsel in distress kind, instead she is a fiesty fighter. Skarsgard doesn’t just show off his acting chops but he also brings his jaw droppingly wonderful physique to the character. It’s nice to see him finally playing the lead in such a huge blockbuster.
Overall, even with its faults, The Legend of Tarzan is a spectacular looking and thoroughly enjoyable popcorn movie.
I rate it 6 out of 10 stars.
The Legend of Tarzan is in cinemas now.