The Legend of Tarzan starts with a novel concept on how to reintroduce the legendary Ape-Man to today’s modern audience. Instead of going heavy origin story with Tarzan going from the jungle to civilization, director David Yates gives the audience The Dark Tarzan Returns spin on this classic hero. In this new reimagined take on the jungle man, Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgård) has left the treetops behind and is living a posh life in London with his now wife Jane played by the always stunning Margot Robbie. Tarzan has gone so far to disassociate himself with the past by now calling himself John Clayton. All this changes when Tarzan hears the call of the wild and must return to his roots and protect his homeland from developers looking to exploit the riches and people of the land.
The Legend of Tarzan storytelling method may have looked to be a winner on paper, but the results are average even in its best moments. For one thing there is not enough vine swinging action for those that are familiar with Tarzan lore. Tarzan is John Clayton for most of the movie which involves him staring at his beautiful Jane from a distant. When we do finally get Tarzan, it’s hard to get the image of mopey John Clayton out of your mind. Skarsgård is a handsome man, but he just doesn’t embody what it is to play Tarzan. Robbie on the other hand plays the damsel in distress well, but has very little chemistry with Skarsgård which hurts the romantic side of Tarzan we are used in past adaptations.
When the action does finally pick up in The Legend of Tarzan, we are treated to sub par CGI with animals that all move and look the same. There is no personality to any of the animals in this world like we saw in The Jungle Book remake. The apes don’t look real, Tarzan swinging is copied directly from the original Spiderman trilogy and even the scenic landscapes have a manufactured quality to them. For a movie that needs to rely on our computer generated animal players to look and feel real, The Legend of Tarzan struggles. You can’t just put a scar on an ape and say that’s his personality. You have to breathe life into these creatures and the team behind this film forgot to do that.
Another huge negative for The Legend of Tarzan is mishandling an actor with the skills of Christoph Waltz. Just like his previous Spectre role, Waltz’s villainous Leon Rom is quite forgettable. There was a chance to make this guy truly despicable, but instead he’s a guy looking for diamonds and has a necklace that he uses as a weapon. Not taking advantage of actor like Waltz is a huge misstep and helping the audience get behind our hero. In a crowded theater landscape full of Avengers, Pixar fish and stellar Disney remakes, the lord of the jungle has a hard time standing out as special in The Legend of Tarzan.
Overall, I give The Legend of Tarzan 2 out of 4 stars.
Read all my reviews here–>Entertainment Now with T.M. Powell