REVIEW: The Legend of Tarzan

Distributed By: Warner Bros.
Director: David Yates
Writers: Adam Cozad, Craig Brewer (Based on Tarzan stories by Edgar Rice Burroughs)
Starring: Alexander Skarsgard, Christoph Waltz, Samuel L Jackson, Margot Robbie, Sidney Ralitsoele, Osy Ikhile, Mens-Sana Tamakloe, Antony Acheampong

The Legend of Tarzan Warner Bros

The Legend of Tarzan Warner Bros

Tarzan’s twenty-first-century makeover works; Alexander Skarsgard is suitably brooding and every man’s favourite ape-man as he tends to talk less and act more.

Which should make The Legend of Tarzan zip – swing, if you must – along at a pretty quick pace. And there are moments when it does just that and the audience is pulled in……but then it’s flashback time. Backstory puts the brakes on and the film’s true momentum falters, the audience is also forced to play catch-up on what time frame The Legend of Tarzan is actually in. Which could be forgivable if it just occurred in a few lumps at the beginning of the movie and maybe once in the middle, but the backstory is hose-pipped all over the narrative. Whist the insistence on backstory does not ruin The Legend of Tarzan it does irritate and does not always work in the way maybe the director intended.

The supporting cast work well in equipping The Legend of Tarzan with a good depth of story peopled with believable characters. Samuel L Jackson is a surprise and he drags his role out of the realm of cliché and into the reality of the film, which has more to do with Jackson’s acting than the lines he has to spout. Christoph Waltz is as chilling and calming as his role in the last Bond outing Spectre. In many ways Waltz’s character is the most addictive outside of Tarzan. But I suspect that is the nature of bad guys.  I still wince at the demise of Hans Gruber – I mean he did off that annoying yuppie. But I digress.

Margot Robbie as Mrs Tarzan does not suffer fools gladly either and forgoes the simpering, weakness that might have been expected for the role. So from Robbie there is strength and determination all over the screen whenever she fills it. Mrs Tarzan is what my grandfather would have called: A spitfire.

There have been many Tarzan films, I doubt this will be the last. There is much to like and admire in The Legend of Tarzan. The factual history of the nineteenth century European Powers getting together to decide how to cut up Africa for themselves is certainly something I warm too; historical context. It might just be me but I like facts in my fiction! The attempt to address the issue of slavery in Africa is a mighty plus for The Legend of Tarzan too.

And that is why there is a need to forgive the clumsy backstory in The Legend of Tarzan.  And realise, after all these years, Tarzan has come of age in this twenty-first-century outing and The Legend of Tarzan is not the best, it is, in fact the greatest Tarzan movie to date.

 

Review: Steve Hooker
Reviews Editor: My evil twin brother.

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