Strong & Thoughtful | Review of ‘The Legend of Tarzan’

By Cynthia Ayala

The Legend of Tarzan starring Alexander Skarsgård, Christoph Waltz, Samuel L. Jackson & Margot Robbie
Warner Bros. Pictures
Image Credit: IMDB

“Tarzan, having acclimated to life in London, is called back to his former home in the jungle to investigate the activities at a mining encampment.”


I have to say this film touches on some tough subjects regarding racism and slavery. It’s not a terribly unique plot device, but it is one that still matters today. Why? Because the past always matters. Otherwise, no one would learn anything from it.

The story uses an iconic literary figure to bring to highlight some important issues that still exist in the world today. The movie certainly doesn’t shy away from racism, but there are other important things this film highlights: the over hunting and near extinction of the wild animals that exists in the South America. It was beautiful to see the animal life represented so wonderfully, but also quite sad to see the subtle hints at the beginning of the near extinction of some of the species, in particular, the elephants. The film is rich with diversity and story and slowly the direction of the film shifts, evolving from one to another. But more importantly, it was realistic, for the most part. But there is an integral aspect of the films understanding that bridges the gap between animals and humans. This film respects that with the story and highlights who Tarzan is, and how he has evolved from the legend to the hero.

Alexander Skarsgård was perfect for the part of Tarzan, and it’s clear that the actor did his homework about it. He moved with grace and fluidity, and his performance was dark, stoic, and severe. Tarzan is a man who left his home and everything he ever knew to become a “man” in the proper London setting. He came from two completely different ways of living to evolve, to find happiness within himself. However, the writers touched on something very key: the social stigma of trying to fit in within the realm of humankind. Even today, there is this idea of what it means to be normal, to fit in. However, fitting in doesn’t quite equate to happiness. Personally, I loved that little tidbit in the film because it added a lot of depth to the characters and the story and evolved this idea of Tarzan, it developed his character and made the story and the characters resonate with the world today. Skarsgård brought that to life wonderfully, capturing the all of the character inner turmoil and bringing it to the surface. It was a dominant performance.

Let’s not forget the rest of the cast, however, all of which were brilliant. Samuel L. Jackson is the man, always. He was great in bringing this character to life, highlighting the injustices of the past with his performance while also making the film a little lighter. Jackson wasn’t the comic relief, but his realism made some the scenes incredibly hilarious, and not in a bad way. Jackson is just phenomenal at what he does. Then there are Christoph Waltz & Margot Robbie. Waltz made a brilliant villain because he was so unsuspecting first appearing to be a weakling on one hand and then on another, he’s a terrifying force to be reckoned with. To see an actor shift like that in seconds in remarkable because he also makes it believable. And Robbie, she’s just a star. That actress is outstanding at what she does and made a brilliant Jane. She had the strength and the chemistry to deliver her lines and make her character shine the way she should.

The flaw of the story is the way it looks like the plot is about one thing and then becomes something else. While the move is fluid, it could lead to some confusion because the earlier resolution led to something somewhat anticlimactic. Other than that of course, it was compelling and thoughtful with great performances. (★★★☆ |B)

—Film Credits—

Directed by David Yates

Screenplay by Adam Cozad & Craig Brewer

Story by Craig Brewer & Adam Cozad

Based on Tarzan by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Starring: Alexander Skarsgård, Christoph Waltz, Samuel L. Jackson, Margot Robbie, Sidney Ralitsoele, Osy Ikhile, Mens-Sana Tamakloe, Antony Acheampong, Edward Apeagyei
Djimon Hounsou & Ashley Byam

Rating | Length | Genre: PG-13 | 1hr 50min | Action, Adventure, Drama

Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures

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