The Legend of Tarzan

2016 • 109 minutes
4.72K reviews
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About this movie

It has been years since the man once known as Tarzan (Skarsgård) left the jungles of Africa behind for a gentrified life as John Clayton III, Lord Greystoke, with his beloved wife, Jane (Robbie) at his side. Now, he has been invited back to the Congo to serve as a trade emissary of Parliament, unaware that he is a pawn in a deadly convergence of greed and revenge, masterminded by the Belgian, Captain Leon Rom (Waltz). But those behind the murderous plot have no idea what they are about to unleash.

Ratings and reviews

4.72K reviews
Kyle Vansteelandt
December 16, 2021
This updated film adaptation by David Yates (director) takes place in the Congo during the 1880s, where John Clayton the third (Alexandre Skarsgard) is convinced to return to his former home to investigate the rumors of slavery and save his wife named Jane (Margot Robbie). Meanwhile, a greedy captain named Leon Rom (Christophe Waltz) has the ambition to deliver Tarzan to Chief Mbonga so he will get the diamonds to become rich and rule all of Congo. It is amazing that David Yates took a break from the fantasy genre and do something different. "The Legend of Tarzan" strikes an unusual fusion between legendary fiction (the novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs) and historical realism (usually involving George Williams, the rogue Belgians, and the British Prime Minister) to create an anachronistic epic adventure that feels quite swashbuckling to transcend it's genre that is already enthralling. What I love about this movie is that it has so much fun taking itself seriously, and David Yates (along with his company) did an exceptional job at doing this, especially when he adds dramatic gravity to it's genre; The adventure aspect of it's genre is rousing and deep. Not to mention that it moves at an appropriate pace as well. The intense action is supported by the slick screenplay by the writers named Adam Cozad and Craig Brewer, the polished editing by Mark Day, and most importantly: the thunderous tone. The movie even has a handful of amusing moments that are genuinely funny and nicely handled. I must say that this is one of the most emotional movies I have ever seen; the movie offers poignant power from some of the set-pieces that are compelling, the chemistry between John and Jane, and the flashbacks. Whenever John or Jane thinks about their backstories, or gets a feeling of deja vu, or knows how much they love their families or love each other, a flashback kicks in, and these flashbacks add sympathetic depth to our heroes. Did I mention that I find these flashbacks touching? Well, they most certainly are. The film has a spectacular exterior that contains haunting cinematography by Henry Braham, and a special color palette to make the exterior look old-fashioned without using gritty texture. I must add that the movie looks beautiful when the sun shines down to cover the land, the trees, and the actors. But during the more somber, dramatic moments, the movie looks gloomy and ominous. The astounding effects are brought to persuasive life by Rodeo FX and MPC; the computer-generated animals especially are so photorealistic with vivid precision in every way, and they are implemented in the film so well with awe-inspiring results. There are also a few minimal animal facts that are truly accurate; facts about the hippopotamus, the ostrich, the zebra, and the fact that gorillas are gentle. The fictional apes that raised Tarzan are called Mangani. The richly stirring score by Rupert Gregson Williams is emotionally satisfying to my ears, and it really escalates the execution of the movie. The characterizations are exactly how I wanted them to be and how they are supposed to be; each character here is strong, smart, and has background to them. Being a robust and likable hero, Alexander Skarsgard is perfect for the role as John Clayton the third (better known as Tarzan); not only that he talks to animals, he loves the animals too. He goes in for a big dare to end Rom's reign of despair and avenge the Mangani family that are becoming an endangered species. Margot Robbie plays Jane Clayton; the wife of John. For an adult relationship, the romantic chemistry between the two is pretty cute. Samuel L. Jackson plays the supporting character named George Williams with his tongue-in-cheek performance. Christophe Waltz plays the evil Leon Rom with his collected performance as he plays this Belgian official to take over Congo with an iron fist. In conclusion: Having everything that I have ever wanted, David Yates's take on the novel is an incredibly enjoyable masterpiece of it's genre, and I adore this film adaptation. Highly Recommended.
Britton Thompson
September 24, 2016
A great modern addition to the Tarzan franchise. It has an amazing cast & very solid visual effects. The VFX could've been a little better during the African jungle sequences. Although this jungle pales in comparison to the lush scenery of 2016 The Jungle Book & 2005 King Kong, they make up for it through their photography by using light very effectively to create moody outdoor settings. The only thing I can see tripping up some viewers is the over-reaching engine they use to power the plot. It uses historical & political fiction to cast Tarzan in a role that's somewhat akin to him being a British secret agent saving all of the Congo from Belgium's King Leopold II, and his top geopolitical envoy, the villainous Leon Rom. Leon Rom wants to be appointed Congo's Governor General by Leopold II; intending to hire 20,000 mercenaries as his own private army in order to enforce his rule— paying them with the abundant natural resources he's stripping from the Congo by using slave labor. This is Tarzan's objective: He must rescue his wife, and he must also save an entire nation. It's a little much, I say. Otherwise, I love this movie. Alexander Skarsgaard is a magnificent Tarzan! Loved it.
509 people found this review helpful
Nancy Vasquez
November 1, 2016
I have yet to see this movie, but I jut read another review by someone else and as a fan of the Tarzan story I had to correct something. I don't know how to respond to that person directly so I'll just put it here. Tarzan was not black or native american. You obviously didn't read the original book because then you'd know that Tarzan was an English aristocrat. His parents were John and Alice Clayton (Lord and Lady Greystoke) who were abandoned in the jungle by pirates where they died and Tarzan was adopted by the apes. That's a big part of the story was the fact that these high society people (Jane Porter, her father, etc.) found this wild man in the jungle, but even more so that he was white, obviously of European decent and, by his features, was well bred. That's what made him such an anomaly and his presence in the African jungle such a mystery. As to the people who were saying this isn't like the Disney movie, well I'm pretty sure that's because Disney didn't make this one (Don't quote me I'm not 100% on that). But really if you had seen even one trailer for this movie you should have gotten the jist of what it was about. I'm sure I'll have an actual review once I watch it.
119 people found this review helpful