The Legend of Tarzan

The Legend of Tarzan ★★★★

David Yates' LEGEND OF TARZAN is pure pulp fun, with a touching beating heart at its center. It would be easy to dismiss this film as another in a long line of Hollywood films that deal with the "great white hope" that helps/saves the oppressed. Yates' story is a tad bit more nuanced than that when it comes to the details of how John Clayton III, lord of Greystoke goes back to the Congo as a trade ambassador, at the behest of Parliament, to broker a deal there.

While it is true that Tarzan does indeed lead a rebellion for the oppressed, the more important, more interesting part of the film is the story of how John Clayton III and his wife Jane, played by Margot Robbie, regain themselves. Yates' yarn is a story of being true to oneself. In this case, John Clayton III must regain the legend, his true self. He must go home. He must be Tarzan.

With Samuel L. Jackson and Christoph Waltz adding gravitas and humor the proceedings, Yates' film is adventurous, fun, wonderfully realized, and visually staggering. The action is well done. The visuals are gorgeous. Top to bottom, this is a mostly ace production.

In the end, this is not as good as Disney's animated classic. But, it easily sits behind that film as the second best Tarzan film to ever grace the cinema screens.

With his stunning work on the last four Harry Potter films (ORDER OF THE PHOENIX, THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE, DEATHLY HALLOWS PART I and II) and this film, it is quite clear to me that David Yates is a filmmaker that can tell great stories on the largest of scales. I can not wait for Yates' FANTASTIC BEASTS and WHERE TO FIND THEM. His streak should continue. In the meantime, swing with his LEGEND OF TARZAN. It's worth it.