The Legend of Tarzan, starring Alexander Skarsgard as the titular “King of the Jungle,” is premiering in theaters this weekend to mixed reviews.

The David Yates-directed Legend of Tarzan puts a twist on the Tarzan narrative that most people are familiar with. In this iteration of the story, Tarzan starts out in 1880s Victorian London, having adopted his formal name and title – John Clayton III, Lord Greystoke. He had left the jungle with Jane (Margot Robbie) at his side and they are now man and wife. However, he’s drawn back to his life in the jungles of Africa, and so returns, with Jane in tow. This time around, his biggest adversary is King Leopold of Belgium’s envoy Leon Rom (Christoph Waltz).

The Legend Of Tarzan Review Roundup

Critics have so far given The Legend of Tarzan mixed reviews. While many express a disinterest in what has become something of a tired story and main character, Skarsgard’s performance is supposedly something to commend. Furthermore, the film was mindful to modernize the portrayal of colonialism and women. Problematic for a summer blockbuster, however, is the conclusion that the CGI animals are nothing to behold.

“Like its titular character, trying to reconcile being both the fifth Earl of Greystoke and the once and future King of the Jungle, “The Legend of Tarzan” wants to be both modern and traditional, hip and classic. It’s a tough balance to strike, and this film can’t manage it. Which is too bad, because actor Alexander Skarsgard, the latest iteration of the Edgar Rice Burroughs character filmed dozens of times since Elmo Lincoln donned the loincloth in 1918, turns out to be an exemplary Tarzan.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times


“The Legend of Tarzan is bursting with big ideas: animal v human, exploration v exploitation, primitivism v civilization. It’s a heavy thematic load for a single movie to handle — especially this one, which nearly collapses from its burden. […] Are you jarred by some of the anachronistic acting? Troubled that the animals are all digital? Pissed that you’ve seen it all before? At least it’s watchable. In summer, baby, that’s high praise.” – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

“I want to report an accident at the intersection of Hollywood and vines. Tarzan, that old yodeler, has been trapped in a defective vehicle. Don’t bring the jaws of life, though, because “The Legend of Tarzan,” for all its anticolonialist posturing and eminently attractive co-stars, has a dead soul. Is “gleeless” a word? It’s a good one to describe this film. – Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal

“The Legend of Tarzan” has a whole lot of fun, big-screen things going for it — adventure, romance, natural landscapes, digital animals and oceans of rippling handsome man-muscle.There’s something touching about “The Legend of Tarzan,” which as it struggles to offer old Hollywood-style adventure without old Hollywood-style racism, suggests that perhaps other fantasies are possible — you just need some thought and Mr. Jackson.” – Manohla Dargis, New York Times

The Legend of Tarzan is currently in wide release.

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