The plot begins years after Tarzan has departed the Congo for Victorian England, leaving his tree-swinging days far behind him. He's now an upstanding citizen known by the name of John Clayton III (Alexander Skarsgård), the fifth Earl of Greystoke and a member of the House of Lords. But he soon goes back to his wild ways when he returns to the Congo after being invited by Belguim's King Leopold. Little does he know he's being led into a trap by his treacherous enemy Leon Rom (Christoph Waltz) who's working for the King to capture the lord of the jungle and deliver him to a vengeful tribal chief in exchange for a fortune in diamonds.
Skarsgard's portrayal of the tree-swinging wildman deserves a standing ovation. This juxtaposed with his ability to play an upstanding gentleman living in London and making decisions. His portrayal from the very beginning made it apparent it was a very fresh take on the iconic figure.
Most of the film was shot in studios in London, meaning a heck of a lot of the film relies on CGI. Using advanced technology and special effects is apparently what attracted the director of the final four Harry Potter films, David Yates, to the project.
The unique love story between Tarzan and wife Jane (Margot Robbie) is made ever more believable through their connection and love for each other outside of the jungle. Robbie does a stunning job at playing Jane, who is refreshingly the opposite of a damsel in distress, portraying the modern-day woman. Her character is a strong, feisty, independent woman who'll stop at nothing to protect her Congo family. She has a few fist fights and it's worth mentioning she does her own stunts too.
I felt emotionally invested in the remake of Tarzan from the very beginning. As George Washington Williams, Samuel L Jackson brought his brilliance to the film and a lighter side to the dark tale. He plays Tarzan's chaperone who at first is a drag on the fast moving pack but it turns out he saves Tarzan's bacon a few times.
The standout actor in this one has to be Waltz. His excellence and style in playing a believable villain shines through in his character portrayal. Even though it seems he's typecast as the bad guy in most of his films, he is very good at playing the sadistic Rom who will get rid of anyone and anything to get what he wants.
The plot follows twists and turns featuring wildly realistic animals from lions to elephants. The stark reality of what it would be like being brought up around wild animals is reflected through savage fight scenes between Tarzan and his gorilla brothers.