The tale of the man raised by apes has been told ad nauseam, yet David Yates, who directed the last four Harry Potter movies, makes a strong case, visually and thematically, for reinvention. In this telling the hero (Alexander Skarsgård) has been living in Victorian England for nearly a decade with his wife, Jane (Margot Robbie), when he’s lured back to the jungle by an envoy from the King of Belgium (Christoph Waltz). Inspired in part by Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, the narrative incorporates actual events (King Leopold II’s horrific regime in the Congo) and people (Samuel L. Jackson as a fictionalized version of American journalist George Washington Williams) into the established Tarzan lore. The examination of European colonialism elevates this above most movies about the ape man, even though Great Britain gets a pass.
(Rotten Tomatoes is up from 26 to 34%)