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If, like me, you saw the initial trailers for this movie (mostly featuring a shirtless Alexander Skarsgård) and wrote it off as a shallow, uninteresting remake, then you missed out on a surprisingly good movie. Rather than focusing on retelling the story of Tarzan and Jane’s first meeting, The Legend of Tarzan opens years later, after Tarzan and Jane have returned to England and attempted to start a normal life.
Set in the Congo during the Belgian colonization of the area, the villain of the story is Léon Rom, a Belgian envoy who is willing to do anything to claim the country for his king. He strikes a deal with a tribal leader - in return for enough diamonds to pay off an army of mercenaries, he’ll deliver Tarzan. Of course, there’s the small matter of convincing Tarzan to return to Africa…
Through some political negotiations and the arguments of an American ex-soldier who suspects the Belgians are enslaving the native Congolese, Tarzan and Jane find themselves back in the Congo, where things quickly go wrong. I won’t spoil the movie any more for you, but suffice it to say that there’s plenty of action once things get rolling, and a satisfying comeuppance for the bad guys in the end.
Featuring a cast that includes Christoph Waltz as Rom, Margot Robbie as Jane, and Samuel L. Jackson as the American ex-soldier, The Legend of Tarzan works well if you go in expecting it to be what it is - a good reimagining of a familiar story, with plenty of stereotypical bad guys, and a lot of heart. Plus, the scenery is absolutely gorgeous.
It’s got Hugh Jackman, Evangeline Lilly, and fighting robots - how could you possibly go wrong with this movie? Sure, it’s a cliche feel-good story about family, remembering who you are, and overcoming impossible odds, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good movie.
So here’s the basic premise - Charlie is a former boxer who’s now into robot boxing (which is apparently the next big thing in the boxing world). When he ends up taking care of his son, Max, for a few months, he discovers he’s not very good at being a father. However, when Max finds an old robot in a junkyard, they end up bonding over getting it back into fighting condition. And after winning a bunch of fights that everyone expected them to lose, they challenge the world champion to a match.
Like I said before, it’s very much your stereotypical sports story, but it worked for me. I laughed, I cheered, and I got emotional over robots… So if you’re looking for a good fun family movie, I’d challenge you to give Real Steel a chance.