How far can a ripped torso take a movie? Pray that The Legend of Tarzan is the jungle adventure answer to Magic Mike XXL.
On paper, this summer's animalistic action movie looks like a huge win. There's Alexander Skarsgård, hunk on the outside, thoughtful actor on the inside (see: Diary of a Teenage Girl). There's Margot Robbie, on the precipice of stardom after The Wolf of Wall Street, Focus, and a high-profile role in August's Suicide Squad). There's two-time Oscar winner Christoph Waltz, villainizing alongside his Django Unchained co-star Samuel L. Jackson. And behind the camera there's David Yates, who directed the final four Harry Potter movies -- all eclectic, all dazzling. There's never been a truly great Tarzan movie (you try watching that Disney version again), but hey, 2016 is a good time to start.
Which makes the complete lack of ferocity in the Tarzan trailer a little worrisome. The setpieces are tidy, and the CG effects go through the motions. Maybe in context the Skarsgård-Waltz face-off will spark. We don't see that in this two-and-a-half-minute cut, but what we do see is Skarsgård's physique. Tarzan swings with the apes. He nuzzles lionesses. He wrestles with hippos. He needs to be in shape. Skarsgård was up to the task. Zoologists of the future will look at you and me and see Cro-Magnon steps on the evolutionary chart toward Skarsgård's six-pack perfection.
He is man. Hear him roar. And hope his modelesque figure can hold our interest during two hours of ape-on-human rumbles.
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Matt Patches is Thrillist’s Entertainment Editor. He previously wrote for Grantland, Esquire.com, Vulture, The Hollywood Reporter, and The Guardian. He pales in comparison to Alexander Skarsgård. Find him on Twitter @misterpatches.