After this year’s highly divisive Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, Warner Brothers and DC Studios keep the DC Cinematic Universe going with Suicide Squad. Picking up directly after the events of Batman vs Superman, the story finds the U.S. Government in the unenviable position of being unable to defend the country against attacks by what they call meta-humans. Meta-humans are, of course, humans with super powers or unique abilities. With so many meta-humans appearing, the government decides to recruit some unlikely assistants into their ranks.
I’ve never seen a remake refer to its source material so often and with such reverence that it felt like a two hour suggestion that maybe you should, in fact, be watching the original film. That is exactly what Paul Feig’s 2016 Ghostbusters reboot feels like.
At every opportunity, a cameo or wink-wink/nudge-nudge moment is trotted out and everytime it somehow refers to the original Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis script. There is nary a single original idea in Feig and co-writer Katie Dippold’s script. Everything from the origins of the Ghostbusters’ logo, their headquarters or even their advertising methods makes references to the original film.
I grew up on a steady diet of Tarzan as a child. Whether it was the old Johnny Weissmuller films from the 1930s and 40s, the Ron Ely television series from the 1960s, or the 1970s DC Comics version of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ character, I was constantly being exposed to him. The idea of a boy raised by apes and then growing up to become a guardian of the jungle and its animal inhabitants just struck a chord with me. The fact that he was also connected to aristocracy and had immense riches was just the icing on the cake.
I was skeptical when I heard that another reboot of the character was headed to theaters. Recent attempts to modernize older characters, for the most part, haven’t fared very well. (Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Barsoom series, which was the inspiration for Disney’s ill-fated John Carter, immediately comes to mind.) However, the trailers for The Legend of Tarzan looked interesting enough so I decided to give it the chance to rekindle my interest in John Clayton III, Lord Greystoke.
The film opens with an explanation of Belgium’s King Leopold and his failed attempts to colonize the African Congo. Debt-ridden and desperate for cash, Leopold sends Leon Rom (Christoph Waltz, in fine cartoony villain mode), into the jungle searching for a long-rumored source of diamonds. Rom finds that these diamonds are in a territory called Opar, which is controlled by Chief Mbonga and his warriors. Mbonga is willing to trade access to the diamonds for the capture of Tarzan.