Review: Kong: Skull Island

Thumbs up or thumbs down? Simple, spoiler free reviews.

 A team of scientists, soldiers and adventurers unites to explore a mythical, uncharted island in the Pacific Ocean. Cut off from everything they know they venture into the domain of the mighty Kong. As their mission of discovery becomes one of survival, they must fight to escape a primal Eden in which humanity does not belong.

Kong: Skull Island is the second film in the ‘MonsterVerse’ following up from 2014’s reboot of Godzilla. This time, it’s the King Kong franchise getting a reboot. Is this Kong verses Godzilla?! No, but that is coming in 2020 though but first we’ve got to follow the Marvel plan of multiple set up films before the big team up fight movie.

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How does Kong know that after being attacked by humans, from the group he’s never met before, that some still have good intentions and doesn’t slaughter them too?

Tom Hiddleston is solid, yet mostly unremarkable in the lead role and Samuel L. Jackson is dependable as ever. I wasn’t really a fan of John C. Reilly’s character in this film though. He’s there for comic relief but wasn’t all that funny and was more irritating than anything else. Having watched Patriots Day recently and seen how they can have genuine humorous moments in a film about terrorism, kind of makes you think when an action movie falls flat on that front. Meanwhile John Goodman is the Bryan Cranston of this movie, i.e. not in it anywhere near enough.

I would say that I enjoyed the human cast in Kong far more than in Godzilla but once again the characters in general are pretty much 2D sketches. Back story? Story arcs? Forget about it, we’ve only got time for a few hints. Having said that though, if the option was another 3 hour King Kong film to get back story then I’m fine without it. However, when you introduce an entire new civilisation only to give them 10 minutes of screen time. That grinds my gears.

Tying Kong: Skull Island directly into the ‘MonsterVerse’ is the government organisation, Monarch. Monarch who literally exist to research monsters are completely rubbish. John Goodman’s plan is to prove Kong exists. So all you need to do is get on the island, take a few pictures, some samples and leave. Don’t drop bombs you flipping idiots. Granted they’d still have to deal with everything else that wants to kill them but that’s fine. Why risk pissing off Kong?

Don’t think you’re just paying to see a giant ‘monkey’ either. We’ve got weird supersized monsters galore. Most are only presented as a brief threat before everyone moves on but it does show the depth in diversity on the island. During the main fight scene between the Skull Crawler and Kong all I could think about was ‘man, I wash that was Godzilla’. Still the Skull Crawlers are interesting creatures in their own right.

Kong though is a good, mindless romp and other than being perhaps slightly picky, I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it. The effects are great and Kong looks amazing. I approve of the 70’s Vietnam era for the story as well. It’s like Apocalypse now meets big old monsters, I love it. The entire aesthetic and tone are really cool. Plus, the soundtrack is awesome.

No it’s not a perfect film, but I’m not sure that’s actually possible when it comes to big monster movies. At the end of the day, it’s okay. Worth a watch if you’re up for something not too taxing and you want to see big animals fight.

Verdict: Thumbs Up

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