Kong: Skull Island

Kong: Skull Island

This is the Kong movie I've dreamt of seeing since I was a kid - an imaginative island adventure and an absolutely-goddamn-relentless monster movie, all with a beautifully-realized, ass-kicking ape at the center. The action/imagery here is some of the craziest I've seen since "Fury Road", and even in the film's weaker spots (the first act is filled with awkward exposition, and there are character motivations that don't entirely make sense), the natural charm of its cast and the clear vision Jordan Vogt-Roberts shows keeps things afloat. Some may be quick to write this off as just a dumb B-movie, but that's a discredit to the style, creativity, and yes, SMARTS, on display here. The film uses Vietnam Era aesthetics and tropes to truly effective means, and while it may be about as subtle as propaganda, the film's message of pointless war against that which we don't understand, paired with the "man vs. nature" conflict that's so integral to this character, gives the film some tangible soul.