Kong: Skull Island

Kong: Skull Island ★★★

I saw this movie 3 dang times in theaters, and tried my hardest to champion it as some undersung action masterpiece that everyone needed to see, the perfect brainless-brawl that delivered incredible action, an A-list cast doing their thing, and some vaguely anti-war/colonialist rhetoric in order to seem timely. Now the action is still well-visualized and executed, but nearly every other aspect of this aside from two performances in particular feels so slapdash in its execution. And it's not just the flat characters but the sloppy editing, ADR, and incredibly awkward jokes that make this feel like a quick patch-job of some sort, a lot of studio guidance on top of an inventive idea like "Apocalypse Now but Kong".

The things that work about it, namely Kong, the action, Jackson, and Reilly, feel like a director being given free reign to be as pulpy and geeky as they want, giving us fantastic creature designs, fluid kaiju fights that demonstrate a distinct personality for Kong, and references to Dr. Steve Brule with the delightfully invested John C. Reilly. Jackson's part isn't as inventive or strong but is delivered and performed with such vigor by Jackson that he makes his character's story work by sheer force of will. The rest of the movie is modern, big budget trash studio writing that is devoid of any kind of unique voice for me, with jokes like that whole "do you even have a bed" joke that just baffles me. Who is finding that funny or worth our time??

My views on this movie have changed a lot, but I still get a big thrill out of Kong anytime he's on screen and once Reilly enters the picture, things get a lot more tolerable. I'm no longer willing to die for this movie but can still give into its trashy whims for some fun every now and then.

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