georgesmoviebin’s review published on Letterboxd:
For my second film in my marathon leading up to Godzilla vs. Kong, we have Kong: Skull Island which is basically a prequel to Godzilla (2014). This film takes place in 1973 directly after the United States withdrew their forces in Vietnam and it starts off with 2 geologists getting clearance to explore the mysterious Skull Island after finding an image on a satellite camera. They get their clearance as well as a military escort alongside a tracker and a photographer, both played by Tom Hiddleston and Brie Larson. As they manage to break across as major storm surrounding the island, as spotted in the satellite image, the geologists make landfall on this island and the team of military helicopters above are dropping seismic charges onto the ground where the geologists can do their work. But what they don’t realize is that the seismic charges got the attention of a giant monkey named Kong, who is the size of a building and knocks down 2 helicopters before the rest set up a perimeter around him. Not knowing that Kong was defending his territory from a much greater enemy, the military shoots at him only to get completely smashed out of the sky. Most of them survive, including a the geologists, the tracker, the photographer, and some of the soldiers, but their commanding officer played by Samuel L. Jackson wants revenge after leaving some of his men dead. The survivors journey throughout the island to meet up at an extraction point to get picked up, but they meet up with another soldier, played by John C. Reilly, who was left stranded on Skull Island since 1944 where he takes the survivors to a village with the island natives and explains that Kong is king of the island and protects it against what he calls the skull crawlers. Both groups of survivors meet up later on and the soldiers want to kill Kong while the geologists explain that Kong is not the enemy. The soldiers later set up a trap to kill Kong and it nearly works until the geologists intervene and stops them from finishing off, and it is later revealed that the biggest skull crawler comes up from beneath to fight Kong. Kong finishes it off in a brutal battle and the survivors all make it to the extraction point to head back home. Overall this film is pretty solid and I really enjoyed watching it again. I still think that this film focuses a lot on the human characters more than Kong himself, much like what I explained in my Godzilla (2014) review, but we probably see Kong more in this film than Godzilla in his film. In the scenes with Kong, when he’s not engaged in combat against creatures his size, we see that Kong isn’t really the monster that the military sees him as, he’s just a creature who has emotions and stands to protect his island from any threats it may face, whereas Godzilla is just an alpha predator who takes down any adversary to prove that he is the king of the monsters, in my opinion. I can’t wait to continue my marathon with Godzilla: King of the Monsters and to see Godzilla and Kong face off in Godzilla vs. Kong.