Joel Lake’s review published on Letterboxd:
Kong Skull Island is yet another iteration of the classic King Kong storyline, but now as an introduction to the classic monster to a new monster universe. As in all other versions of Kong, a team of people find an unexplored island and encounter numerous beasts there with Kong being the centerpiece. However, unlike the 2005 version, the movie doesn't waste time getting to the island and giving us Kong early and often. Every time Kong is onscreen, he is intimidating,captivating and visually stunning. The action scenes are fun and Kong comes off as the master of his domain(and a formidable foe for Godzilla heading forward in this franchise).
However, not giving the time to become invested in the human characters as the 2005 King Kong and those before achieved, the characters in this iteration felt paper thin and therefore seemed more like cannon fodder to Kong and didn't really elicit any emotion when they died which is a shame when the cast is populated with great actors like Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson, Tom Hiddleston, John Goodman and John C. Reilly along with many other that got lost in the shuffle because they were just soldiers along on the ride. Some were given some backstory(wife and kids back at home or friendly rapport with each other) but not given much to work with. Brie Larson is a main figure as the girl in distress but the only thing known about her is she is a good photographer. Samuel L.Jackson gets the most story development with John C Reilly being a close second but Jackson's development comes out of left field and only seems inserted to keep the story going. John C. Reilly is used somewhat well as comic relief but the film crams in some really bad humor that falls flat more often then not.
A small mention must be made with the CGI work done in some scenes with the humans interacting with Kong. Some were thrown out of scenes because it seemed like the actors didn't know where to look during their filming of the Kong scenes but it didn't bother me.
Overall, Skull Island does a good job of making Kong known in this cinematic universe, but the story could have used more stakes and better characters to invest. A strong outing for the ape for sure and looking forward to his away game vs. Godzilla.