Kong: Skull Island

Kong: Skull Island ★★★½

John C Reilly saves the day, yet again. Kong: Skull Island dispenses with the emotional heart of Kong's mythos, attempting to replace that essential piece with a new, muddled "war is hell" mantra. Seeing as how that angle failed almost entirely in my mind, Skull Island's appeal is found in it's monsters, monsters and more monsters. There's lots of beautiful, intimidating monstrous CGI creations here, sprinkled into the film evenly to keep the excitement constant. The final fight is magnificently choreographed and satisfies impossibly well given all that's it's built to be. Aside from those CGI creations, the movie is pretty weak. They try to build up way too many characters, all of them underwritten, subsequently succeeding or failing on there inherent actor-ly charms instead. That being said? Brie Larson, Tom Hiddleston, and John C. Reilly stand out. Larson as the principled photographer is a stunning leading lady; beautiful but also intelligent and, at moments, completely badass. She fills her "role" in the Vietnam stuff with much less dialogue than Sam Jackson. Hiddleston is the muscle, not much more and not much less. He digs into this archetype and succeeds. And Reilly! Pretty damn hilarious with subpar writing. When Kong isn't on screen, he's the next best thing; a gold-mine without a flat joke. For once, comedic relief pays off handsomely.

So yeah, Kong: Skull Island doesn't hold a torch to Jackson's effort nor the '33 original. But it's blockbuster entertainment done right, capitalizing on the rollercoaster-esque nature of the infamous Skull Island by featuring monster after monster while keeping the mystical nature of the island's existence intact. The extra stuff? The government conspiracy, historical probing of the island and the exploration of a man's mind after war? I didn't need it. Take this as a thumping, angry and gorgeous adventure monster movie, and you'll leave happy. But if you're looking for the elusive depth previous installments in this franchise have displayed; look elsewhere.

2017 Ranked
King Kong marathon (starting soon)

Jared liked this review