Kong: Skull Island

Kong: Skull Island ★★★

Kong throws an anchor at a skull-crawler in slow motion. Need I say more.

Warner Brothers’ King King reboot is a fun island adventure that’s not to be taken seriously and not to be seen as any more than a fulfilling creature-feature blockbuster. Kong: Skull Island has a little bit of subtext regarding war. That’s pretty much it—everything else is pure monster carnage one beast after another. It feels like a roundabout showcase of all the different dinosaur-like beasts Skull Island has in store. 

Just as in all the MonsterVerse, the good lies in the visuals and the bad is laced everywhere in the screenplay. The safari aesthetic’s execution is great eye-candy for the two-hour runtime, and the action is shot as fluid as it could be. There are a few lines that stick out as awkward, and otherwise it is expectedly mindless if not moreso overall. So far this is probably the most consistently solid MonsterVerse film though, as there are no huge ups and downs in quality. Straight through it is plain dumb but undoubtedly entertaining in its dazzling graphics: at one point Tom Hiddleston is fighting pterodactyls through a cloud of poisonous gas with a Japanese sword, and it is a sight to behold. Definitely one of the most fun things I’ve seen in a while. 

Admittedly enough, the characters would not have been as watchable if it weren’t for the cast. Samuel L. Jackson plays Colonel “I see an enemy when I see one” Plackard in a dumb role featuring a military general trying to one-on-one a giant monkey during a safari mission justified by the possible finding of the cure for cancer. If it weren’t for SLJ’s full commitment alongside John Goodman this could’ve been a cringefest. John C. Reilly injects a great dose of personality into the film even though he falls into the generic “crazy old guy” role. The surrounding actors playing the soldiers do a solid job of keeping things light as well. 

There’s not much else to say, as the writing doesn’t offer much at all. Kong: Skull Island doesn’t have the maturity or the depth for me to think that it is an objectively better film than Godzilla (2014), but it is absolutely way more entertaining and possibly my favorite of the MonsterVerse franchise. I love this film for what it is, save a few cringeworthy lines here and there. This scene right here is just so good. 

Cole has the greatest death scene in cinematic history. 6/10.