Kong: Skull Island

Kong: Skull Island ★★★

"You are more beautiful than a hot dog and a beer at Wrigley Field on Opening Day."

John C. Reilly actually gives us the most resonant human character in Kong: Skull Island. Without him, who gives a damn what happens to everyone else. In fact, between Godzilla and this, the human characters are the weakness of this Monsterverse journey thus far. Here, Tom Hiddleston and Brie Larson don't exactly set the screen on fire with their respective performances. Samuel L. Jackson shows some character, but he's actually the villain here, and not the kind of villain that is fun to get behind. So thank goodness for John C. Reilly and his Marlow character for saving the day; otherwise this is Kong, some giant CGI threats and bunch of cardboard cutouts.

Gareth Edwards did something in Godzilla that I appreciated more there, than I did here with Jordan Vogt-Roberts: he kept the CGI monsters at a distance, not overwhelming the frame with visual effects overload. Here in Kong: Skull Island, Vogt-Roberts fills every inch of the frame with CGI, and it's just too much to take in. As I stated in my Godzilla recap, I'm not a huge CGI guy, and its one of the reasons why I veer away from big budget blockbusters in this era. The CGI in Godzilla was better integrated into the story; here in Kong, the CGI is the story, and that's not the way I was hoping this would go. I was also not a fan of the pacing here. The film clocked in at about five minutes shorter than Godzilla but felt thirty minutes longer.

There are some beautiful scenes here, however. I could look at the shot of Kong's silhouette against the blazing setting sun all day long. The scene where Hiddleston's character plows his way through prehistoric birds with a sword and gas mask sure is cool. I did enjoy the final battle between Kong and lead Skullcrawler. So there are enough positives here to enjoy Kong: Skull Island but this journey through the Monsterverse is headed in the wrong direction; I enjoyed Godzilla slightly more than this one.

Bonus points: the whole time I was chanting "PleasedontkillMarlow. PleasedontkillMarlow". Watching him during the closing credits, eating a hot dog and drinking beer while watching the Cubs on television was a heartfelt final touch.

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