Kong: Skull Island

Kong: Skull Island ★★★½

Not one to offer hot takes, but I was surprised there was no outcry when Brie Larson - an Oscar winner with one of the most ardent fan bases - was cast as a celebrated Vietnam War photographer in this movie, yet when they get to the secret island that has gigantic prehistoric monsters, she takes no photos of the monsters. How about just even a scene where a CIA guy says to BL, "We get it, you're a celebrated Vietnam War photographer, but no pics of the big gorilla, we need him for science." And then she's like, "Bummer, but okay."  

It's not just Brie Larson. SKULL ISLAND has more characters than it knows what to do with. Toby Kebbel, Tom Hiddleston, and John Goodman are just a few of the folks whose casting is much bigger than their function in the film. Yet the attention to period detail and overall "cinema"-ness is palpable here. Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts is grabbing for a brass ring of IP FX spectacle married to a rich ensemble cast. He gets about halfway there. John C. Reilly ends up stealing the movie (and may be why the rest of the cast's journeys feel incomplete; there's a sense that the filmmakers did not realize Reilly's significance until the editing phase; a start-over where he was the main character could have yielded more impressive results.) 

But I'd absolutely recommend KONG: SKULL ISLAND. It tried to do too much and failed. The Transformers movies hit every mark they aim for. Which would you rather have?