Kong: Skull Island

Kong: Skull Island ★★★½

In 1973, a group of soldiers and scientists head to Skull Island to chart the new territory when they are attacked by Kong, the giant ape and protector of it.

It is really interesting that this is part of the same shared universe (or cinematic universe) as Gareth Edward's Godzilla reboot, because they are complete and utter polar opposites. Godzilla is slow, dark, and almost entirely told from the human perspective - the monster sequences are few and far between, and often obscured, as seen from the perspective of a very small person. This however is a bright, fun, loud popcorn movie. It feels a lot like a King Kong comic book film (and not just because it has Loki, Nick Fury and Captain Marvel in the cast). It is fast paced, silly, colorful (quite literally) and has some great sequences with Kong and the soldiers fighting all manner of monsters and creatures on the island. As a monster movie, it succeeds with flying colors. Gareth Edwards could learn a lot from Jordan Vogt-Roberts about how to make a monster movie, but I feel like Jordan Vogt-Roberts could also learn a lot from Gareth Edwards on how to make a character driven movie.

The human characters are the weakness here. Kong and the island are the stars, but the humans are almost like comic book clichés, two-dimensional, familiar, broad and rarely ever explored in any detail. We don't care if they get smashed or stomped on by Kong or if they make it off the island at all, and that is the biggest flaw of the film. There are other things that bother me, a lot of them clichés - for instance, how many times can you use songs like "Paranoid", "Fortunate Son" and "Ziggy Stardust" in a movie? They're great, but I feel like they've been beaten to death over the last couple of years. It's like some kind of law that you have to include "Fortunate Son" if you are making an American Vietnam-era movie. There are also a lot of character moments and character decisions that are clichéd as all hell, including the kooky survivor who has spent years on the island and welcomes the newcomers to it.

I can forgive this movie some things, because this is a hell of a lot more in tune with what I wanted out of Godzilla. It just goes a bit too far that way. Stay tuned for the post-credits sequence, it teases big things to come (no pun intended). When Godzilla and Kong finally meet on the big screen again, I hope they keep about a 70% "Kong" and 30% "Godzilla" style ratio for it (70% fun exciting monster movie, 30% character driven drama), then you just might have the perfect modern day monster movie mashup. In short: If your favourite part of the Peter Jackson King Kong remake was the triple T-Rex fight, you're going to absolutely love this one.

Robin liked this review