Kong: Skull Island

Kong: Skull Island ★★★

King Kong is the original "spectacle movie," the original blockbuster, and while this reiteration relies heavily on goofy exposition from a wonky John C Reilly, it delivers well enough on providing large-scale entertainment. From its all-star cast to its ginormous enlarging of already huge beasts, this is mostly the kind of explosive experience I was hoping for. The film looks sharp and is excitingly colorful, and much of its beastly imagery is quite impressive. The lighting is outrageously artificial but it genuinely looks really good. It's almost cartoonish evocation of Vietnam war films was also very enjoyable.

Its issues, however, are impossible to overlook. It is clearly a product of the marvel-era blockbuster, where quipping is the new form of dialogue and incessant callbacks to its own legacy passes as clever storytelling. It features a cast of caricatures passing as characters, making it incredibly hard to actually care about any of them, no matter how big a celebrity is playing them. It succeeds in its enormous monster fighting spectacle but fails at melding it with the human story it tells alongside it. I had a really good time watching it but it could have been a much better movie.

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