Kong: Skull Island

Kong: Skull Island ★★½

Come on, Legendary Pictures. You hire these gifted, passionate indie directors to helm your opening MonsterVerse instalments straight after their debut hit films, fine. It could work, even though precedent suggests that you are on thin ice (Josh Trank). But why give them such big budgets? Imagine how good this could have been on $50 million. Fewer characters with nothing to do, no need to hire huge stars and then waste them on roles they're either unsuited for or could play in their sleep, a chance to let the supporting cast shine... and no option but to make each time the monster appears on screen very special.

It's rare to see this many great directorial and cinematographic choices add up to something so dumb and pointless, just about saving itself with a charmingly good-natured end credits sequence; the fact that a certain character doesn't die, despite cinematic precedent suggesting he's destined for it, is my lasting impression of this big awful guileless clumsy mess, this innocuous hipster cinebro gap-year laser light show rave expedition. That sweet little closing montage is probably both the cheapest and best 5 minutes in your entire would-be franchise. Take a lesson from your own gosh-darn movie: the more resources you expend trying to conquer the beast, the more dire problems you create.

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