Vinny Thornburg’s review published on Letterboxd:
Kong knows what it is and doesn't try to throw any pretensions up other than the odd one liner about current events (John Goodman walks up the steps on Capitol Hill and comments how DC will never see a crazier time, and he's talking about Vietnam but some writer thought they were being cute and meant something more modern) and who really is the enemy in war.
This is not a political allegory film. I mean not really. It's a B movie. Remember those? Samuel L. Jackson actually says "Hold on to your butts!".
He read the script and knew it. John Goodman read the script and didn't try to crazy it up. He plays his part of a man at the end of his rope, and realizes he went too far. They're both the highlights.
Also John C. Reilly letting us know the difference between ants and birds. His story is the most charming and pretty amazing. He talks about being a Cubs fan and one of the soldiers mentions that the Cubs will never win a world series (I'm sure this was written and shot before last October) and John asks him where he's from.
Me: If the kids says fucking Cleveland I'm screaming
Me: Ok good. Fuckin Naquin...
After that crisis was averted the story moved along fairly well. For a two hour film, I barely noticed. I really felt a good balance between the brief character moments (and yes Larson and Hiddleston had it the worst) and letting us see and enjoy the carnage. Some overused 'Nam music that I wasn't huge on, but it stopped coming up later on.
Viet-Kong really does make with the awesome. There's a Gatling gun mounted on a triceratops skull. And Cannibal Holocaust spiders. The lizard kills are creative and kinetic. I actually kind of loved their design.
And Kongs final kill...it's not Atomic Breath down the throat of the Cloverfield Monster...but it's close. Also the added enjoyment of Brie Larson being involved...
Kong has some problems. While I liked the location and mood setting with Larsons' photography, it ultimately doesn't matter up to much other than help a bit with her anti-war mindset (But she does interfere more than any kind of unspoken photographers oath would allow but eh) Tom Hiddleson gets one scene being a bad ass in a bar, then just kinda stands and stares and says things while barely doing any actual tracking. And their moment together under the flat out silly Northern Lights just to add weight to some bonding scene...
Reminded me of THIS
I liked it. It was fun. Godzilla was slightly better, but this still had good emotional moments and creative kills. If this Monsterverse wants to keep up the quality like this, go ahead. I expect it to get better before it gets worse.