If you had told me, prior to seeing this film, that a 2017 reboot of “King Kong” would be great, I would’ve doubted it. If you told me it was made to be a part of a series of Kaiju movies, including Godzilla and Mothra, I would’ve been more understanding. If you had told me that it would star Samuel L Jackson, John Goodman, Brie Larson, Tom Hiddleston, and John C. Reilly, I’d start to be on board. But even knowing all this, I would’ve severely underestimated how great this film was going to be. More in line with “Pacific Rim” than it’s predecessor “Godzilla” or Peter Jackson’s “King Kong”, “Kong: Skull Island” is a popcorn movie dream, full of wild monsters and intense, shocking action. This review could very well be just me reciting scene after scene of creature battles, but I’ll try to keep it more coherent than that.
Brie Larson plays a war photographer, going on a mission led by John Goodman’s team of scientists trying to study an island off the coast of Vietnam. It’s a period piece if you didn’t know, set after the american failure of the Vietnam war, leading Samuel L Jackson’s character, head of the military branch of the action, to be bitter and stubborn about the success of this mission. Tom Hiddleston is a British mercenary following along, and he and Larson quickly find some vague romance. All this is irrelevant, however, once we get to the island. Kong knocks down the helicopters immediately, killing many and stranding the main cast. The fun begins here, but increases once the audience is clued in on the fact that Kong is not alone on the island. There are giant mammals, dinosaurs, bugs, and more that all want the humans dead.
If this sounds like a standard creature feature, you aren’t wrong. But “Kong: Skull Island” is much more than standard. It tops of the list of films like it, exciting and outrageous in all the right ways. The “Fast and Furious” franchise is akin to this film. It’s ridiculous but fun because of it. I dare any viewer to not enjoy this film, or at least the many sequences of action, including John C Reilly with a samurai sword. The film may not have much beneath the surface, but like the Skullcrawlers who play the central villains, every once in awhile a monster will emerge from that surface and explode in a violent, exciting fashion, drawing one back into the film yet again.
Kong: Skull Island: 4/5 Cigars