Kong: Skull Island is the eighth time King Kong has appeared on the big-screen across both the U.S and Japan but tells a much different story than what we are used to. In the past US versions of the story, Kong meets his demise in New York from the top of the Empire State Building (Spoiler Alert), but not this time. He actually survives! Skull Island revolves around Monarch, the organizations tasked with learning about and discovering monsters on Earth. They decide to venture to an uncharted island in the South Pacific with a military escort during the time of the Vietnam War. That is when they run into Kong and all the various creatures and monstrosities that live on the island. Their goal is to try and survive and return home with proof that monsters exist.
Going into Kong: Skull Island, I wanted an epic, fun, and exciting movie where I can eat a whole bucket of popcorn and not worry about anything else, and I definitely got that. There were a lot of things this movie had to do: get Kong right, help us understand the connection for future films, and tell a fun and decent story at least, and it did all of those things.
This huge and expensive blockbuster is directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts, a name most people will not be familiar with. He made a small indie film called The Kings of Summer which gained him huge praise and led to him directing this movie. With Kong: Skull Island, he was able to take a huge ensemble cast and put them up against Kong and do a very solid job directing. However, it was not seamless and there were some issues mainly when talking about the human characters which were presented.
Speaking of the characters, the cast of Kong: Skull Island was massive and included a lot of big stars. The main leads of this movie are Tom Hiddleston (James Conrad), Samuel L. Jackson (Preston Packard), Brie Larson (Mason Weaver), John C. Reilly (Hank Marlow), and John Goodman (Bill Randa). Corey Hawkins (Houston Brooks), Tobey Kebbell (Jack Champman/Kong), Jason Mitchell (Mills), Tian Jing (San), Thomas Mann (Silvko), Shea Whigham (Cole), and Eugene Cordero (Reles). Some of the characters in this movie were fleshed out and had very clear motivations. This was John C. Reilly and Samuel L. Jackson who were the backbone of the movie to me in terms of the human characters. Hiddleston was meant to be one of the main leads and his character was one the audience could root for but lacked a clear motivation. Brie Larson also was used in an ineffective way, and with an actress of her talent, that was a shame to see. John Goodman’s character seemed promising at the start, however once on the island, he became sort of useless and expendable. The group of soldiers which included Kebbell, Mithcell, Mann, Whigham, and Cordero were very simple characters and served more as the comedic relief, but again were very much in the background behind Samuel Jackson’s character. All this being said, the human characters were very underwhelming to me with the exception of Rielly and Jackson, who ended up being my favorite characters. Although the movie’s characters were not the greatest, it did not take away from the epicness of Kong himself who was the main attraction. I wanted to see Kong more than anything and I wanted to see him kick some ass, and that is exactly what happened. Thankfully, I did not go into Kong wanting to see the human characters, I wanted to see Kong.
Although the movie’s characters were not the greatest, it did not take away from the epicness of Kong himself who was the main attraction. I wanted to see Kong more than anything. I wanted to see him kick some ass, and that is exactly what I got. This movie had some fantastic actions set pieces with Kong and the various creatures living on Skull Island. The visual effects used were incredible and Kong from every angle, close-up, wide shot, or and even in action looked spectacular. The other big take away is what we learned about Kong and the existence of monsters on Earth in this universe. This is a much different approach to Kong than previous, and it was really well executed.
The three objectives Kong: Skull Island had, it was able to accomplish, although it did have a few bumps along the way. It was able to execute Kong extremely well, while at the same time telling a fun and fast paced story. Although some of the characters weren’t able to keep up, a few were big takeaways and did not take away from the King himself. This movie also sets up a clear connection with the universe it is in, and you must sit through the credits to get a sneak peek of what’s to come in the future. Now comes to the grueling wait until 2020.