Kong Kicks Ass in 'Skull Island'

Kong is back and larger than ever. Kong: Skull Island, the second film in Warner Brothers’ monster universe films that kicked off with 2014’s Godzilla, follows a team of explorers going on what they think is a standard expedition of an uncharted island. Little did they know that they were about to set foot on an island filled with crazy creatures and monsters, Kong being the king of them all. What follows is an increasingly fun blockbuster the likes of which I personally haven’t seen outside of the Marvel films; this is a movie that knows how to have fun and keep you engaged while not trying to force some BS story down your throat. And let’s get one thing straight right off the bat; most people are not going to this movie for the well written characters or complex story. They’re here to see Kong kick some serious monster ass, and he does just that (with a few helicopter smashes and tons of slow-motion for good measure.) This film doesn’t try to be anything more than what it is, a fun, fast popcorn movie that provides another solid entry into Warner Brother’s monster universe.

However, the film is not without its flaws. A lot of the humor unfortunately falls flat, especially the very forced jokes between Jason Mitchell and Shae Wigham’s characters. John C. Reilly was a very welcome comic relief with most, if not all, of his jokes landing and feeling authentic. Another problem the film has, ***POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD*** is that that there is no point in the end battle that signifies Kong’s victory. In the ending of Godzilla we see Godzilla grab the other monster by the jaw and breathe fire down his damn throat which decapitates the monster. It’s one of the coolest and most effective ways that I’ve seen a movie assert that our monster protagonist is a freaking badass who is not to be trifled with. Plus, you knew that thing was dead, it wasn’t coming back. Kong’s final battle just kind of ends, which was somewhat unsatisfying despite the rest of the great action in the film. ***END SPOILERS***

As I said earlier, the characters are nothing special but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t entertaining to watch. Tom Hiddleston and Brie Larson were both great and the film luckily didn’t force them into some cheesy romance subplot. Samuel L. Jackson is great as usual as the general hell bent on destroying Kong. John Goodman was also good, though he seemed a bit ill fit for his character towards the beginning of the film. The film’s tone also worked, being dark and scary when it needed to be and some of the jokes lightening the tension a bit. They work really hard trying to make you feel the 70’s Apocalypse Now feel of the film by shoe horning in popular 70’s rock songs (everybody wants to be Guardians of the Galaxy) though it didn’t bother me too much. The film also has some very scary moments too with some of the creatures being quite terrifying. I’d recommend not bringing anyone under the age of 8 to this for that reason.

Overall I enjoyed the film despite its flaws. The action stayed fresh and surprising for the most part, and the visual effects were phenomenal. The characters were meh but they remained engaging to watch thanks to the performances. I can’t wait to see this Kong take on Godzilla in 2020.