There’s a scene in Kong: Skull Island in which Kong, injured, strolls languidly into a river to drink water, check his wounds, and grab a monster squid for dinner. It’s a mundane scene in comparison to the rest of the movie, but I found it humanizing – something the actual human cast failed to do on their own.
Kong: Skull Island begins under standard monster movie premises. A big, bad corporation wants to go to an uncharted island for big, bad reasons. An anti-war photographer goes along to make a statement. A former special ops tracker is hired because the movie needs eye-candy. A military man with no more battles to fight decides its time to pick a battle with Kong… because the movie needs a villain.
If it sounds at all disappointing, well that’s because it is. Where do you even start with a movie that just tries way too hard?
Like most monster-action movies, Kong suffers from characters who make stupid decisions, plot points that are loose and poorly connected, and yes, even the occasional bouts of terrible dialogue. It has a lot of problems, there’s no denying that.
But despite those issues, there’s still enough about it to make the movie an enjoyable experience.
John C. Reilly is the saving grace among the cast. His story and friendship with a fellow stranded WWII pilot is the strongest relationship in the film. And that’s saying a lot, since the other party is dead. Visually, the movie is gorgeous. The settings, the CGI and the direction of the film work seamlessly together. Brie Larson isn’t a damsel-in-distress, Tom Hiddleston has surprising moments of humor while he’s pulling leading man duties. And it’s supremely satisfying to see Kong crush Samuel L. Jackson with his giant fist.
Kong: Skull Island is not a perfect movie, by any means. And perhaps the creators knew that too. Wisely, they don’t end the film with shots of Brie and Tom madly in love with each other, or even with Kong himself. Instead, the film closes with its strongest piece: vintage reels of John C. Reilly returning home to his family. They waited for him.
It’s a satisfying finish for a character that carried a majority of the film.
“THIS ISLAND NEVER BELONGED TO US.”
- Kong: Skull Island is best experienced in IMAX or on a large screen.
- There is a stinger after the credits. It ties the film into the same universe as Godzilla and insinuates a sequel.
- Should you watch? Sure, why not. If you ignore the heavy-handed message and the shitty characters, it’s an entertaining flick.