Kong: Skull Island stars Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, John C. Reilly, Brie Larson, and Toby Kebbell, and is directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts.
Set in 1973, government agent Bill Randa (Goodman) has gathered satellite images of an uncharted island in the South Pacific known as Skull Island. He gathers a team composed of tracker James Conrad (Hiddleston), Colonel Preston Packard (Jackson), and photographer Mason Weaver (Larson), to go and scope out the island. They reach the island and get a warm welcome from Kong, who scatters the group across the terrain. Conrad and Weaver eventually meet Hank Marlow, a World War II pilot who crash landed on the island nearly 30 years prior. Marlow explains that Kong is regarded as king of the island, but that many other dangerous creatures lurk about on the island as well.
Kong: Skull Island is exactly what you would expect it to be; a fun monster mash for you to stuff your mouth full with popcorn. If we're judging strictly by entertainment factor, Kong is already one of the best movies of the year. I do not go into every movie I see expecting Casablanca or Citizen Kane, and I made sure to go into Kong without the highest of expectations. Why should anyone go into this film expecting something like great character development? We came to see the giant, burly ape smash some choppers and kick some bad monster butt.
- The fun/entertainment. Kong brings the eye candy and giddy excitement that you crave going into it. It's nearly 2 hours of non-stop monster brawling, and the human characters never get in the way. John C. Reilly is the primary source of comic relief, and while he flirted with being annoying through his consistent one-liners, he never reached that point where I wanted him off the screen. Samuel L. Jackson has some laugh-worthy moments as well. I would not say that the film is completely tongue-in-cheek, but it does have a nice dosage of humor to keep the film from seeming too dark or solemn.
- The fast-paced story. This was one of the fastest 2 hour movies that I can recall watching in a long time. The movie quickly skips and jumps from scene to scene, and it was over before I knew it. Time flies when you're having fun.
- Kong: Skull Island's greatest strength is also its greatest flaw, which is that it never makes the effort to be something more than what it is. None of the characters stick out in any meaningful way, and the plot has all the ingredients of a fairly basic adventure story. This addition doesn't really reinvent the character of King Kong in a new way, and Skull Island has largely the same details that it had in the 1933 original and in Peter Jackson's 2005 remake. Kong fights a plethora of other monsters, and the indigenous people worship Kong like a God. The only differences are the presence of John C. Reilly's character, and that Kong fights monsters that aren't necessarily dinosaurs (The Skullcrawlers look like the skeletons of giant lizards).
Kong: Skull Island won't win any awards for character strength or original screenplay, but it's nearly 2 hours of pure entertaining fun. There is nothing that I can say to claim that Kong: Skull Island is a meaningful cinematic landmark, but I can say that I enjoyed nearly every second of it.
Recommend? Yes. It's tons of fun.
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