Review: Kong: Skull Island
SPOILER WARNING: CONTAINS A SPOILER FOR GODZILLA (2014). AS WITH ANY OF THESE REVIEWS I TRY TO AVOID SPOILERS BUT THIS IS YOUR WARNING IF YOU WANT TO GO IN TOTALLY COLD AS SOME PLOT AND CHARACTERS WILL BE DISCUSSED.
In a surprising twist March has become a big month for blockbusters this year; Logan, Beauty and the Beast and Power Rangers are all coming out just as spring begins reluctantly…springing. Sandwiched between these heavy hitters is this sort of reboot Kong: Skull Island.
So therefore the pressure is on for Jordan Vogt-Roberts to produce something special in order to compete with one of the highest critically rated X-Men franchise films, a live action version of a Disney classic and a franchise that has survived decades of backflipping and monster growing. And the result is…an above average blockbuster.
The big problem with Skull Island is tonally it’s all over the place. It’s part action adventure, part Vietnam pastiche, various visual references to the original and as with many films a setup for something else. Sadly there were a couple of moments that resulted in unintentional hilarity from the audience and a couple of times where the director seemed to be aping (pun intended) Zack Synder’s visual flourishes.
That being said it does improve on the Peter Jackson in a number of ways. The pace is much better and there are plenty of fantastic action sequences. But arguably the biggest plus of the film is what you wouldn’t expect; the cast gives it more than this deserves.
So we get Samuel L Jackson as an army badass, Tom Hiddleston as a world weary former soldier, John Goodman as a quirky company official and Brie Larson warming up for Captain Marvel as a war photographer alongside some stock characters that seem to be straight out of the “How to cast a monster movie” copybook.
Fortunately there is one cast member that elevates this beyond “B movie that somehow got a budget.” I have always enjoyed watching John C Reilly and he boosts this schlock with a performance that is by turns quirky, hilarious and oddly dignified. This is where this is where Skull Island is superior to the recent Godzilla. In my opinion they should have had Bryan Cranston as the main character because he was a genuinely engaging and interesting character and instead they focused on Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s bland army man.
Overall then this is something that I enjoyed watching and it kept me engaged throughout. Sadly it has been badly scheduled as this is not strong enough to fight off the competition. Oh and needless to say stick around for an end credit scene!