Kong: Skull Island (2017) Review

by on March 18, 2017

in Entertainment, movie reviews

Kong Skull Island movie reviewApocalypse Kong!

Kong: Skull Island is directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts off a script by Dan Gilroy (Real Steel, The Bourne Legacy), Max Borenstein (Godzilla, Minority Report) and Derek Connolly (Jurassic World, Monster Trucks).

Vogt-Roberts brings a lot of television directing experience to the plate, along with Kings of Summer that he helmed.

The cast includes Tom Hiddleston, the new Jennifer Lawrence, I mean Brie Larson, Samuel L (What movie am I not in) Jackson, John Goodman, Toby Kebbell, John C. Reilly, Corey Hawkins, Shea Whigh and more.

King Kong movies on Amazon.

Kong Skull Island movie reviewThe film starts out fast.. it’s 1944 and we watch two combatant fighter pilots crash on an island in the South Pacific, but before they could try and kill each other, they spot King Kong. Talk about a fast entrance by the titular monster!

After that we jump to 1973, where Bill Randa (Goodman) it trying to get funding for an expedition to Skull Island, declaring that this is the best time to try and nab funds, considering how effed up the government is right now. (Did we just catch a present-day social commentary? It might have been the best part of the film!)

Randa gets his funding and a team to escort his people to this isolated Skull Island and off they go.

We meet the military escort to get a feel for the characters, especially Preston Packard (Jackson), who seems to now want to return home to a life where there is no combat or next mission.

Once we get the team sorted out, it’s time to journey to Skull Island and watch the mess of meeting King Kong ensue.

The reason for the trip to the island that Randa used, is a ruse as the helicopters start dropping geologically purposed bombs around the island, but this pisses off the big fury guy who takes the first helicopter down with a flying palm tree. (And yes, gorillas have freaky excellent aim. I’ve seen it in zoos!)

After that, it’s Jurassic Park time in the new Monsterverse that Legendary is setting up for us.

Kong Skull Island movie review, Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, John Goodman

First off, I like the ensemble, including Larson, who just happens to end up running around in a tank-top most of the time. I think she will probably make a great Captain Marvel in the upcoming Marvel films she’s been cast in.

Hiddleston, Goodman, Reilly and Jackson really carry the film on their backs while the rest fulfill their supporting situations. If you’re a fan of these guys, it helps the film immensely.

Toby Kebbell does double duty as a likable soldier character and the motion capture work as Kong himself.

If it weren’t for the strength of the cast, I am not sure how much I would have liked the film because once act one is done with all it’s introductions and set ups, we pretty much devolve into a series of tropes borrowed from other franchises.

The humor is not as funny as I think the filmmakers would like, but it isn’t horribly distracting.

I loved the line where one says, “Did you not see we just got our asses kicked by a giant monkey!” (Or something like that.) and Cole (Whigham) replies, “It was definitely an unconventional encounter.” A line that no one other than Whigham could have pulled off with his matter-of-fact tone. And possibly the best line of the film.

As far as the entire squadron of helicopters getting taken down by a giant monkey, I’d like to suggest that Kong isn’t necessarily that skilled in taking down helicopters versus swatting at things that all fly right within his grasp. Just a thought.

I’ve never seen so many helicopter crashes with so many survivors!

But the film followed a typical kind of developing scenario to the point that instead of being sucked into developing scenes, you have abstract time to think for yourself. For example, when a helicopter gets its tail rotor torn off and starts spinning out of control into the forest, one character yells, “Hang on!!!” Instead of being pulled into the moment, I was thinking more along the lines, “Ya think? No shit Sherlock!

John C. Reilly arrives in the story and it would have been a wonderful addition to the story, and pep-me-up to the plot except… Legendary pretty much put all of his good and fun lines out in the trailers. Thanks for that Legendary, acting like Disney!

We even had moments that I felt were direct mimics of various scenes from various older, famous franchises, or as the director put it, “paying tribute!”

And yes, this Kong has a compassionate side to the point of rescuing fellow Jurassic creatures and protecting the island tribe from the nasty creatures.

I did enjoy the film enough to not think I blew my money needlessly, but considering the writing talent behind the script, I expected a bit more than standard story telling. Come on guys, this is not a DC/WB film!

But alas, it was what it was.

Rotten Tomatoes score sits at 79% based on 253 reviews, with an average rating of 6.6/10; while IMDb users gave the film a 7.1 out of 10 from 30,000+ scores.

I’d dare say at minimum, I’d give it a popcorn 6 (out of 10), and maybe a popcorn 7, depending on what I focused on. But six for sure.

I think I can almost give it a seven, when you consider that this is the second film within the new Legendary MonsterVerse that is going to include….

(WAIT, what I’m about to say will take you off into spoiler land, if you actually wait through ALL the credits for the end-credits scene)

Include Mothra, King Ghidorah, and the off-screen roar of Godzilla. Yep, they are tossing it all out there in this after-credits scene. But to be honest, it’s almost not worth sitting through all the credits. Sooner or later, it will be landing online. Or “leaked” online.

And while I’m on the road to spoilers here, yes, Godzilla and King Kong face off in a film down the road.

Kong: Skull Island is fun, but if you have to pick, GO SEE LOGAN!!! Holy shit, now THAT is a good movie.

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