Kong: Skull Island Review
Directed by: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Cast: Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L Jackson, John C Reilly, John Goodman
Part 2 of the Monsterverse is finally upon us, and this time we’re treated to the damn dirty ape!
Kong: Skull Island serves as the movie that really wants to world build the Universal Studios Monsterverse, which began in 2014 with Godzilla. The problem is, there really isn’t much world building to be had here. We’re bombarded with the same information over and over again, and I get the feeling that this only serves as prep for the inevitable Kong vs Godzilla.
It’s very clear that this is Jordan Vogt Roberts first big-budget flick. He squanders the star cast he was given, and the movie as a whole doesn’t have much direction. It doesn’t know if it wants to be serious, funny, or scary, and it jumps from one genre to another without any sense or reason. What he does manage to give us are a few very spectacular fight sequences, but it’s clear that this is not a 76 Kong or even 2003 Kong. This is a completely different animal.
The cast is really an ensemble, and I could do a write up for every single character here. However, I am going to only pick out few of them and touch on others as the movie did.
John Goodman plays a scientist that wants to find the secret of a Kong Island, and he sells the part rather effectively given the material, so it’s a shame he fades into a background rather quickly when to Hiddleston and Larson’s characters show up. And this is kind of a pattern with this movie: The players that were seemingly crucial are pushed back without reason or explanation.
Samuel L Jackson plays Samuel L Jackson (actually playing Colonel Packard). He’s a man tasked with protecting the expedition from any dangers on the island and is not given much to work with. His character is completely one dimensional.
Tom Hiddleston and Brie Larson are the stars* of this movie, but again, were not given much material to work with. Other than very basic back story, there’s almost no character development to either, and having these high-caliber actors wasted like this is a travesty.
Which brings me to John C Reilly who almost turns the tone of the movie 180 degrees. What was a very real sense of danger is almost instantly lost as everyone around him, other than Samuel L Jackson, turns comedic almost on the dot.
But nobody came to see this movie for the acting or directing or writing; they came to see Kong. And on that aspect, it delivers. Kong’s effects–and everything about Skull Island–are brimming with character. They are the definite bright spot in this movie. You’ll find yourself looking at the screen and marveling at the technical wonder on display here as the characters, and by proxy yourself, explore Skull Island. When Kong promotions were released the first time, I believed he was too big, but after seeing the other creatures and dangers on the Island that part made sense.
Overall, the movie is a beautiful mess. It’s really pretty to look at if you turn your brain off for a bit, but for a movie that is supposed to world build, I wish it concentrated more on characters and how they fit within the Monsterverse. Instead, most are just fodder for the Island beasties. I can’t recommend Kong: Skull Island as it just seems like a missed opportunity, even though it’s fun to watch. There are some really beautiful shots and action sequences, but other than that, it’s a complete and utter mess.
Though if you do manage to sit through it, stay through the credits!
*Kong is a real star
Kong: Skull island
- Skull Island
- Human Characters
- Missed opprotunity to world build
- No connection to said characters.
- …making them fodder.
- Mostly failed humor