Possible spoilers ahead!
In the days after the Vietnam War ends, satellite photos reveal the existence of an uncharted island long hidden and unknown to the outside world. After a few favors are called in, the government organization known as Monarch launches a scouting expedition to the place now called, Skull Island.
With small window of opportunity to explore the island, Monarch members William Randa (John Goodman) and Houston Brooks (Jason Mitchell) assemble an expedition team that includes former SAS Captain/expert tracker James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston), photojournalist Mason Weaver (Brie Larson) and the Sky Devils helicopter squadron, led by one Lt. Col. Preston Packard (Samuel L. Jackson).
However, as soon as the expedition team arrives on the island, they come face to face with Kong: a massive 100 foot tall ape-like creature that doesn’t like it when outsiders start dropping explosives on his island.
You ever notice that since the original 1993 film, most King Kong movies are just remakes of the classic? Well, I’m happy to say that is not the case this time around. Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts’ “Kong: Skull Island” is a complete reinvention of the King Kong mythology, and I loved it.
Okay, so yes, Skull island is designed to pave the way for the larger movie franchise that includes Godzila. In other words there is a lot of set up in this movie. But, unlike say “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” Skull Island manages to be an entertaining, funny, blockbuster. “Kong: Skull Island” gives us a solid origin story, and world-building for the new monster cinematic universe, one that future filmmakers can build upon, but not be bogged down by. I think that makes sense, at least it made sense in my head.
Anyways, as fun as Skull Island is, I have to admit that parts of the script could have used a polish. More specifically, the human characters. “Kong: Skull Island” has a stellar cast, but the characters don’t get much backstory and as a result, we’re don’t have an attachment to some of them. The standout in the Skull Island cast was John C. Reilly as Hank Marlow, a former WWII fighter pilot who has been stuck on the island since 1944.
From what I saw in the trailers, I thought John C. Reilly would get annoying after a while, but I was wrong. His character is really the heart of the movie, and he’s good-natured and funny which was nice. Meanwhile, Samuel L. Jackson did his usual thing, which he does very well. He even got to deliver one of his most famous lines from another “monster” movie.
Meanwhile, Tom Hiddleston and Oscar-winner Brie Larson do good work in their respective roles, but their characters’ arcs are also pretty straightforward. But I will say that I liked how the friendship between the two characters grew over the course of the movie.
“Kong: Skull Island” throws a lot at you, so much that U was surprised the movie was just under two hours long. And sure, the script could have been sharper in places, and maybe they overdid the classic rock music. But at the end of the day, I thought Skull Island was a fun ride with great action, and plenty of world building. This is one gorgeous looking film, and its one that needs to be enjoyed on the big screen.
“Kong: Skull Island” final score: A