KONG: SKULL ISLAND fills your kaiju void like no other
If you’re looking for your 2017 kaiju fix, look no further than Kong: Skull Island.
The year is 1973 and a little band of cryptozoologists (John Goodman and Corey Hawkins) calling themselves MONARCH hitch themselves to a LANDSAT geological crew with a military escort fresh off the Vietnam War to a self-contained ecosystem located in the Indian Ocean. Following the theory of Hollow Earth, suggesting there are subterranean pockets of other worlds beneath our own, they’re searching for proof of something incredible, ideally before the Russians find it. With a war photographer (Brie Larson), a mercenary tracker (Tom Hiddleston), and the world’s most irresponsible military commander (Samuel L Jackson), they find more than they bargained for. With the land literally out to get them, they need to reach a drop point to make it off the island. Divided and dangerously close to being left behind, they manage to instead find MIA WWII pilot Lt. Hank Marlow (John C. Reilly) and his tragi-comic mania creates in the humanity that would otherwise be missing in this picture.
But you don’t care about that.
You’re here to see if Kong is worth the hype.
Kong is not some mindless monster bent on destruction. He’s a Great Ape and he’s on a mission of his own, as territorial as any 100-ft tall king can be. He rules his own island and woe to the misguided interlopers who dare to pick a fight.
There is a lot of action in this movie – it’s heart-stopping and cringe-inducing and you will have moments where you don’t know who to root for. It has its share character issues (lest you think it’s perfect), especially with the anti-war embedded photojournalist, Mason Weaver, and San (Ting Jing), whose sole purpose is to serve as the only Asian character with a speaking role that barely qualifies her for SAG credit.
No of course you’re not there to watch women get all talky during your monster movie, but the minimal effort is distracting.
Kong: Skull Island has lots of “wooooooow” moments and I encourage you to allow yourself to get caught up in the mythology, the fun and the excitement. If it feels like a grown-up Jurassic World (2015), you can thank screenwriter Derek Connolly hired for the rewrites and cleanup on the already world-building groundwork laid by Max Borenstein (Godzilla (2014)) connected to the seamless action penned by Dan Gilroy (The Bourne Legacy (2012)).
You’re not going to come away from Kong: Skull Island feeling like you’d just spent 2 hours waiting for something exciting happen – you get it in the solid cold open. Take your breaths where you can get because even the calm moments are just the steep climbs before the drops.
Oh, and stay through the credits. It’ll answer your questions about what’s coming next.
Kong: Skull Island is rated PG-13 for some ri-donk-ulous violence, some language (most of it from Sam Jackson), and Kong and a Skullcrawler beating the crap out of each other.
Yeah, and there’s a 20-ft tall spider, so …