Kong: Skull Island

Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson
Writers: Dan Gilroy, Max Borenstein

A review by Stephanie Cooke

What is it with the King Kong and Godzilla franchises that people keep on coming back for year after year after year? It isn’t really any sort of puzzle because duh, we like watching giant monsters fight each other. It’s awesome. Sometimes the filmmakers get it right and sometimes they get it wrong, but Hollywood knows that anytime they do a blockbuster featuring any of those big ass classic monsters, the crowds will come. Oh, they will come.

Kong: Skull Island is the latest of the Legendary Monster Movies that are towards bringing the universes together for an ultimate showdown. There’s a lot of setup for that in this film, but we’ll get to that shortly.

The film stars Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson (her performance was very Gouda… ha ha ha!!!! … I’ll see myself out… SORRY NOT SORRY), Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, and about 15 other people from that show, that movie, and that other thing you saw.

The film, outside of a big gorilla shows up and shit happens, follows a group of people out to a remote island in the South Pacific that scientists believe is more than meets the eye. More specifically, said scientists get funding to go on an expedition out to the island to find out if there’s any merit to their claims of something more going on there. They’re accompanied by a tracker (Hiddleston), a photojournalist (Larson), and a military escort led by one Preston Packer (Jackson).

Kong: Skull Island isn’t like the latest Godzilla film. There’s a little bit of buildup (enough to get you slightly invested in the characters) and then you’re thrown right into things. Well, rather they’re thrown. You know, I’m the helicopters they visit the island in. Ha ha ha (oh man, I’m so sorry my jokes are awful). But really, the movie takes off really quickly and doesn’t stop until the people in the theatre kick you out because they want to go home for the night.

Let me do the same and get right into it here: the story is great for what this movie is. It doesn’t drag, it provides you with what you want (Tom Hiddleston and also the giant gorilla), it has excellent comedic relief (did I mention that John C. Reilly is in the movie and he’s freaking fantastic?!) and pretty much everything you could want from this movie. The story part is particularly important here though because it would be easy to just make this a fun movie where giant monsters fight other monsters and I would absolutely still be down for that. However, they take that and put a convincing and interesting story behind it and make it a movie that’s got a lot of rewatchablity. It’s a serious story that has a bit of social commentary within it (as most movies do) but it doesn’t take itself TOO seriously, which is the true beauty of it.

Kong: Skull Island is one hell of a ride from start to finish and it’s a fun one. I saw the film in IMAX 3D and while my stance on the whole 3D thing is still akin to old folks yelling “GET OFF MY LAWN” to the youths, I really enjoyed this instance of it. There wasn’t too much over the top 3D where there’s stuff flying at your face all the damn time. It works to give the movie depth and th stuff that does “pop out” at you is mostly pretty fun. The special effects are fantastic and Kong (along with the other “skull crawlers”) look amazing. The IMAX really does justice to the team who worked tirelessly to make all those effects the best they could possibly be and they should be proud. Adding to the beauty of the film is the natural scenery shown around the cast. A quick IMDb-ing taught me that they shot in Hawaii and Australia and holy heck is it ever beautiful. I would absolutely buy that primeval beings still roam and protect those jungles for SURE.

I don’t have much to say about the cast, really. Not because they’re mundane or bad but because they were all fabulous. Brie Larson’s role in this has me ALL KINDS OF JAZZED for her as Carol Danvers in the upcoming Captain Marvel movie. I know that’s a long ways away but I NEED IT *grabby hands*. I don’t think any of the actors felt like they were stepping out of a comfort zone though. None of the performances are career defining. They’re just fun and they did a great job with each of their roles. If I was going to be like “This person REALLY STOOD OUT” to anyone, it would be John C. Reilly but not because his acting was superb. He was basically just John C. Reilly (as he tends to be) but he kept bringing the movie back to the fun tone it desperately needed to fully be pulled off.

The Verdict
See it! Kong: Skull Island
was a LOT of fun and it left the door wide open for so much more to come, as was the intention. I honestly don’t think that there’s anything obvious in the film that would make me think it wouldn’t be good for anybody to go see. There were young kids in the screening who seemed to really enjoy it and while I definitely think as a kid I personally would’ve been scared of it, I also acknowledge that I was (and continue to be) a huge wimp.

Note: STAY AFTER THE FILM. Marvel has taught us that good things come to those who wait… until after the credits. So do that.

Stephanie Cooke
Stephanie is a Toronto based writer and editor. She's a comic book fan, avid gamer, movie watcher, lover of music, and sarcasm. She is a purveyor of too many projects and has done work for Talking Comics, JoBlo.com, Agents of Geek, Word of the Nerd, C&G Magazine, Dork Shelf, and more. Her writing credits include "Home Sweet Huck" (Mark Millar's Millarworld Annual 2017), "Lungarella (Secret Loves of Geek Girls, 2016), "Behind Enemy Linens" (BLOCKED Anthology, 2017), "Home and Country" (Toronto Comics Anthology, 2017) and more to come. You can read more about her shenanigans over on her <a href="http://www.stephaniecooke.ca">personal web site</a>.

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