Kong: Skull Island, directed Jordan Vogt-Roberts, is about a group of researchers and soldiers that venture to the mythical Skull Island, one of the last uncharted areas in the world, where they run into Kong, the king of Skull Island, and many different monsters and creatures that live on the island.
I have been looking forward to this film for a while because of what Warner Bros. announced that it was doing with the monster properties that they own, that being creating a shared universe with them, starting with the 2014 Godzilla, which I will go on record and say that I love. The idea of these iconic monsters being in the same universe excited me and then when the trailers for this came out, I became even more excited even if they did look like this was going to be a dumb, fun monster movie. The thing is, that’s exactly what this film is, a dumb, fun monster movie that I thoroughly enjoyed.
The thing that would either make or break this film would be its depiction of Kong and Skull Island. If that failed, then the entire film would fail, but thankfully both of their depictions are awesome. Skull Island is depicted as this prehistoric place filled with monsters and creatures that have their own self-functioning ecosystem that was perfectly fine until the human characters that are present show up on the island and mess everything up. That’s right, most of the monsters on the island aren’t the ones that are considered villains, most of the human characters are. The creatures are just trying to survive in their own world and the humans are the ones who shouldn’t be there and everything that happens is brought on by their own stupidity and arrogance. It was a nice change of pace for something like this, where the most sympathetic character is the giant primate and not a human character.
Speaking of the giant primate, Kong’s depiction in this is amazing. He’s huge. He walks upright like a human. He’s a protector of his home and not an outright monster just killing on instinct. He’s extremely intelligent and he’s not portrayed as a dumb ape. He’s used sparingly, but the time that he’s on screen is that much more impactful when he’s there and every time he’s fighting on screen, is when the film is at its best.
While the characterizations of Kong and Skull Island are fantastic, the same can’t be said for the human characters though. All of the humans involved, especially the soldiers and unnamed scientists, are fodder for Kong and the other monsters to kill and you don’t really care about any of them except for John C. Reilly’s character, who has been stuck on the island for twenty-eight years. The performances from actors, such as Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, but they don’t have much for them to do character-wise and much of the time, I was actively rooting for Kong and the other creatures to kill them.
Overall, even with a lack of compelling human characters Kong: Skull Island has fantastic fight scenes with some amazing creatures and monsters that is pure dumb, fun while also adding to a larger cinematic Monsterverse that Warner Bros. is trying to create.