I’ve never been much of a Kong fan. I admire the special effects of the earlier movies, laugh at Toho’s iteration of the character with a beer in hand, and always thought Peter Jackson’s movie, while good, overstayed it’s welcome.
Then Kong Skull Island happened. And if you know anything about how I like my monster movies, based on my Godzilla reviews, you’ll know that just because it’s shlock doesn’t mean it’s bad in my eyes. I love a bit of blockbuster schlock; it’s comfort food after a long, stressful day. And that’s exactly what Kong Skull Island is.
I really enjoy this movie largely due to the cast. Putting Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman and John C. Riley in a film together is basically an easy way to my heart. While all play very underdeveloped and underwritten characters, perhaps with the exception of Jackson and Riley, all still make the film fun to watch through their own wit and charisma.
Then, of course, you have Kong himself who has been beefed up quite a lot since his last on-screen appearances, akin to the size he took in the Toho films. He looks scary, certainly like an ape, and still monsterous in other ways which lends a lot of intimidation-factor to his design.
The action in this film is cheesy, over the top nonsense and I love it. Whether it is Kong getting his hand sliced open by a helicopter blade, or Tom Hiddleston running through gas, slicing giant bats in half with a machette while wearing a gas mask in slow motion, all of it is just as entertaining as it is dumb. And then, at the end, Kong fights a big underground skull creature and uses the propeller of a sunken ship to slice it’s throat, before pulling its organs out through it’s mouth.
There are other monsters present too like the particuarly scary spider the soldiers have to fight, logs that are actually big stick insects, a giant octopus and weird bat creatures.
So yes this film is ludicrously dumb, but it’s also ludicrously fun. If you need to turn your brain off after a long day, this is the type of movie I suggest you watch.