KONG Skull Island
Unlike 2014's Godzilla, Kong: Skull Island doesn't wait long to show you it's namesake character and star of the show. The big ape is on-screen in record pace time to match his record height in this new incarnation to fit into the monster universe that was started with Godzilla just 3 years ago.
Bill Randa (John Goodman) from MONARCH wants permission to tag along on a mapping journey to an uncharted island -- Skull Island, of course. The island has recently been discovered thanks to newly placed satellite's orbiting the earth. With the Vietnam War ending, Randa and his partner Houston Brooks (Corey Hawkins) manage to secure funding for their trip by arguing the Russian's could get a hold of the secrets of the island before American's if they don't act quickly.
The crew for the expedition is rounded out rather quickly and with most given rather simply and flimsy reasons for why they are coming on the journey. There's an LT Colonel played by Samuel L. Jackson who simply doesn't like the way the Vietnam War is coming to a close. Brie Larson as a photographer looking for the next big thing the government is trying to hide. Then, of course, is Tom Hiddleston, the 'tracker' and ex-special forces who is found fighting in a bar without much to care for in his life anymore. The character's in Skull Island are mostly proven to be cliched and wasted opportunities, especially with the talented actors playing the roles. The most believable characters in the film come from Jason Mitchell as Mills and Shea Whigham as Cole, an Officer, and a Captain and the only two people with believable chemistry.
John C. Reilly does play an oddly cast role as a WW1 Veteran that went down on the island and has been living there ever since. His comedy and presence do work strangely and the jokes actually hit, even when the film is trying to be super serious about a giant ape throwing trees like javelins and murdering soldiers.
But if you're watching Kong: Skull Island, you're more than likely here for the star of the show, Kong himself and he doesn't disappoint. He looks amazing and his huge stature here makes him the most threatening of any King Kong interpretation I've seen, but this movie is never scary, nor really tries to build any tension. Kong is a monster, on a monster island and if you enjoy seeing giant creatures that have been created wonderfully, there's plenty for you here. Kong never really has any great defining moments of his character though and the way the humans interact with him and the way that plays out is predictable from the start.
Kong: Skull Island is a very stylized movie and its influences from Apocalypse Now aren't unnoticed. But it's ILM producing the majority of what makes this enjoyable with Kong and the other creatures. It's not the Director, Jordan Vogt-Roberts, or the sluggish screenplay with boring characters, Kong may be fun to watch but he lacks any emotional depth the same as anyone else in this movie.