Kong: Skull Island , directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts, is the second installment of the MonsterVerse after Godzilla . It has a truly all-star cast including Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson, John Goodman, and John C. Reilly along with a long list of other familiar faces.
Kong: Dull Island. This is an incredibly okay film. Kong has so much going for it in so many places, yet there’s something that makes it surprisingly unexciting and only just interesting enough to keep watching. I wasn’t bored, but I wouldn’t have been upset if I had been called away in the middle of the thing. The big issue here is that I cannot pinpoint exactly what this production is lacking that makes it float in this vague area, but I’ve got a few ideas…
A Hollywood Hand. This feels 100% like a modern Hollywood film adaptation of King Kong. It’s got the effects, the action, the weird comedic moments sprinkled throughout; it’s got all the things that make a typical Hollywood blockbuster a sub-par film. There’s no heart, there’s no deeper message, it’s entirely surface level spectacle. At the same time, it has an irking desire to be more in so many ways. There’s this feeling of wanting to pay homage or encapsulate great things that have come before it. Not just the iconic stature of the titular character in the canon of filmic history, but to kaiju monster films in general, to Apocalypse Now , to the monster movies of way back that inspired a reboot of these franchises.
Monkeying Around. The whole thing has the grease-on-the-film-stock look and feel, and there are some truly awesome shots that are as epic and badass as anything you could hope for. There are great creature concepts and a few really clever ideas. There’s so much here that comes in a small burst and is immediately whisked off to the next scene. There are no moments that get to land. Nothing seems significant. Nothing gets to develop. This is a bare bones film that gets straight to the fluff and leaves anything that’s not exciting or absolutely essential on the floor. I now know why Peter Jackson’s King Kong  was 3 hours long because that time is truly needed to deliver on the awe of the island and to develop Kong and the characters so that there’s something more there. I’ll admit it, while it doesn’t hold up in a lot of ways Jackson’s production is light years better than this.
Box Office Beast. The film jumps between being a vengeful warm film to a comedic action/adventure to a big beast brawler too quickly and too frequently. While the cast is full of heavy hitters who all deliver on their own the motivations and relationships aren’t given enough to flourish. The effects are all excellent but while I saw the film in 2D I couldn’t help but feel I should have been watching it in 3D - like everything had been created to best suit that presentation style. The battling beast moments are cool and have solid beats here and there but someone really needed to take a note from Pacific Rim  on how to make giant things punching each other super exciting. In the end, this film delivers on exactly what it shows in the trailer, which some may find excellent and others like myself underwhelming.