Kong: Skull Island is the second and latest film in Legendary’s Monsterverse. Coming off the success of 2014’s Godzilla. Kong takes place at the tail end of the Vietnam war and follows a group of soldiers, scientists a tracker and a war photographer as they attempt to explore the unexplored Skull Island. Things get out of hand quickly.
In terms of plot the film is incredibly simple, though this allows the characters to carry the movie and works in its favour. A team of misfits go to a mysterious island to prove the existence of monsters and get more than they bargained for. Kong doesn’t take kindly to the seismic blasts they’re letting off and attacks, throughout the film we see numerous monster fights and learn a little more about the world and how monsters fit into it.
Tonally this film is very different to it’s predecessor, it’s a lot more lighthearted generally while still taking itself seriously and sobering up when the situation requires it. At times you wonder if the characters are taking their situation seriously while they quip but then you realise it could just be them trying to cope. Either way it still works
The cast is pretty damn solid too, Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L Jackson and John Goodman are all engaging to watch. Brie Larson is a fine actress and gives a solid performance but her character has little depth to it and suffers as a result. the supporting cast of soldiers and scientists offer a few colourful characters to get to know, they all feel like real people as opposed to Aaron Taylor-Jonson’s Ford Brody who had the charisma of a steak.
Kong himself has never looked better, he looks just like he did in 1933 only bigger and in colour. He’s not a gorilla this time but his own species of great ape. He has a few nice moments throughout the film that establish him as being a very intelligent beast capable of both strategic fighting and appreciating a nice view. He is confirmed to still be growing so you can rest assured that by the time Godzilla vs Kong comes around he’ll be able to hold his own. I do wish they’d call him King Kong though, they do say he’s king of the island but that’s as close as we get.
The other monsters are fun to see, Mother Longlegs is pretty intense, the Mire Squid is a nice reference to the Giant Octopus in King Kong vs Godzilla, the Sker Buffaloes don’t really do much but are fun to look at, the psycho vultures are nasty little creatures, the Spore Mantis is probably one of my favourite monsters in the film just because of how great it looks. And finally Ramarak and the other Skullcrawlers are great to watch, wickedly cunning and sadistic they make a great threat for Kong to fight. The fact that they’re a reference to the Two Legged Lizard from the 1933 King Kong film is just icing on the cake.
All in all this film is the best of the two so far, fixing all the problems of Godzilla and adding to the lore of the Monsterverse. I would highly recommend you watch this movie and stick around after the credits, there’s a nice treat to be found. I’m definitely looking forward to Godzilla King of The Monsters if Kong is any indicator of it’s quality.
Mild SPOILER ALERT for those of you who want to know what happens in the post credit scene, if you don’t stop reading. Rodan, Mothra and Ghidora are all teased in the form of cave paintings depicting them all individually and finally with one in which Godzilla is facing off against King Ghidorah. Aside from Rodan looking like Gyaos a bit I was thrilled to see this, they really seem to get Ghidora’s status as an ominous force of destruction. Get hype folks.
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