There is one thing that’s certain with Kong: Skull Island: it’s a lot of fun. Set in the 70s, days after the announcement of the end of the Vietnam War, Government agent Bill Randa (John Goodman) gathers a team of soldiers and scientists to explore the uncharted south pacific island known as Skull Island. Whilst there, they encounter a whole host of strange, almost mythical creatures as well as some vicious predators known as Skull Crawlers. Also, a giant gorilla the size of a skyscraper makes a couple of appearances which is just the tip of the iceberg for the visual sensation that Kong: Skull Island is.
If you’re looking for a fun, easy watching and action packed blockbuster then this is the film for you. After the lively exposition, in which Randa and his partner Houston Brooks (Corey Hawkins) assembles their team: James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston), picked for his expertise in guiding groups across tropical terrains, Lieutenant Colnel Preston Packard (Samuel L Jackson) and the soldiers at his command who escort the group to the island to get them through the storm cycle that surrounds the island, keeping it hidden from detection, the group – joined now by anti-war photojournalist Mason Weaver (Brie Larson) – the skids don’t even get chance to touch the ground before we meet the ginormous beast known as Kong. Seconds later, mayhem ensues and the group is broken up.
As the group try to reach the north of the island to meet a rescue team due to arrive in three days time, there’s time to explore the island and all its wonders. Regardless of your opinion of K: SI there’s no denying it’s visually stunning. Almost every shot is composed of vibrant colour and beautiful angles that really let you soak it all in. As a visual experience, the film ticks all the boxes for me. Not only is the cinematography artistic but the editing is careful and exciting, making the film like a sensory explosion.
I mean, K:SI won’t win any awards for innovative story telling; characters are killed off left, right and centre, there’s some big scary monsters trying to eat everything and it follows your standard action/monster movie conventions, but the top notch cast really make it worthwhile. Samuel L Jackson is in his element, playing the decorated war hero who can’t seem to distinguish between the fields of war and nature’s own battlefield. Brie Larson, like always, delivers a certain charm and real likeness to her role and works well with Hidlleston. But for me, it was the soldiers who made it something more. Most of them just wanted to go home, but were shipped out for one last mission that turned out to be most of their last. In particular, it’s Mills (Jason Mitchell) who brings a mixture of desperation to return to normality and a comedy that is much needed to keep things light and entertaining.
There’s nothing ground breaking about this movie and it’s definitely far from perfect. The plot holes are more like craters and there was little to no character development, meaning I didn’t care that much when certain characters died. The two female characters, Weavers and biologist San (Tian Jing) didn’t speak to each other once throughout the whole thing (despite being in the same group for most of the movie). But I can look past that because I didn’t expect anything amazing. I went in expecting a mediocre action film that would be enjoyable but forgettable. I was semi-right. The plot was mediocre, but was delivered by a fantastic cast on a beautiful background. There were a couple of homages to previous King Kong films and K:SI added a little more to the legend that could be good to explore in coming films. Would I watch it again? Yeah. Would I go see a sequel? That depends. I’d like to see more of Larson and Hiddleston’s characters but with a bit more exploration into them. Overall, I liked Kong: Skull Island and would definitely recommend watching it at least once.
Let me know what your thoughts on K:SI.