Film Critic and Writer for ComiConverse.com, the Founder and co-host of the official Nerdcast Network Podcast
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A classic movie monster crashes back into the film scene with Kong: Skull Island and ComiConverse Film Critic Jordan Samuel provides the official review.
Film Review: Kong Skull Island
In 1973, a secretive organization known as Monarch finds an island that is shrouded in mystery and identified as the origin for new species. The resulting expedition to the island reveals that a giant monstrous ape named King Kong is at the center of a battle for dominion over the island, against the apex predators, nicknamed “Skullcrawlers”, responsible for wiping out his kind. As the expedition crew makes plans to fight for survival against Kong and the other monsters on the island, some of them begin to see that Kong is worth saving.
The big ape has seen countless iterations with each bringing a new generation into the foray of classic monster King Kong, with various degrees of success. Recent adaptions of Peter Jackson’s King Kong brought the classic tale to modern audiences, blending amazing effects and great performances it remains a brilliant retelling in key eyes.
Run-time was crazy, but it did so many things right but I’ve always dislike how much it followed the original and never tried to push in a new direction: so, when a new story was announced with Kong Skull Island, my jaw hit the floor. I’m the biggest monster movie fan in the world, watching every single Toho Godzilla and Kong interaction. Kong has always remained my favorite of the enormous creatures; by being the one humans tried to exploit for their own amusement.
I can confirm that Kong is a fully-fledged monster movie something fans have been waiting for now since the lackluster Godzilla (2014). It’s a homage to the 70s while taking massive cues from modern day action: director Jordan Vogt-Roberts provides a huge roar with his reboot. Going fully into action unlike the slow building Peter Jackson’s take on the series, it loses the whole dark and depressing look and falls into the Mad Max crazy vibe.
It may not be on the level of drama seen in Gareth Edwards Godzilla (2014), Human characters do feel worthy of your time but do come across quite generic. Bad guy agency Monarch secures government approval to venture on to an uncharted island (not unformed territory for the franchise) and meets the tentative King. Who doesn’t like unwanted attention on his island but this is all cut short when legendary underground beasts appear on the scene.
Roberts gives us the most intense Monster fights seen in a long time, Kong is much more brutal here: satisfying fans of the original Toho Godzilla. Story might be quite generic but it works as the elements get even more insane in the two-hour run time. It flows allot better than the bloated King Kong (2005) given the audience more time to breathe when compared to the slow take seen in the last film.
Being connected to future movie universes gives Kong: Skull Island, a hard boot to fill, now that both Godzilla and Kong exist in the same realm. It surprised me how much it felt standalone from the expanded universe, which I can commend Warner for doing. The dumb fun action is front center and not bogged down in Studio politics. Kong looks great and inhibits a sense of weight not seen for a long time, surpassing the last version in pure terror.
CG creations can be awkward most of the time but I never felt then here; for one love the fight sequences with the Skullcrawler’s that blend perfectly together. IMAX 3D was just beautiful in the screening and should be watched with that format, the movie jumps out on big screen. Quality is all over the picture even if this might be the Jurassic World of the franchise, dumb fun is warranted after the serious Oscar season.
Overall Kong Skull Island is a fantastic kick-start for this cinematic universe which will conclude in with Godzilla vs Kong (2020), merging together the classic creature with a brand-new storyline. It brings everything I love about the monster series in a chest bumping swan-song to classic 70s disaster movies.
It’s a fun addition to the solid franchise