Kong: Skull Island is an updated take on the timeless story of King Kong and a build towards the shared MonsterVerse. This film focuses on introducing Kong to the world taking place in the 1970s just after the US declared they were finished with the Vietnam War. In the United States the group of Monarch which is dedicated to dealing with massive monsters is on their last legs. Led by Bill (John Goodman) they push for a last explorative mission to the mysterious Skull Island. From there it's the classic tale of gathering a team to go on this expedition, but no time is wasted on developing the story you most likely already know and it gets right into the action. With some members of Monarch; a military convey ran by Preston (Samuel L. Jackson), a rough guide named James (Tom Hiddleston) and an intense war photographer Mason (Brie Larson) they head to this dangerous island. What greets them is an absolutely massive ape called Kong and this first encounter sends the team splintering off into small groups. This was helpful in really giving a good look at the island as each team traversed through different terrains. The places ranged from creepy swamps to lost civilizations and even some terrifying jungles filled with creatures of wonder.
While the tale was basically the same as you already know it, many elements were updated for a more modern setting to match the last Godzilla film. A number of traditional King Kong tropes were dropped or just lightly touched upon so it does feel like a different story for those that have seen the many takes on King Kong. The world of Skull Island was majestic providing many crazy monsters and gorgeous landscapes. I loved the variety in straight up predators hunting the small humans to the calm ones that were just going about their day. The story felt somewhat basic as it turned into a Samuel L. Jackson versus massive ape scenario that while badass, didn't feel too well developed. I'm not complaining as it was enjoyable to watch, it just felt alright overall not swaying either way on the spectrum of story quality. The cinematography was beautiful in this film truly capturing the large scale of Kong while also offering lovely scenes in the secret world. The action scenes were also well done being explosive, keeping it focused and having some solid moments. The music was great for the film matching the era and building on the action that it usually accompanied.
I really enjoyed Kong: Skull Island and while it wasn't amazing by any standard it provides exactly what you want in a monster film. It was something new for King Kong that has seen so many iterations over the years and the fresh story helps build a base for their exciting MonsterVerse. It's completely standalone, but I'm getting excited with the prospect of these champions of the ancient world battling it out in the future. The film was beautifully shot with glorious scenes that put you right into this mystical place and the monsters were amazing. They managed to create some fresh and terrifying creatures to haunt the lands to make it feel as though humans had no place on Skull Island. Kong was also brought to life well having a certain sympathy I appreciated while never taking it too far and keeping him as a strong guardian of the land. If you're one that loves monster films, then Kong: Skull Island will not disappoint. I mean, a core plot is Samuel L. Jackson being locked in a deadly battle against a massive ape with eye stare down moments which is crazy awesome!
Review for Kong: Skull Island at Theater with standard Viewing
Screening was Provided by Warner Brothers