Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

It's not often that a movie is fiercely confident in what it actually is. Kong: Skull Island makes no aspirations to being anything other than the most fun you'll have at the theaters today.

Gravitas has no time or place when you're trying to survive an island where everything is actively trying to kill you, which is basically the plot of Kong: Skull Island. Here, a group of scientists and military embark on an expedition into uncharted Skull Island, but they bite off more than they can chew (as humans are wont to do) when they grab the attention of Kong, a hundred feet of ape and angry. And he's not the only dangerous thing lurking there...

Kong knows what you want, what we all want.  It's characters that are introduced in bite-sized, easily digestible chunks and emotional beats that are mercifully short to make way for a pulse-pounding tale about a big frikkin' ape. Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts directs like a madman, giving Kong: Skull Island a frenzied, dream-like feel, keeping you on your toes as monsters bear down on its hapless cast.

Speaking of the cast, even if the movie is about Kong, the humans are still front and center of the conflict. Tom Hiddleston smolders and shines as the former SAS expert tracker and resident action man. Samuel L. Jackson as the badass warmonger with a Kong-sized chip on his shoulder is probably the most fleshed-out of all the characters here. Everyone else, from John Goodman to Brie Larson to John C. Reilly have their roles to play, which usually involve getting the hell out of the way of Kong and everything else on Skull Island.

The true breakout star here is King Kong himself. No longer the giant gorilla of yesteryear, Kong in this movie is a ferocious, massive mountain of an ape, a true force of nature unlike anything we've seen. It's absolutely satisfying seeing Kong own every scene he's in, demanding your attention as he swats Huey helicopters like gnats and battles monsters to the death. If you aren't a fan of Kong yet, this movie might just be the one to win you over.

Sure, some may say the plot is simplistic or that the characters are cookie-cutter caricatures. But you know what? We've had "serious" monster movies with "serious" themes demanding to be taken "seriously." It was high time we get a monster movie that throws a 100-foot killer ape at us in the first 10 minutes and lets us see where it goes from there. Kong: Skull Island is a hair-raising thrill ride from start to finish and a fitting return for the King of the Apes. Highly recommended!

Oh, and you owe it to yourself to stay in your damn seat for the after-credits. Thank us later.

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