Kong: Skull Island certainly lives up to its title. There’s no skyscraper-climbing in this Kong, as most of the action takes place on the titular isle (which, indeed, does have a lot of skulls). What’s more, it actually does feel worthy of the name Kong, and it doesn’t feel like the King has been needlessly shoved into an original story that needed his star power, as it were.
An expedition into Skull Island organised by Bill Randa (John Goodman) also includes military Colonel Preston Packard (Samuel L Jackson) and tracker James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston). What’s more, the island has some very nasty surprises in store for the expedition, from giant insects to gigantic versions of the Jersey Devil from The Wolf Among Us called “skullwalkers” or “those lizard things”.
Who calls them those names? Hank Marlow (John C Reilly), who has been stranded on this island for nearly thirty years, and knows every dangerous nook and cranny like the back of his hand. He is definitely the most likeable of the human characters, and Reilly seems to be having a blast with this eccentric character, bringing a lot of the film’s humour. The other human characters aren’t as interesting; Hiddleston’s performance is fine and somewhat reminiscent of his turn in The Night Manager, but nothing really memorable about his character.
This is a King Kong movie, however, and King Kong is presented how he should be. He not only looks good, but still exhibits the elements of humanity that endured audiences to him decades ago. He is not truly a monster, but a protector against them. Speaking of which, this is pretty much a big fat B-Movie where the human characters are stalked by monsters like a more extreme version of The Grey, and the monsters here look fantastic with interesting designs. Not only do the skullwalkers look threatening, but there’s also a nice upgraded stick insect.
If you’re in the mood for a fun time at the cinema with big beasties, be sure to catch Kong.