Kong: Skull Island is directed by Jordan Charles Vogt and is another retelling of The Eighth Wonder of the World himself, King Kong. In this film, a group of scientists and soldiers are sent to investigate an undiscovered, remote island known as Skull Island. Once they arrive, a multitude of monsters and a humongous ape go on a terrorizing rampage around the island and all hell breaks loose in giant, over-the-top, monster movie fashion.

On top of that, this film is a sequel to the 2014 reboot of Godzilla which means we have a monster movie universe on our hands now. It’s a “monster-verse”! As silly as that sounds, there is potential for a monster universe franchise to excel. Take Marvel. If they can take their own film properties and have them all intertwined with one another to make a cohesive series, then why can’t monsters do the same thing?

While this “monster-verse” is still only two movies in, I could see them in the future having problems along the way and the proof is in this film. Allow me to break down the “nitty gritty” of what works and what really doesn’t work.

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Let’s address the elephant, or in this case gorilla, in the room: King Kong. Kong completely owns this movie. Whenever Kong is on screen, that’s when the film kicks it into high gear and it’s a thrill ride of sequences. The character of Kong is done right and that’s a given. He’s a gigantic, destructive gorilla and he goes bananas in the best way. However to me, Kong is the best thing this movie has going. 

The glaring issue that surrounds this film is the entire cast. This movie has actors like Tom HiddlestonSamuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, and Brie Larson. On paper, that’s a great, talented cast! Why is it that whenever these people get screen time, they’re nothing but boring, generic characters? These characters are just here to be expendables for Kong to attack throughout the plot. Hiddleston’s character is a typical, cool guy who is really good at tracking animals. Larson’s character is just a photographer and that’s it, we don’t know anything else about her or what qualifies her to go on this mission. Point is, there’s simply not enough depth to these people.

In addition to these dull protagonists, the script these actors were given to work with feels like something out of a Sharknado movie. I’m not over exaggerating, the writing just isn’t up to par for a big, blockbuster film. The lines these characters deliver in this movie, virtually have no impact or weight to them. Even the comedic beats are hit and miss, this movie has comic actor John C. Riley in it and even he can’t make these jokes works. A lot of the writing just falls flat in the end. 

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Although I will admit the third act of this film is a ton of crazy fun, in the end, I left the theater somewhat disappointed in this reboot. With a incredibly capable cast squandered in this whirlwind of special effects, I’m just surprised it didn’t turn out as great as I thought it could’ve been. King Kong and the action are the two saving graces in this movie.

I’m going to give Kong: Skull Island a “C+” on the movie grading scale. I can’t help but think if Kong was going toe-to-toe with the Expendables from The Expendables, that would have made for better movie. At least those mercenaries had some charisma to spare!

As always, thanks so much for reading and make sure to stay posted to Frank’s Takes for more reviews. Until next time, keep it 100.

-Frank

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