By Francisco Portillo
“Kong: Skull Island” fails to rise above mediocrity despite being a film with a large, talented cast and establishing an interesting backstory to the titular character.
The fact that the word king has been left out of the title is no accident as the movie doesn’t deserve the title of king. The inclusion of the word King would imply that the movie is worthwhile. Instead, the movie is filled with cringe-worthy dialogue and cliche characters.
The producers of the movie tried too hard to make the movie humorous. Half of the film is spent on weak jokes that fall flat. While it may be unfair to judge a monster movie by its dialogue alone, the action isn’t anything special either.
Unlike previous King Kong flicks, most of the movie takes place in his domain, Skull Island, which is full of gigantic insects and prehistoric animals.
The story takes place is the Vietnam war era. After discovering a hidden island, agents from the fictional MONARCH group request help from the military to map out the new island before any of the country’s enemies do. When they get there, they use bombs to map out the island using seismic waves and quickly anger the king of the domain.
The initial meeting between the gigantic ape and our protagonists is the most intense part of the movie. The scene shows the ape hurling trees at the protagonists in helicopters and swats them out of the air like flies. The set-piece is intense except for a couple of computer generated image renderings that are on the quality level of modern video games.
Most of the action in the movie is uninspired, in between those, are boring scenes filled with unnecessary exposition.
After the initial scuffle between the humans and ape, the rest of the action is uninspired and has mostly been seen in previous iterations of the character before. There is one interesting aspect to the character that has never been done before, making him an orphan who defends his home from many dangers.
When it was announced that the 2014 Godzilla film would be followed up by him facing off against King Kong, many fans of kaiju movies were ecstatic at the prospect of seeing the two goliaths battle it out on the big screen. With that being said, this movie feels like an 90 minutes of filler that simply sets up the next adventure instead of focusing on the current excuse for one.
The only character worthwhile in this movie is a world war one soldier, played by John C. Reilly, who gets lost on Skull Island and is forced to inhabit the newly founded land. His character has humor similar to that of Chris Evans’ Captain America, who is a man lost in time. Even though most of the characters are unbelievable and two-dimensional, he is the best-written character, giving the audience someone to actually root for besides the ape.
With the inclusion of such a star-studded cast, some of the roles are simply unbelievable. Tom Hiddleston plays James Conrad, an ex-mercenary who is hired to track the giant ape in its uncharted domain.
When watching a movie about a gigantic gorilla, the audience is meant to suspend belief. But even then, all logic goes out the window. Hiddleston is simply not believable as a mercenary, especially considering the fact that he is lacking in muscle mass. The character is unrealistically good at combat, and at one point feels like he’s a Power Ranger.
After a long toss from a soldier, he catches a samurai sword mid-air and slays the beasts that are hunting them.
The legendary Samuel Jackson plays a terribly written, stereotypical general. His actions and motivations are completely void of all logic as he sets himself on destroying the monstrosity that is Kong.
The movie fails to get engaging all throughout. The best part of the movie comes during the post-credits scene which will have fans screaming in glee.
Like “Batman V. Superman,” “Kong” fails to work as a solo movie and instead focuses on expanding into a larger universe that was never previously acknowledged.
With a runtime of 118 minutes, “Kong: Skull Island” is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for brief strong language.