The granddaddy of monsters, King Kong, is back and he’s bigger than ever before, shame the movies not better than ever though.
Set in 1974 Kong: Skull Island is the second in Legendary’s Kaiju-shared universe and sees an expedition led by Lieutenant Colonel Preston Packard (Samuel L Jackson) to the titular head shaped island where they discover a 100ft ape known as Kong.
Pissed off at these intruders Kong goes on a rampage leaving former SAS Captain James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston) and photojournalist Mason Weaver (Brie Larson) lost on an island full of nasty beasties.
Exposition out of the way let’s get into the meat of it, Kong: Skull Island is the type of film that’s so okay it’s fine. It’s not a mess but equally there’s nothing particularly noteworthy in it either.
The action’s good with the first appearance of Kong being simply staggering, and it’s clear that director Jordan Vogt-Roberts knows how to compose a shot, again this is most notable during Kong’s introduction.
Kong’s design is also gorgeous and blends classic elements of all the Kongs before him to create a wonderful and iconic design. Similarly all the monsters that inhabit Skull Island are equally interesting and varied.
There are also some wonderful references to the 1933 original Kong in the design of the dreaded Skullcrawlers and the legless lizards that appeared in the original.
Unfortunately Kong has a couple of gigantic problems that’ll stop audiences going ape for the King of the Jungle’s return.
After Gareth Jones’ 2014 Godzilla reboot was criticised for focusing too much on the human characters and not enough on the titular King of the Monsters it seems that the studio decided to go in the complete opposite direction with this film focusing almost entirely on Kong and his fights.
And while the action scenes are interesting enough after awhile they get a bit tiresome, especially when the only thing that the film makers can think to do is make Kong fight an even bigger lizard.
By neglecting to develop its human characters the three leads, Hiddleston, Larson and Jackson, are left with very little to do except stand around and look pretty, Brie Larson notably gets the worst of this being reduced to nothing but a damsel in distress by the end of the film.
Of the main thee cast members Jackson has the most to do with his character developing an Captain Ahab style fixation on bringing down Kong but it feels awfully two-dimensional considering all the monsters on the island are equally guilty of wiping out his men.
Ultimately Skull Island failed to be top bananas is because it’s yet another example of a studio putting the cart before the horse. They want Godzilla and King Kong to fight, so they’ve attempted to build a cinematic universe, but not built a solid foundation.
All in all Kong is a tight adaption of a classic film but it pulls it’s punches a bit too much and fails to leave much of an impact.