“Kong: Skull Island” is a colossal amount of fun

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A spin-off of 2014’s “Godzilla”, “Kong: Skull Island” turns a campy premise into a fun-filled adventure.

The film follows a team of soldiers and scientists as their expedition across the mysterious Skull Island becomes marred with mayhem and monsters.

In this image released by Warner Bros. Pictures, Tom Hiddleston, left, and Brie Larson appear in a scene from, "Kong: Skull Island." (Vince Valitutti/Warner Bros. Pictures via AP)
In this image released by Warner Bros. Pictures, Tom Hiddleston, left, and Brie Larson appear in a scene from, “Kong: Skull Island.” (Vince Valitutti/Warner Bros. Pictures via AP)

The plot is simple, but is helped by an interesting backstory and an air of mystery. The monster encounters are spread evenly throughout the film, creating a constant sense of danger for the team. The film isn’t afraid to kill off characters either, with the shock value keeping the pace from slowing down. These things combined give the film a strong energy as it moves forward, culminating in a knock-out finale.   

Since the ensemble cast serves as monster fodder, the film’s character development comes across as lacking and most of the cast is one-note. Brie Larson and Tom Hiddleston often phone it in as the film’s leads, moving from one scene to the next.

Samuel L. Jackson, on the other hand, gives an over-the-top performance that works well for the film. Jackson’s character has an interesting motivation that makes his actions more believable and morally gray, and his performance makes the character consistently fun to watch.

John C. Reilly gives an equally wacky performance that’s more hit-or-miss, but helps with the comedic elements of the film. Reilly and John Goodman also have important backstory that makes the actions of their characters easier to understand.

Despite the acting and character development, it’s apparent that the actors are having fun and embracing the absurdity of the story. This gives the film heart and its own unique feel, which elevates it past most other monster movies.

The film is also visually interesting, with the island providing a beautiful and diverse backdrop to the action. Kong comes across as detailed and realistic thanks to the use of motion capture, which makes his fighting natural and his presence intimidating. The variety in monster design provides a breath of fresh air as well, each coming across as thought-out and unique.

Overall, “Kong: Skull Island” is great for audiences looking for action or adventure. The film’s campy nature makes it fun to watch with family or friends, but the violence may not be appropriate for young or squeamish viewers.

Verdict:

Despite some weak acting and one-note characters, “Kong: Skull Island” is a monstrously fun and over-the-top blockbuster.

8/10