Kong: Skull Island

Kong: Skull Island ★★½

"You shouldn't have come here."

I'm so into this MonsterVerse even this massive heaping of disappointment won't stop me. The trailers, posters, literally everything was ticking the boxes for a very Diego movie. I'm an easy lay for monsters fucking each other up. Weird smorgasbord of APOCALYPSE NOW through the KING KONG story? I'm down for that. And the ideas are kind of there?

When it takes the time to let the luscious visuals get across the anti-war message and recurring themes of nature from GODZILLA, it very much fucks. When it's getting from point A to point B without developing those themes... pretty not good.

The problem isn't the lack of character development (lol who the fuck goes to a monster movie for that? where do people get those complaints?) The problem is they're useless to thematic narrative.

John C. Reilly, Sam Jackson, and John Goodman have all gotten their due respect but I haven't heard one person praise the great Shea Whigham. Shea Whigham forever!

It's beautifully shot (Larry Fong deserves better, as usual) and Jordan Vogt-Roberts clearly knows how to tell a story given individual scenes that flourish with identity. Everything with John C. Reilly is really extraordinary as are the variety of monster fights. Something just got lost along the way. I guess the GODZILLA fan reactions scared people away from letting monster movies get too meditative or whatever.

The action is fun enough and the creatures are inventive but I wish we'd spend less time on literally point A to point B storytelling. These are ancient beings, some of which would feel at home in a Hayao Miyazaki movie. Show off. Let us gaze with wonder. The components were all here. Someone just lost sight of them.

Didn't hate it. Just didn't love it like I thought I would. First major disappointment of the year for me. But fuck, the monster stuff is super fun.

EDIT: knocking it down half a star after sleeping on it. Such a disappointment.

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