Nicolò Grasso’s review published on Letterboxd:
Kong: Skull Island is the second entry in Legendary’s MonsterVerse, which started with 2014’s Godzilla directed by Gareth Edwards. This film is directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts, and it stars Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, John C. Reilly, Samuel L. Jackson and John Goodman. I am not an expert on kaiju and giant monster movies, but I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed this flick for what it was aiming to be.
The best thing the movie has going for it is its style: filmed mainly in Vietnam, the stunning cinematography and warm color palette are evocative of classic war films such as Apocalypse Now and Platoon. The same goes for the themes tackled here, for they deal with PTSD, the infinite search of the enemy, and even the USA’s non-acceptance of losing the war against the vietcongs.
Sadly, most of the characters here are pretty shallow: Tom Hiddleston sleepwalks through most of the movie, Brie Larson only brings a pretty smile, the squadron is made of likeable but one-dimensional soldiers, and John C. Reilly and Samuel L. Jackson are the only ones with an “arc” through the movie. Reilly especially worked pretty well as the comic relief in the movie: while he felt out of place in the trailer, his quippy remarks and uplifting persona fit with the tone of the movie.
The action itself was very fun, with a multitude of (surprisingly violent) encounters against giant spiders, tentacle monsters, flying creatures and gigantic skull crawlers. The cinematography is sharp, and there are a couple of POV shots that are reminiscent of multiple first-person shooters (the director himself is an avid gamer). There are also some graphic moments, most notably one of the soldiers getting impaled à-la Cannibal Holocaust.
Overall, Kong: Skull Island is a very fun and constantly entertaining action movie that blends its monster and war elements seamlessly. The story is bland, and the characters tend to be disposable, but the amount of fun that you get and the stylish execution make this one of the best blockbusters of the year.
Visual Effects: 8
Violence & Gore: 8.5
Sex & Nudity: 2
Drugs & Profanity: 6
Intensity & Horror: 6