Kong: Skull Island

Kong: Skull Island ★★★

Only slightly better than Dougherty’s clumsier film, mainly because it grounds itself firmly in the realm of kitsch. Vogt-Roberts’ hollow aestheticism (which I covered in my older, less charitable review) remains the most fascinating aspect of Skull Island. 

There are moments when its unabashed period fetishism neatly dovetails the screenplay’s political undertones regarding war as little more than a battle of aesthetics, of mere signifiers — John C. Reilly’s anecdote about military uniforms coldly reducing an invidual to either an ally or an enemy drives the point home rather explicitly. 

And then there’s Sam Jackson’s shellshocked character who becomes obsessed with hunting down and eliminating Kong to indulge his inner objective-hungry soldier, which I guess serves as a pretty transparent metaphor for America’s constant (and futile) search for a moral opposite to lend itself a sense of purpose and valor in morally murky times. 

Vogt-Roberts’ take on Kong is definitely more interesting on a second viewing, especially in the wake of the largely listless King of the Monsters.

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