Kong: Skull Island

Kong: Skull Island ★★★

If this was the standard for dumb loud disaster blockbusters, then the explosions and CGI genre would be generally better off.  If you hated Godzilla 2014 and thought maybe it too closely resembled a real movie, this is the film for you.  

There's real style here and the cinematic influences are carefully cultivated to craft a unique look for the film.  There's also one genuinely great and fully fleshed character in John C Reilly, and one interesting but cartoonishly realized character in Samuel Jackson.  And ultimately it's a fine way to execute a King Kong film.  Somewhat grounded and filled to the brim with charming actors and monsters.

The problem is that even if you go along for the ride with this being a silly and fun film, there's still a really lazy screenplay to contend with.  Almost every line of dialogue is the clunkiest exposition you've ever heard, the goal of the characters doesn't really make sense after about fifteen minutes, and the ending is completely rushed through.

The other problem is that the genesis of the film is reactionary.  Every second of this thing feels like a desperate apology because of the complaints Godzilla got.  And films made as reactions rather than as passionate films generally feel a little empty and constructed.  And this does too.

My only question after this film is what chance in hell does Kong have against Godzilla?  I'm not sure what the line of evolution between now and 2020 is, but right now it doesn't even seem like close to a fair fight.

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