7/10 Kong: Skull Island works best when Kong is on screen vs. when it is left to the human interactions. That’s not to say all of the human interactions didn’t work, they just weren’t as engaging. In fact, watching the trailer made me think Samuel L. Jackson would be his usual badass self and that John C. Reilly’s character might be painfully awkward and not funny. The opposite turned out to be true. John C. Reilly’s character provided a little comic relief and was actually the most heartfelt character whom I found myself rooting for most. Samuel L. Jackson’s character was a really bad military cliché that we have seen countless times. So the characters were hit and miss but Kong was a commanding presence on screen. The fight scenes with him were amazing, the sound design and mixing worked well, the visuals were stunning and there was some creative cinematography. However, you think they would have hired some actual military consultants to let them know how the military actually works. When the military fights Kong in their first encounter, their tactics were laughably and embarrassingly bad. I was under the assumption that they actually trained people in the military. Also, in comparing this to let’s say…Peter Jackson’s 2005 King Kong film, I preferred Jackson’s take. In previous Kong films, Kong bonded with Ann, the female protagonist. It was his love for Ann that kept her alive and that made you emotionally invested in their relationship. This film doesn’t have that. There are about two scenes with Kong protecting Brie Larson’s character but you could hardly say they have a relationship that is fleshed out or developed at all so that didn’t work as well for me. Character problems and the fact that it’s somewhat forgettable aside, this film did deliver in the thrills, the casting and with tastefully setting up for that eventual duel with Godzilla. This film is better than 2014’s Godzilla and a step in the right direction for this extended universe. Let’s just hope they tweak the few remaining bugs moving forward.
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