After Warner Bros. (WB for short) released an American reboot of “Godzilla” in 2014 as the first installment of a cinematic universe called, “MonsterVerse” rebooting Kaiju characters based on Toho’s Godzilla franchise, a second installment and reboot of “King Kong” was in the works with Jordan Vogt-Roberts (The Kings Of Summer) onboard as director and ensemble cast led by Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson, John Goodman & John C. Reilly.
Kong Skull Island was released in 2017. (same year Logan came out) It received positive reviews from critics, fans and movie goers alike. Plus, it made enough revenue at the box office.
As you know, “Godzilla VS. Kong” will be released in theaters and stream on HBO Max this March. Before both giants duke it out, I’d like to share my thoughts on King Kong’s reboot .
Today’s review doesn’t contain no crucial SPOILERS. Feel free to read my non-spoiler article.
Strong & Weak Aspects
Strong: Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson, John Goodman & John C. Reilly all did a great job for their respective performances.
Fun Fact: We know Jeff Bridges & John Goodman starred in “The Big Lebowski” together. They were also in separate iterations of King Kong. Jeff was in the 1976 remake while John was in the 2017 reboot.
Other Cast Members such as Toby Kebbell, Corey Hawkins, Shea Whigham & Jason Mitchell all did a good job for their respective performances.
Toby plays two characters. One as a soldier and provides motion capture for Kong. He also played an ape in “Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes” as Koba.
Jordan Vogt-Roberts did a great job directing.
Dan Gilroy, (Nightcrawler) Max Bornstien & Derek Connolly co-wrote the script together. John Gatins (Flight) wrote the story too.
Action Sequences contain over-the-top fight scenes courtesy of Kong battling creatures on Skull Island. Human characters have their time to shine using their arsenal against monsters.
Visual Effects improve Kong’s appearance. He’s a composite of the 1933, 1976 and 2005 versions all in one. Other creatures on Skull Island were made from computer animation.
Sound Effects were modified creating Kong’s roar using a combination of animals.
The Tone is lighter than previous King Kong films. It has some funny moments.
Kong shows up before the title pops up. WB learned their lesson introducing the main star of the movie. They done Godzilla dirty in his 2014 reboot only focusing on Aaron Taylor-Johnson instead of King Of The Monsters.
According to Jordan, the 2017 reboot is influenced films from The 70s including “Apocalypse Now,” “Jaws,” & “The Conversation.” Other influences are ” Princess Mononoke,” “Spirited Away,” “Platoon” & “Pokémon.” Jordan mentioned notable filmmakers Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, Terrence Malik & Hayao Miyazaki as inspirations for the film.
Unlike the disappointing Godzilla 2014, human characters are memorable. Each one has personality. Aaron Taylor-Johnson & Elizabeth Olsen playing a married couple left a bad taste in my mouth. I have nothing against them, but my one problem with them is in fact, they played twins Quicksilver & Scarlet Witch (Magneto’s kids in the comics) in the Marvel Cinematic Universe or MCU for short.
Unlike all three versions from 1933, 1976 & 2005, the 2017 reboot doesn’t repeat the same story that we’ve already seen countless times. This story is completely different. Kong isn’t a beast who kidnaps a leading lady, he protects his island from invaders and deadly beasts. The natives aren’t bloodthirsty savages, they actually supported the human characters. Kong is immune to bullets, meaning he can’t die. Talk about a breath of fresh air.
The 2017 reboot is set in The 70s during The Vietnam War.
Music from The 70s is part of the soundtrack.
Kong has a tragic backstory. His parents were killed by skullcrawlers at an early age. Kong is similar to “Black Panther.” Both take over their father’s role as king and protect their home from enemies.
Monarch is the equivalent of S.H.I.E.L.D. from the MCU.
At one point, John Goodman’s character stated “monsters do exist.” It’s ironic, because he played Sully from “Monsters Inc” & “Monster University.” Gotta love inside jokes.
One character equips a gas mask and wields a katana fighting monsters in slow motion. Perhaps an homage to “300.”
Sam Jackson’s character said “Hold on to your butt.” A reference to his line from “Jurassic Park.”
A squad is named, “Fox Five.” A reference to Mia Wallace’s failed pilot from “Pulp Fiction.”
The Chicago Cubs are mentioned they never won the World Series Championship since 1907. They got the last laugh in 2016.
John C. Reilly’s character mentioned he’s from Chicago. He was in an Oscar winning musical with Renée Zellweger & Catherine Zeta-Jones showing off his singing chops.
Richard Jenkins makes a cameo appearance. He was in “Step Brothers” with John.
A Post-Credits Scene sets up the next installment of the MonsterVerse.
Weak: Skullcrawlers are kinda similar to the MUTOS from the 2014 Godzilla reboot. Could’ve improved if Kong fought my all time favorite giant monster Megalon from “Godzilla VS. Megalon.”
The Final Verdict: A-
From my perspective, Kong: Skull Island is my favorite King Kong movie. A drastic improvement of Peter Jackson’s 2005 remake, all the positive things I’ve listed, indicates why I think Kong: Skull Island is a unique take on King Kong. Felt like a breath of fresh air never relying on redoing the same plot like the 1976 and 2005 remakes. If you want to refresh your memory before Godzilla VS. Kong, I highly recommend Kong: Skull Island & Godzilla: King Of The Monsters.
I’m rooting for Godzilla as the victor.