Kong Skull Island was an international hit with box office gross exceeding over $160 million in three days. Compared to the full-court press that Disney marketing is providing for Beauty and the Beast, the marketing for Kong Skull Island has been modest. Fortunately, the movie exceeds marketing hype.
Perhaps a sequel to the 1933 Son of Kong, this new film opens in 1944 when a Japanese and American aviator crash land on the mysterious island. Their petty fight is abated when Kong makes an appearance and stuns the soldiers.
Almost 30 years later, Professor Randa (John Goodman) from the Monarch Organization requests to visit this mysterious island. The Vietnam War is ending and Randa would like to study Skull Island before the Soviet Union finds out about it. Besides recruiting Lieutenant Packard (Samuel L. Jackson) and his helicopter squad, Randa recruits Marlow (John C. Reilly) as well as Mason Weaver (Brie Larson), a photojournalist.
When the scientific expedition starts dropping bombs on the island, Kong is angered and brings down the helicopters. Divided across the island, the survivors attempt reunification, only to discover that Kong is the least of their problems.
Indiana Jones and Jurassic World fans will get their money’s worth. Kong Skull Island is part of the “MonsterVerse” series that began three years ago with the reboot of Godzilla. Unlike Godzilla, when the monster was hidden until the final 20 minutes of the film, Kong is front and center throughout.
With the exception of subterranean terrors that lurk on Skull Island, there are no outright villains in this film. Samuel L. Jackson is the most aggressive human character, but the script creates empathy for the character’s desire for revenge. Upon further review, the wrath of Kong is not caused by military aggression, but by scientific arrogance. Beyond big-sized epic adventure, Kong Skull Island contains a narrative with much intellectual depth.