April 11, 2017
By Tiffany Skelnik
“Kong Skull Island” is a Jordan Vogt-Roberts directed film that stars Tom Hiddleston as James Conrad, a member of British Special Forces who is enlisted to help a team of scholars, scientists and soldiers of the United States Army investigate Skull Island.
The film follows Bill Rands, played by John Goodman as he gathers a team which comes to include Conrad as well as Preston Packard, a Col. of the U.S. Army played by Samuel L. Jackson, and Mason Weaver an anti-war photographer played by Brie Larson, among others to explore the unmapped Skull Island where they cross paths with the legendary monster ape Kong.
The film had an all-star cast, the performances were entertaining to watch, and gives viewers a unique group to root for. Hiddleston as Conrad is the standout, as his character has an empathy toward the island and an understanding of its dangers long before they cross paths with the monster. Hiddleston plays the group’s voice of reason quite well. Throughout the film’s events, we gradually see his character open himself up and find a rhythm with the team, specifically Mason Weaver. His performance brings a welcome balance of action hero style heroics and quieter moments of reflection.
Larson’s first role in an action movie is a pleasant surprise. She portrays Mason Weaver as a capable member of the team, and brings compassion to the group even as things begin to go downhill.
Hiddleston and Larson have fantastic chemistry together, and the scenes they share provide some of the film’s quieter and tender moments.
Jackson as Col. Preston Packard was entertaining. He makes his character’s feelings clear from the start, and it makes for a fun ride. His character does not exactly work well with the team and it allows Jackson to play the character as a wild card, even with his military background.
Goodman as Bill Randa gave a good performance as well. As the driving force behind the team ending up on the island, he keeps his motivations ambiguous, while still providing a character to root for.
John C. Reilly as Hank Marlow provides much needed comic relief to a film that has incredibly high stakes.
The film itself is entertaining, but average in its delivery of a premise that has been seen for a long time. The cast carries most of the weight, but the story doesn’t deliver anything particularly new. That doesn’t mean that the film is not a worthy blockbuster. With a diverse cast of stars and a story that doesn’t let up until the very last frame, “Kong: Skull Island” is a fun film for those who are fans of action. I recommend seeing it for some worthy escapism.