Kong: Skull Island hits theaters next Friday but the embargo for critics on Legendary’s creature feature lifted today and the reviews are in.
What are the critics saying? Well, it’s a bit of a mixed bag, unfortunately. While the film succeeds with Kong and the monsters themselves, it leaves much to be desired with the characterization of its human characters, however, it seems to be an effective second installment to Legendary’s cinematic MonsterVerse.
You can check out excerpts from the reviews below.
Collider’s Brian Formo:
Ultimately, the focus on CGI monster attacks pushes the characters too far into the corners of the story. And Kong’s alone time only features monster battles, so there’s no extra heft afforded to the King. So even though Skull Island features some truly breathtaking moments that incorporate the elements that everyone loved in Godzilla—the tense, still and smoky seconds where an unseen monster lurks (cinematographer Larry Fong deserves a shout-out; as does a particular ingenious use of a malfunctioning camera flash)—it feels like a movie that was made in a focus group chemist lab and never its own thing. [C]
IGN’s Alex Welch:
There’s a moment in Kong: Skull Island when one of the soldiers plays some ’70s music for Reilly’s Marlow, who responds by asking, “How can you swing to this?,” confused by the heavy emphasis on electric guitars rather than a piano or saxophone. Some King Kong purists may feel that same frustration with Skull Island, but while the aesthetic of this new adventure may be very different, it ends up evoking the same feeling that made King Kong such an icon in the first place. Even if this time, it’s coming to you with roaring electric guitars and napalm rather than Empire State Buildings and damsels in distress. [8/10]
JoBlo’s Chris Bumbray
Overall, KONG: SKULL ISLAND is a fun, fast-paced adventure flick, and a good way to continue the Kong franchise. It’s a lot better than the GODZILLA reboot, thanks mostly to the attention that’s been paid to assembling a good, human cast. Some clunky exposition and the aforementioned self-consciously cool bits aside, this is a blast. [7/10]
Empire’s Jonathan Pile:
King Kong lives! But only just. This is an uneven adventure that’s saved by the spectacle of its towering title character and the various beasts with whom he shares his island home. [***]
HeyUGuys‘ Stefan Pape:
Thrives in its playful, irreverent approach, endearingly kitsch and gloriously overstated, with an unwavering commitment to entertainment. [***]
Matt Donato of We Got This Covered:
Kong: Skull Island is a grand cinematic adventure powered by furry fury, as the horrors of war blend with chest-beating creature confidence. [****] – We Got This Covered
The Playlist’s Drew Taylor
Watching the movie, it’s hard to not wish there was a little more time given to the political undercurrents of the film, which largely amount to: “Vietnam was bad, we shouldn’t go into dangerous jungles and start shit, the monster is us.” But the fact there is any of that stuff in the movie, especially in a studio film meant to stand as a pillar for a much larger franchise, is commendable in and of itself. Vogt-Roberts knows that a stylistic elevation and attempt at politicization are keys to the character’s success, and he houses those in a fantastic, monster-strewn adventure. These days, getting out of the muck of the real world and into a fully realized, escapist romp, feels positively essential. [B+]
SPOILER WARNING: The Hollywood Reporter and Variety have spoiled the film’s post-credit scene in their reviews.
The Hollywood Reporter’s Todd McCarthy:
All the requisite elements are served up here in ideal proportion, and the time just flies by, which can rarely be said for films of this nature, which, in a trend arguably started by Peter Jackson, have for years now tended to be heavy, lumbering and overlong. A post-end credits bit suggests that Warner Bros. already has some famous opponents lined up for Kong’s heavyweight belt, beginning perhaps with [SPOILER]. Whoever undertakes any follow-ups will have a high bar to clear.
Variety’s Owen Gleiberman:
The surprise is that “Skull Island” isn’t just ten times as good as “Jurassic World”; it’s a rousing and smartly crafted primordial-beastie spectacular. The entire film takes place on Kong’s jungle island home (he doesn’t scale any skyscrapers — in New York or Dubai), and you could say that it’s more action-based and less ambitious than either of the “King Kong” remakes: the snarky, overblown, justly reviled 1976 knockoff or Peter Jackson’s good but still not good enough 2005 retread.
So what do you think? Do the mixed reviews temper your excitement for the film or will you still be rushing out to the theater next weekend to see it for yourself? Sound off in the comments below.
You can watch the final theatrical trailer for the film here.
The film stars Brie Larson, Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Jason Mitchell, Corey Hawkins, Toby Kebbell, Tom Wilkinson, Terry Notary, John C. Reilly, and John Goodman.
Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures’ “Kong: Skull Island” reimagines the origin of the mythic monster in a compelling, original adventure from director Jordan Vogt-Roberts. In the film, a diverse team of explorers is brought together to venture deep into an uncharted island in the Pacific—as beautiful as it is treacherous—unaware that they’re crossing into the domain of the mythic Kong.
Kong: Skull Island hits theaters next Friday, March 10.