Jordan Vogt-Roberts directs Samuel L Jackson, Brie Larson and John C Reilly in this glossy romp that mixes King Kong with Apocalypse Now with… I don’t know… something comic book, and colourful, and arch… like Con Air.
After the sophisticated Godzilla from Legendary we now get their far more goofy Kong. Tonally different, with a lot more monster mashing (like tons and tons) and non-stop gags to match, this hits a sugar rush level of mega budget satisfaction you wouldn’t expect to find outside of a June/July release. The bright palette of rich yellows, dirty golds, toxic blues and innards pink and the jaunty pace hark back to heyday of Michael Bay and Roland Emmerich but this feels a more wholesome, a less cynically calculated movie. It feels and plays out like a lot of kids in a toy shop fun. Pop mayhem. The opening burst of action and assembling of the team mimics the clean, fresh energy of Raiders or Ghostbusters. If you are aspiring to match those in terms of flavour you cannot be doing too much wrong. The cast helps, there are brilliant bits of work from the older hands (John C Reilly’s stranded WWII pilot is starring in his own separate five star movie), though Tom Hiddleston’s ostensible lead gets lost in the mix. Maybe there are way too many characters vying for attention but to criticise such a breezy and pleasurable movie for aping the secret strength of say high watermarks like Die Hard or Aliens seems hypocritical. Maybe in a decade all these smaller stand-outs will be considered the Hudson, Hicks and Vasquez of a generation. But headline act is Kong. He gets to be moody, a little romantic (but he has too busy a shift to spend too much of his time wooing the ladies this chapter) and break baddie behemoth balls. As daft as it all is among the humans, the movie leaps up a quality notch whenever he is onscreen. And when Kong is onscreen he dominates. More please.