Before I review this film I suppose I should share my thoughts on the Godzilla film it’s a spin-off of. It was ok but the human characters weren’t nearly interesting enough to make it less annoying when the footage would cut away from Godzilla just as an action scene was going to happen, especially since the action scenes they did show looked really good.
Out of the two films this is the better one. For one thing it doesn’t tease Kong after fully revealing him and when the scenes focus on the human characters for the majority of the time I’m not wondering when the next action scene is going to happen. I say the majority because there are scenes where the two groups argue over the direction to go where you know exactly which way they’re going to go that could be a bit shorter.
A big part of why I decided to see this in the cinema is for the scale of Kong and this is something the film does really well. This version of Kong is huge, if he tried to climb the Empire State Building it’d fall down (though he’s still smaller than Godzilla). This is the main reason to see it on the big screen and why I’m probably not going to rewatch it when it airs on TV. While I’m talking about Kong himself I’m glad they didn’t just make him look like a Gorilla, you can see the influence the old King Kong suits had on the design.
The human characters are what you expect from a monster movie, not especially interesting but not too boring that you’re asking “where’s Kong?” every time he’s off-screen. I think the main reason this works is thanks to the cast, these are all talented actors. The characters aren’t memorable but they’re not supposed to be.
An example of a character who only works because of the performance is the army leader played by Samuel L. Jackson. Jackson has the most entertaining performance in this film as his character’s desire for a war with Kong gets stronger. This film has a scene where Samuel L. Jackson and King Kong glare at each other.
If you want a scene for scene remake of the original King Kong you’re going to be disappointed but if you just want to see giant monsters fight each other this film delivers. It’s not great but it doesn’t need to be, it’s just a fun giant monster movie.