"Who cares about critics anyway?"
You may have heard a chorus of comments along those lines over the past year as the divide between what audiences enjoy and what critics consider a good movie became sharper, particularly with the movies of Warner Bros. — Suicide Squad, BvS and Fantastic Beasts. But the truth is that critics' opinions have major influence in getting asses on seats, so Warner Bros. will be hoping the critics are kinder to Kong: Skull Island than they were to last year's blockbusters.
- Movie Pilot Review: 'Skull Island' Is A Monster Movie Worth Waiting For
- What Do We Know About A 'Kong: Skull Island' Sequel?
- Revealed: The Surprising Way 'Skull Island' Connects To 'Godzilla'
The good news? Reviews are in for Kong, and it sounds like fans of monster movies will go totally ape for this exploration of the mythical island by Samuel L. Jackson and the gang. The bad news? Casual filmgoers who are more into superheroes than enormous gorillas might not be totally won over.
Let's check out what the critics are saying about #KongSkullIsland.
The Hollywood Reporter: "John C. Reilly, And Kong, Steal The Film"
In a very positive 8/10 review, THR's Todd McCarthy has special praise for the characterization of Kong, John C. Reilly's standout performance, and Skull Island's superb action sequences and zippy pacing:
"This highly entertaining return of one of the cinema's most enduring giant beasts moves like crazy — the film feels more like 90 minutes than two hours — and achieves an ideal balance between wild action, throwaway humor, genre refreshment and an awareness of its own modest importance in the bigger scheme of things ... Reilly's warmly funny, performance becomes the heart of the film.
Fully realistic creatures are now nothing new, but the filmmakers, notably led by visual effects supervisors Stephen Rosenbaum and Jeff White, have engineered scenes of bestial combat that are not only hyper-credible but shot through with unexpected, and often gruesomely funny, moves."
Movie Pilot: "The Tone Is Inconsistent, But The Stakes Are High, The Action Breathtaking"
In a largely positive review for Movie Pilot, Alisha Grauso writes that Skull Island is the first monster movie in a while to believably suggest that humans might be a wee bit screwed, while also pointing out a few issues with the movie's tone:
"Moments of levity follow intense scenes with humor that sometimes feels as if it landed in the wrong moment, if not the wrong movie ... The spectacle provided by the sheer size of the monsters actually works. A few of the action sequences are truly breathtaking. The scope is pleasantly overwhelming ... King Kong is finally afforded the intelligence and respect he deserves as the King of all Apes."
IndieWire: "When Kong Is Centre Stage, The Movie Is Great, But The Humans Can't Compete"
In a decidedly mixed review for IndieWire.com, Eric Kohn points out the flaws in Kong's uneven tone, and considers Skull Island itself a less potent setting for a Kong movie than NYC, but does praise the monster himself and the brilliant action.
"A visually striking reworking of the Kong premise that never sets foot in New York City, Skull Island's grand scale does justice to the ape’s towering presence but falls short of giving his world renewed appeal — in part because Kong’s world isn’t as appealing as what happens when you take him out of it.
Their hyper-stylized confrontations with the island’s main attraction have the sizzling fury of “Apocalypse Now” (and a groovy classic rock soundtrack to match) ... [but] as soon as Kong arrives he steals the show, and none of the expansive human ensemble can compete for attention."
Variety: "Rousing, Smartly-Crafted, Ten Times As Good As Jurassic World"
And, for Variety, Owen Gleiberman's 8/10 review cites the performances of Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson and John Goodman as highlights, while declaring Skull Island a classic monster movie which scores bigger than 2005's King Kong.
"This Kong is a true savage and nobody’s sweetheart, and though he’s been brought to life by motion capture, it takes a while before his outsize “humanity” kicks in. But when it does, it feels earned ... Samuel L. Jackson’s seething, vengeful, kill-or-be-killed ethos is the real enemy in 'Skull Island', and it’s galvanizing to see an action movie full of guns that comes down on the side of not blowing shit up."
"The characters may be a touch minimal, but that doesn’t mean they’re boring; the actors fill them in. Hiddleston, while top-billed, never takes over the movie, but he’s crisp and hearty. Goodman has become a more forceful presence by playing down his goofy humor, Jackson scores as a humanized bad guy, and Brie Larson takes a generic role and infuses it with vibrance. The movie winks at the girl-in-the-ape-fist “romance” of old."
The brilliant header art was created by Chelsea Lowe.
Will you be finding out if Skull Island is 10 times better than Jurassic World?