KAIJU DAY MARATHON: Kong: Skull Island (2017)

The second film in the Legendary MonsterVerse, Kong: Skull Island reboots and remakes King Kong for a new generation that would see the 70’s remake as silly, the Peter Jackson film as old and if that last statement is true, would think that the 1933 original was some kind of archaeological find like the Shroud of Turin.

In 1944* and 1973, Kong has made his presence known as war continues to intrude on Skull Island. This leads Bill Randa (John Goodman), head of the U.S. government organization Monarch, to send a team to that island to find out exactly what’s going on with the monsters that have emerged.

Once there,  Lieutenant Colonel Preston Packard (Samuel Jackson), former British Special Air Service Captain James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston), photographer Mason Weaver (Brie Larson) and seismologist Houston Brooks (Corey Hawkins, playing the younger version of the character from Godzilla: King of the Monsters) begin dropping seismic explosives and mapping the island before Kong attacks.

The battle separates the scientists and soldiers, with Packard wanting to kill Kong and the others meeting the natives and discovering that the big beast is the last of his kind, protecting the island and its natives from the Skullcrawlers that wiped out its entire family.

By the end, Kong is victorious and has proved his true good nature. Monarch recruits Conrad and Weaver, while revealing that Kong is not alone, revealing cave paintings of Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan and King Ghidorah.

I’m excited to see what happens next, as the films have placed both Kong and Godzilla on the same emotional playing field. They’re both the last of their kind, dealing with the loss of their race to an enemy (the Skullcrawlers and the Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms) and are absolute predators. However, Godzilla has no interest in human beings while Kong serves as their protector.

Who knew that a modern King Kong movie would reference seventies films like The Conversation and Apocalpyse Now, somehow becoming one of the best films in the series?

Here’s to being pleasantly surprised.

* I love that John C. Reilly’s character has been on the island since World War II. He also has on a jacket that references Kaneda’s in Akira: “Good for your health, bad for your education.”

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