Kong: Skull Island ★★★

I finally powered through this so as not to be completely lost during Godzilla vs. (ha), and with lowered expectations based on my first pass mostly enjoyed and was even surprised by it. The big, opening buildup going fully to shit minutes into the second act was unexpected and rewarding, and framing the whole thing as a Vietnam War allegory even kind of made sense (although the aesthetics of the setting seemed to have been conceived by a pre-teen who caught 20 minutes of Apocalypse Now between episodes of G.I. Joe). The mechanics of folding Kong into the kaiju-verse, while fitful and awkward, were ultimately satisfying, too.

For all that, second-billed Steve Brule and Dan Connor doing all the heavy lifting while Loki with a sock in it and a Fay Wray type — the ostensible stars, somehow — stand around looking blank and pretty between giant monkey outbursts doesn’t amount to much of a movie. At least I’ll never have to watch it again.

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