Kong: Skull Island
An unabashedly popcorn movie that was high on both entertainment and ridiculous jocularity. Decent acting, great scenery-chewing, exciting CGI action and a story line that was believable as long as you can check your sensibility and all reality at the door. More Kong here than in the travesty that was Godzilla and at least Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) were more believable than Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen).
Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts was quick to get into the premise and action, which was really what the target audience really wants in this show. Although the prologue had so much more potential than the actual narrative itself. The plot moves steadily along and the eventual survivors are broadly characterised and introduced, although it did make for good fun to guess who is going to die next (good job on making some deaths emotionally resonant).
Casting was a double-edged sword in this case. We have a great cast here of big-name, marquee actors and they all served their roles well, but the script and the story did them no service - except for Jackson.
Jackson has got the crazy-eyed psycho guy role down pat and he chewed his scenes for all its worth. And even though it was at times so over the top, it worked here because this was the sort of film for it.
Larson on the other hand should really not have chosen this film post-Room. She was almost as un-feminist as Bryce Dallas Howards was in Jurassic World. And although there were two women in the cast, neither of them barely spoke to each other. An absolute Bechdel Test fail.
Speaking of which, I understand the need to a) pander to the Chinese market and b) especially since one of the financiers is a Chinese film, but the character and casting of actress Tian Jing was superficial at least and redundant/extraneous at worst. And see above.
Then we have Hiddleston. If this was another of his audition reel for James Bond, then I would suggest that he submits The Night Manager instead. This role was a cake walk for him and we know he is capable of so much more. Nothing in the script/directing allowed him to convince the audience of his character. And he and Larson lacked chemistry, even the non-sexual kind.
Luckily we had John C. Reily and John Goodman.
Stay till after the end-credits for a stinger introducing the next entry in Legendary's Monster-verse.