REVIEW: KONG: SKULL ISLAND

CAST

Tom Hiddleston (Thor)
Samuel L. Jackson (The Legend of Tarzan)
John Goodman (10 Cloverfield Lane)
Brie Larson (21 Jump Street)
Jing Tian (The Great Wall)
Toby Kebbell (Fantastic Four)
John Ortiz (Narc)
Corey Hawkins (24: Legacy)
Jason Mitchell (Contraband)
Shea Whigham (American Hustle)
Thomas Mann (Amityville: The Awakening)
John C. Reilly (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Richard Jenkins (The Cabin In The Woods)
Marc Evan Jackson (The Good Place)

In 1944, in the midst of World War II, two fighter pilots – an American soldier named Hank Marlow and a Japanese soldier named Gunpei Ikari – parachute onto an island in the South Pacific after a dogfight. They both engage in close combat, with Ikari gaining the upper hand, but the fight is interrupted by a behemoth ape known as Kong.In 1973, U.S. government agent Bill Randa hires former British Special Air Service Captain James Conrad, a skilled tracker, to guide an expedition to map out an island known as “Skull Island”. Their military escort is the Sky Devils, a Vietnam War helicopter squadron led by Lieutenant Colonel Preston Packard and his subordinates, Major Jack Chapman and Captain Earl Cole. The group is joined by pacifist and photojournalist Mason Weaver, who believes the expedition is a secret military operation. Upon arrival at Skull Island, Packard’s men begin dropping explosives developed by seismologist Houston Brooks to map out the island. However, the air unit is attacked by Kong, who destroys all the helicopters and kills a number of military personnel before scattering the survivors across the island.Packard regroups with some of the scattered survivors, including his door gunner Reles, pilot Glenn Mills, Cole, Landsat employee Steve Woodward, and Randa. After being confronted by Packard, Randa reveals his affiliation to the secret government organization Monarch, which was trying to prove the existence of monsters and determine their threat to humanity.The other survivors (Conrad, Weaver, Brooks, biologist San Lin, soldier Reg Slivko, and Landsat employee Victor Nieves) try to get to a rendezvous point to meet a resupply team arriving in three days’ time. They encounter the local Iwi natives and an older Marlow. He reveals that Kong is the island’s guardian, worshiped as a god by the natives for protecting the island’s inhabitants from many predators, including reptilian underground monsters dubbed “Skullcrawlers”. They have killed Kong’s ancestors, leaving him as the last of his kind. Ikari was killed by one of the Skullcrawlers.Packard’s group begins making their way to Chapman, whose helicopter crash-landed elsewhere. Along the way, they are attacked by a giant bamboo spider in the jungle before Packard kills it. Meanwhile, Chapman witnesses Kong wrestle and defeat a large squid, causing him to flee into the woods, where he encounters a giant stick insect. He is then ambushed and eaten by a Skullcrawler. Conrad’s group helps Marlow complete a boat built from parts scavenged from Marlow and Ikari’s downed planes. They ride the boat down the river, and manage to secure communication with Packard’s group, but the boat is attacked by pterosaur-like creatures which kill Nieves. They regroup with Packard, who insists on searching for Chapman, though his true objective is to find and kill Kong.Marlow leads the two groups to a mass grave littered with the bones of Kong’s kind. There, the same Skullcrawler that devoured Chapman attacks the group, killing Randa and many soldiers before dying in a flammable gas explosion triggered by Weaver. Learning about Chapman’s death, a vengeful Packard blames Kong for the deaths of his men and becomes determined to kill Kong. The two groups part ways, with Packard’s group laying a trap for Kong, while the non-military personnel head back to the boat. While scouting the path ahead, Conrad and Weaver encounter Kong up-close and resolve to save him.As Conrad and Weaver encounter Kong, Packard’s group triggers napalm explosions to lure him in. Kong charges to the lake, where they manage to incapacitate him with ignited gasoline, though Woodward is killed. Conrad’s group arrives and persuades the other soldiers to spare Kong, but Packard refuses to stand down. The alpha Skullcrawler, Ramarak, then emerges from the lake, and Packard is crushed to death by a recovering Kong. Ramarak overpowers Kong and chases the humans. Cole is killed in a failed suicide bomb attempt to kill it, but Kong returns to rescue the others and manages to kill Ramarak by ripping out its innards. He saves Weaver from drowning, as she had been knocked into the water during the fight, and allows the survivors to leave the island.During the credits, Marlow returns home, reunites with his wife, meets his son for the first time, and finally watches a Chicago Cubs game on television. In a post-credits scene, Conrad and Weaver are detained by Monarch and informed by Brooks and Lin that Kong is not the only monster to roam the world. As proof, they are shown archive footage of cave paintings depicting Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra, and King Ghidorah. The final cave painting shows Godzilla battling Ghidorah.brie_larson_kong_skull_island_4k-wideKong: Skull Island is the perfect monster movie. It’s an epic display of what a popcorn movie should be. Great visuals, soundtrack, and a pleasant plot that is not bogged down by the melodrama. It’s a giant monster movie.

 

REVIEW: THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE

CAST

Will Arnett (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Zach Galifanakis (The Hangover)
Michael Cera (Juno)
Rosario Dawson (Sin City)
Ralph Fiennes (Harry Potter)
Jenny Slate (The Lorax)
Hector Elizondo (The Princess Diaries)
Billy Dee Williams (BAtman)
Mariah Carey (Glitter)
Eddie Izzard (Hannibal)
Seth Green (Family Guy)
Jemaine Clement (Men In Black 3)
Ellie Kemper (21 Jump Street)
Jason Mantzoukas (Bad Neigbours)
Doug Benson (Super High Me)
Zoe Kravitz (Divergent)
Kate Micucci (The Big Bang Theory)
Riki Lindhome (Much Ado About Nothing)
Channing Tatum (Dear John)
Jonah Hill (Cyrus)
Laura Kightlinger (Lucky Louie)
Ralph Garman (Ted)
Chris Hardwick (Terminator 3)

Three years after saving the Lego Universe with Emmet and Wyldstyle, Batman continues fighting crime in Gotham City. During a mission to prevent The Joker from destroying the city, Batman hurts his arch-rival’s feelings by telling him he is not as important in his life as he thinks he is, leading to the Joker to desire seeking the ultimate revenge on him.
The following day, Batman attends the city’s winter gala as his alter ego, Bruce Wayne, to celebrate the retirement of Commissioner Gordon and the ascension of his daughter Barbara as Gotham’s new police commissioner, but is infuriated when she announces her plans to restructure the city’s police to function without the need of Batman. The Joker crashes the party with the rest of Gotham City’s villains, but has all of them surrender to the police. Despite realizing that this makes him no longer relevant to the city’s safety, Batman suspects his arch-rival is up to something and decides to stop him by banishing him into the Phantom Zone, a prison for some of the most dangerous villains in the Lego Universe.
Before he can make plans to acquire the Phantom Zone Projector that Superman uses, Alfred intervenes and advises him to take charge of Dick Grayson, whom Bruce had unwittingly adopted as his ward during the gala to which he eventually agrees and fosters Dick as Robin. The pair manage to recover the Projector from the Fortress of Solitude, before breaking into Arkham Asylum and using it on the Joker. Annoyed at his reckless actions and suspecting that the Joker wanted this to happen, Barbara locks up Batman and Robin. While the Projector is being seized as evidence, Harley Quinn steals it back and uses it to free the Joker, who unleashes the villains trapped within the Phantom Zone to cause havoc upon Gotham, including Lord Voldemort, King Kong, Sauron, the Wicked Witch of the West, Medusa, Agent Smith and his clones, the Daleks, and the Kraken.
Realizing that the city does still need him, Barbara releases Batman and Robin and reluctantly teams up with them as “Batgirl” to stop the Joker, with the team joined by Alfred. Batman soon finds himself able to trust and rely on the others, allowing them to defeat Sauron, but upon reaching Wayne Island, he ditches the team out of fear of losing them like his parents, before confronting Joker alone. Upon seeing that the Batman will never change, Joker zaps him to the Phantom Zone, before stealing the Batcave’s stash of confiscated bombs and heading for the city’s Energy Facility. Arriving in the Phantom Zone, Batman witnesses the harm he has caused to everyone because of his selfishness and slowly accepts his greatest fear when Robin, Barbara and Alfred decide to come to his aid. Making a deal with the Phantom Zone’s gatekeeper, Phyllis, to bring back all the villains in exchange for returning to Gotham City, Batman arrives to save the trio and admits to them his mistakes, requesting their help to save the day.
Seeking to stop Joker from setting off the bombs beneath the Energy Facility, thus causing the plates beneath Gotham to come apart and send the city into the infinite abyss, Batman and his allies team up with the city’s regular list of villains, after they had felt neglected by Joker, with the group successfully sending back the escaped villains to the Phantom Zone. However, Batman fails to reach the bombs in time, the detonation causing the city to split apart. Realizing how to stop the city from being destroyed, Batman reluctantly convinces Joker that he is the reason for being the hero he is, and working together alongside Batman’s friends, the villains, and the city’s inhabitants, chain link themselves together, reconnecting the city’s plates and saving Gotham City.
With the city saved, Batman prepares to be taken back into the Phantom Zone to fulfill his bargain with Phyllis, only to be rejected by the gatekeeper who chooses to let him remain after she saw how much he had changed in order to save everyone. Batman allows the Joker and the rest of his rogues gallery to escape with the confidence that whenever they return, then they’ll be no match for the combined team of himself, Robin, Batgirl, and Alfred.Overall, this is a very enjoyable movie with a gripping story, fantastic animation that tops its predecessor and clever humor. I definitely recommend giving this a watch if you’re a fan of The Lego Movie.