That Kong: Skull Island is able to incite excitement by showing so little in its new poster says legions about the cultural footprint of its central beast. Though just as big a cinematic icon as his reptilian nemesis Godzilla, King Kong hasn’t had quite as busy a big screen career. The embittered simian claimed only seven film credits between his illustrious 1933 debut and less revered 2005 reboot—a meager display in comparison to the conditionally sympathetic kaiju’s 31, including Gareth Edwards’ 2014 movie Godzilla and the new Japanese picture Godzilla Resurgence.
To add insult to injury, you may even claim that King Kong owes his forthcoming return to Hollywood, Kong: Skull Island, to the success of the aforementioned Edwards-directed film, which effectively launched what would eventuate as a crossover franchise a few films down the line. Following Kong: Skull Island—and yet another Godzilla flick—will be the “real” attraction, Godzilla vs. King Kong: a reboot of the similarly themed 1962 (though with billings swapped in the reptile’s favor) and what hopes to be the Avengers of this budding monster movie franchise. In short, perhaps the only reason anyone opted to make Kong: Skull Island in the first place.
But gazing into the mist-frosted eyes of King Kong in this new poster, shared by the film’s official Twitter account, I can’t help but feel more excited than I did even for that Godzilla reboot two years back. (A highly underrated movie, I might add.) As rich with political subtext as Godzilla may be, he (or she, depending on which string of the canon you’re following) never had quite the pathos that King Kong always bore.
This new venture, which will bring the pretty enchanting cast of Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, John C. Reilly, John Goodman, and Toby Kebbell to his dinosaur- and monster-laden home island is somehow already getting me choked up about the sort of horrors yet to befall beast and man alike therein. Call me a Golden Era nostalgic, a propagator of mammalian bias, or just a sucker for marketing. Whatever the reason, it’s just something about those eyes. They always do it to me.
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Images: Kong: Skull Island/Warner Bros