Impressive monster movie, set in 1973, in which an ensemble of scientists and soldiers — the civilians led by a fringe researcher (John Goodman), the troops by a hard-bitten colonel (Samuel L. Jackson) — travel to a previously uncharted island where they encounter an updated version of King Kong. As a World War II-era Air Force officer (John C. Reilly) who bailed out over the isle and has been stranded there ever since eventually explains to them, however, while the outsized ape may be the monarch of this hidden realm, he is far from the most lethal threat its new visitors will have to face there. Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts’ action adventure, which also features Tom Hiddleston as the group’s guide and Brie Larson as a Vietnam War photographer who has decided this is her next big story, references everything from a range of science fiction movies to Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 film “Apocalypse Now” and its partial source material, novelist Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness.” Amid an exploration of the destructive human aggressiveness that gives rise to armed conflict, the multiple dangers the cast confront lead to some unsettling mayhem and a few grisly deaths, marking this as a journey strictly for grownups.
Watch out for: Stylized but grim combat and other violence with little gore, a few gruesome images, a couple of uses of profanity, at least one rough term and occasional crude and crass language.
Rated: A-III, adults; MPAA: PG-13