Watching Kong for a second time reaffirmed my initial reactions: It’s an excellent but imperfect movie with an unfortunate tendency toward repetition (as Lily put it, “He’s big, she’s scared, we get it”) and overemphasis. We really, really didn’t need the old-guy vaudevillean to spell out Ann’s history of hard knocks — that’s covered when she looks Carl in the eyes and says, “Nothing good ever lasts, Mr. Denham.” And the scene where Jimmy learns of their destination while eavesdropping on Jack and Carl seemed every bit as overdone as it did last time; I’m sorry, but it’s almost impossible to make typing menacing, and if there is a way I doubt it invoves the SHAKY CLOSE-UP AND TRIPPY ECHO OF DOOOOOOOMMMMMMM!!! That works for feral, quite possibly cannibalistic islanders, yes, but typing? Not so much.
On the plus side, the movie’s many virtues are still there: the clever dialogue (especially the hommages to the black and white version); uniformly excellent casting; jaw-dropping design (I still can’t decide if I’m more impressed by Skull Island or 1930s Manhattan); and above all the intelligence of the script, which takes a — let’s face it — absurd premise (twenty-five-foot gorilla runs amuck in midtown!) and makes it not only believeable, but moving.