For whatever reason, a cursory glance at the internet makes it clear that Brie Larson isn’t the most universally popular actress in the business. YouTube even changed its algorithm to combat the trolls who were downvoting Captain Marvel into oblivion as part of a sustained campaign against the Marvel Cinematic Universe blockbuster, which didn’t accomplish a thing in the long run when Carol Danvers’ origin story rocketed to over $1.1 billion at the box office.
The online perception of Larson is often directly at odds with her standing in the industry at large, where she’s regarded as one of the most accomplished talents of her generation. Having delivered a string of acclaimed performances, won an Academy Award, directed her first feature film and headlined a billion-dollar blockbuster all before she turned 30, she’s clearly doing more than a few things right.
Before boarding the MCU, Larson dipped her toes into the waters of big budget studio fare with the MonsterVerse’s Kong: Skull Island, which saw her supported by a stacked ensemble that also featured Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, John C. Reilly and many others. A thinly-veiled Vietnam parable that just so happened to revolve around a gigantic ape, Jordan Vogt-Roberts’ prequel was an entertaining blast of effects-driven escapism.
As well as offering a companion piece to Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla that was completely different in terms of style, tone and aesthetic, a box office haul of $566 million established the MonsterVerse as a viable and lucrative shared mythology. Kong: Skull Island scored strong reviews from audiences and critics at the time, while it’s now rebounding on HBO Max to sit comfortably among the platform’s ten most-watched titles.