Godzilla vs Kong manages to deliver in terms of the action and set-pieces, as long as you don’t take the human aspect too seriously.
Godzilla and King Kong are considered two of the most iconic movie monsters in film history. Even if you have not seen any Godzilla or King Kong movie, you probably have heard of these monsters or seen them in other pop culture media. Their last fight was in the early 60s and ever since the start of the modern MonsterVerse with 2014’s Godzilla, the succeeding movies in the series have been building up to the inevitable showdown of two of cinema’s iconic monsters. Godzilla vs Kong, for the most part, succeeds at what it does best, mind-blowing action that is best seen on the biggest screen possible. Yet it also has the same problem that has plagued the other MonsterVerse movies, the human characters feel one-note and are not that fleshed out.
An Underwhelming Story From Two Angles
The filmmakers manage to give a credible excuse as to why these two would fight one another. This is because Godzilla vs Kong splits itself into two different narratives, one concerning King Kong, and the other concerning Godzilla. Though both aren’t particularly exciting.
For King Kong, the main players are Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgård) Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall), and her adopted daughter Jia (Kaylee Hottle). The two scientists are not particularly memorable as they mainly serve to give backstory and exposition to what is happening. The least interesting character is Skarsgård’s Lind since he is a new character for the movie, and the audience is given little to no motivation to care for him. Hottle’s Jia stands out out the most though as her character manages to humanize Kong’s character. She is the only one in the movie who can communicate effectively with Kong and they form a bond with one another which brings out “humanity” in Kong. King Kong has a pretty active narrative arch here since he does quite a bit in this movie and even grows as a character—figuratively and literally.
Madison Russell (Millie Bobby Brown), former Apex employee Bernie Hayes (Brian Tyree Henry), and Madison’s friend, Josh Valentine (Julian Dennison) follow Godzilla’s story. The three of them are trying to find out why Godzilla is acting the way he is in the movie and for the most part, they are the more enjoyable team to follow. This is largely in part Brian Tyree Henry’s fun performance as the off-beat conspiracy theorist Hayes. He is quite a dynamic character that delivers a few laughs and serves as a counterweight to the more stoic characters.
But the story is not why people watch these movies, it’s the monster fighting, and Godzilla vs Kong delivers that in spades.
At just under two hours longs, it does not take long for Kong and Godzilla to duke it out and their first fight is impressive. The two of them are not pushovers, but the fight scene greatly demonstrates Godzilla’s destructive powers. Each punch and kick hit with force as if you could feel the impact. Their second fight is even more impressive thanks to a change of setting and a few upgrades. The smash and mash of their fights make for some exhilarating action scenes that will make you want more. They are also not just randomly fighting each other. Their fights have an organized chaos to them. The fight scenes tell a story thanks to well-choreographed action.
Excellent CGI and VFX aid their fights as it makes the set pieces feel real and stand out. You can see the individual strands of hair on Kong’s body while you can notice the scales all over Godzilla’s body. Godzilla using his atomic breath in the middle of the night is a sight to behold while Kong’s facial features and movement look believable and convincing. Add to that an exhilarating score from composer Tom Holkenborg (more commonly known as Junkie XL), Godzilla vs Kong offers some of the best battles in the MonsterVerse franchise.
When the filmmakers of Godzilla vs Kong sat down to plan this movie, they knew exactly what the audience wanted and gave it. This is not a think-piece movie that you will think about long after the credits roll. This movie is a textbook example of a big-budget blockbuster and there is nothing wrong with that. The human characters are not that interesting, but the film makes up for that with some excellent fight scenes between the two monsters and the rush that they give. Godzilla vs Kong is the first movie of 2021 that offers fun escapism to be enjoyed with a side of popcorn and soda. Sit back and enjoy the monster-fighting action.
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