Godzilla vs. Kong delivers exactly what you’d hope from this clash of the monster titans.
This is a ridiculously fun movie that’s worth seeing on the big screen — or at least your largest home screen possible.
There’s not an overblown plot here. Kong is outgrowing his monitoring station, but putting him back in the wild would basically be like throwing down a challenge to Godzilla. Only one can be the dominant titan.
Scientists Nathan (Alexander Skarsgård, Long Shot) and Ilene (Rebecca Hall, Iron Man 3) think they’ve got a decent workaround for this battle. If they can get to the Earth’s core and find the mythical Hollow Earth there might be a sanctuary for Kong without inviting a massively destructive battle with Godzilla. Ilene’s young charge, Jia (Kaylee Hottle), has a unique bond and might be the only one to get him to cooperate with their plans.
Like Michael Bay’s Transformers films there’s a delicate balance of showcasing the headliners and the human undercard that drives the plot.
Clearly it’s not feasible to have Godzilla battling Kong for nearly two hours (or is it?) but it thankfully doesn’t take too long for the action to start.
Director Adam Wingard (You’re Next) knows how to stage epic fight scenes and the hard-hitting, building destroying no-holds barred action exceeded my expectations. There’s a generous amount of slo-mo at play during the battles, but given the screen dominating presence of Godzilla and Kong it’s helpful to be able to process what’s happening.
Wingard knows no one is watching this for extended human scenes and works in enough action that they’re not stealing the show even including some other rivals so we get bored with the Godzilla vs. Kong fights. Not possible.
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For the most part, the human scenes aren’t bad. The Skarsgard, Hall and Hottle sequences have some warmth, heart and humor to them and where screenwriters Eric Pearson (Thor: Ragnarok) and series screenwriter Max Borenstein find their biggest success. The script is mostly solid beyond those weird moments where the scientists are advising soldiers on the best fighting strategies.
I wasn’t a huge fan of the subplot with conspiracy podcaster Bernie (Brian Tyree Henry) partnering with teenagers Madison (Millie Bobbie Brown, Stranger Things) and Josh (Julian Dennison, Deadpool 2).
It wasn’t a great look for the two minority guys — including the adult — to yell and scream as the comic relief while Brown gets to be the fearless and brave character. The film does have an appreciated diverse cast though proving it’s actually really easy to have a blockbuster film more representing of modern society.
Ben Serensin’s (World War Z) cinematography is amazing. There’s so many well constructed and beautifully rendered shots of Godzilla and Kong in appropriately iconic poses.
To further sweeten the visual, Serensin utilizes an abundance of neon outlined building to make the final Godzilla vs. Kong conflict have a video game aesthetic.
Give Warner Bros. credit for sticking with its plan to create a monster movie universe. While Godzilla and Kong: Skull Island had their moments, this is an unexpectedly satisfying culmination of those films.
It’s been a very long year without a true, check your brains at the door blockbuster film. However you choose to watch it, Godzilla vs. Kong comes through big time with what’s promised and then some.
Rating: 9 out of 10
Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures