Review: The Genre Mash of Godzilla vs. Kong Finally Delivers on the American Godzilla Franchise
4 out of 5 Giant Axes.
If you are familiar with me at all, you know that I love Godzilla and King Kong, so this film has been on my list for a long time. The last two installments of the American Godzilla franchise have been disappointing, but I was hoping that finally, with Godzilla vs. Kong, I would get what I wanted. And I did, but only because it is more a King Kong movie than a Godzilla/Kong movie.
After the events of King of Monsters, my beloved Kong has been put in an enclosure that will keep him safe from Godzilla because there can’t be two alpha titans running around. I get it; I’ve read fanfiction. However, when Godzilla attacks Apex Industries seemingly unprovoked, it leads to its founder and CEO, Walter Simmons (Demián Bichir), tapping Dr. Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgård) to use Kong to discover Hollow Earth.
That is the first thing you have to accept about Godzilla vs. Kong: the plot is a pick-n-mix of Lost World adventure/science-fiction/fantasy, which didn’t bother me because this is a CGI monster movie and I came here for fighting, not logic. So how were the fight scenes?
Awesome! We get a few of them, and both highlight the “fighting styles” of our monsters. Kong, having thumbs and a long reach, is absolutely more dexterous and capable of thinking on his feet. Godzilla is just a force of nature and heals so quickly that even though he has little arms, he makes them work. Plus, on water, there is no competition. Each fight feels well thought out about the pros and cons of each warrior. There is a winner decided at the end, BUT the movie also allows both to show off, so no matter who’s your favorite there is something good there.
Usually in films like this, the human element is always dull to me, but in a change of pace, the human characters are just enough. Millie Bobby Brown returns as Madison Russell, who teams up with Brian Tyree Henry’s Bernie Hayes, a former Apex technician turned conspiracy theorist podcaster, and Julian Dennison’s Josh Valentine, a friend of Madison who gets dragged along for the ride.
On Team Kong, we have Dr. Lind, Dr. Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall), a Monarch researching in charge of Kong along with her adoptive daughter Jia (Kaylee Hottle). Nothing is overly complicated or sappy, the humans just speak their nonsense science and keep the pace moving along. It’s also nice to see that the U.S. military is not as front-and-center as it was in the last two films.
Godzilla vs. Kong is simple fun, with some great CGI and special effects. Because it is more a Kong movie than a Godzilla movie and we have just overall nailed getting a primate CGI character to emote, he is a great lead for the film since he can show emotions in a way Godzilla can’t.
We also get the big bad everyone wanted, so if you are, like me, a big nerd for this genre, I believe you will be pleased. Yes, the science is nonsense, but so was the science in Interstellar. At least this silly science movie is less than two hours long and isn’t trying to convince you that what is going on is deeper than it is.
(image: Warner Bros.)
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