Godzilla vs. Kong
Godzilla vs. Kong is the very definition of a crowd-pleaser, shot with epic size and destruction that delivers on the monster mayhem by the truckload. Director Adam Wingard makes for a worthy MonsterVerse entry, despite the film's plot making zero sense and the human elements being essentially non-existent.
WB continues to advance their MonsterVerse, with 2014’s Godzilla, followed by Kong: Skull Island and Godzilla: King of the Monsters, which has led the two Titans to clash in the latest entry, Godzilla vs. Kong. GvS lands on the big screen with a day-and-date release on the streaming service HBO Max, which means you can pick your environment to watch these beasts go toe-to-toe in epic fashion.
Godzilla vs. Kong takes place in modern day, with a sudden spike in Godzilla destruction in populated areas, which alerts some scientists and Monarch higher-ups as up until this point, Godzilla has been labeled a friendly.
This sparks the interest of bringing Kong into the mix, in hopes of keeping Godzilla at bay and also advancing the discovery of the hollow Earth theory, which is somehow connected to the Titans and their reign on Earth.
None of the plot really makes a whole lot of sense, but Rebecca Hall, Alexander Skarsgard, Millie Bobby Brown, Brian Tyree Henry and Julian Dennison are thrown into a battle between giants and evil corporations, with Kyle Chandler essentially making a cameo appearance.
Director Michael Dougherty went all-in on the monster action in Godzilla: King of the Monsters, which is essentially an action-lovers delight, focusing on the big battles and the fantastic visuals and sort of cropping out any character development or human touch. King of the Monsters has its flaws (as do pretty much all of these films, minus Kong: Skull Island), but it mostly works for fans looking for destruction, explosions and action.
With Godzilla vs. Kong, director Adam Wingard doubles down on the thought that people are paying to see these Titans clash and not the humans of the story advance any sort of plot, which leaves the human element feeling a tad weak and sort of non-sensical. Wingard instead chooses to focus on the battles between Godzilla and Kong, which are well-shot and boasting color and creative camera movements to keep you at the edge of your seat.
There is a clear 80s influence on display, with Wingard mostly alternating between neon pink, orange, green, red and blue and I’m not going to fault the man as it makes for a visceral experience that’s a complete 180 from the darkness presented in Godzilla.
Tom “Junkie XL” Holkenberg creates a bombastic score that’s full of synth and punchy moments that mostly pairs well with the visuals on-screen. I wouldn’t say he’s reinvented the wheel with this mix, but it’s a fun listen that feels light and appropriate.
The soundtrack choices feel a bit forced and off at times but sort of represent the film’s intentions with obvious tracks — this is meant to be a fun movie that’s both loud and dumb, pleasing those that have made it this far in Legendary’s MonsterVerse.
If you disliked any of the previous entries, then I would steer clear of this one as it doesn’t improve on any of the negatives, outside of the lighting from the first Godzilla.
Kong: Skull Island still reigns supreme as the ultimate MonsterVerse movie, balancing out the comedic tones with the paranoia of the Vietnam war, not to mention the film is spectacularly shot, with each frame looking like a still shot that could be mounted on the wall. The VFX of Kong: Skull Island are also primarily in the daylight, yet they look just as convincing today as they did on opening night.
Godzilla vs. Kong brings the two fan-favorites to battle in a respectable fashion, highlighting both characters’ strengths and weaknesses, while also kind of taking the side of Kong as we slowly start to learn what switched Godzilla into this destructive monster. The story is pretty bad and I’m not even going to comment on any of the performances, because there’s not a single highlight of the bunch.
I’d urge those that are comfortable with seeing this one on the big screen to go out and give it a go. I will be re-watching it soon at home on HBO Max and even though I have an awesome setup, I just can’t imagine having the same experience as I did in theaters, on a massive screen and with Dolby ATMOS pumping in from all angles of the theater.
Godzilla vs. Kong is hopefully the kickoff to the summer movie season that we’ve been desperately waiting for!