Godzilla vs Kong

Warner Brothers Pictures

Written by Terry Rossio, Michael Dougherty and Zach Shields

Directed by Adam Wingard

Starring Alexander Skarsgard, Millie Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry, Shun Oguri, Eiza Gonzales, Julian Dennison, Lance Reddick, Kyle Chandler and Demian Bichir

Rated PG-13

The epic next chapter in the cinematic Monsterverse pits two of the greatest icons in motion picture history against one another – the fearsome Godzilla and the mighty Kong – with humanity caught in the balance.

First and foremost, I have loved giant monster movies since I was a kid. I have watched every iteration of Godzilla and Kong and have been looking forward to this confrontation since the latest Godzilla remake in 2014. The 2014 film introduced some interesting ideas and concepts about Godzilla’s presence on the planet and what it meant for the humans in its path. Kong: Skull Island took some of those concepts further with the giant ape’s connection to the island itself. Godzilla vs Kong abandons all those concepts and boils itself down to the simple concept of giant lizard versus giant ape.

What’s interesting about this is that, at the end of the day, that is exactly what you wanted from this movie and it delivered in spades.

I know this may sound insulting and it’s not meant to be, but Godzilla vs Kong doesn’t want concepts or character development or even coherence. It wants to move the story from one monster fight to the next until it gets you excited for the final monster fight and its resolution. The human characters are merely exposition machines churning out plot points that don’t really matter, one-liners that are meant to show how awesome the monsters are and surface motivations designed to move the story along to the next fight. All of the characters are interchangeable and, after watching the movie three times so far, I cannot remember any of them actually doing anything significant until the end of the film.

The plot (yes it does have one) is relatively simple and frankly a little overblown for what we’re here to actually see. Evil corporation and its evil CEO Walter Simmons (Demian Bichir) recruits moody scientist Nathan Lind (Skargard) to travel to the newly discovered hollow Earth to find a power source that will help humanity stand up to Godzilla after he attack the evil corporations research facility. In order to get to the hollow Earth, they need the help of a Titan. Since they can’t get help from Godzilla, they turn to Kong who is being held in a Monarch facility and watched over by Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall) and a little girl who is the only survivor of Skull Island.

The conflict occurs when they try to move Kong and his presence alerts Godzilla who immediately come after him. Also, Maddison Russell (Millie Bobby Brown) and her dad Mark (Kyle Chandler) from the last Godzilla movie are there. Unfortunately, that’s about it. They are there. They contribute nothing to either the plot, its events or resolution. They serve as continuity and nothing else.

As far as the confrontations between Kong and Godzilla, they are visually epic. The special effects are amazing and the rampant, unrelenting destruction is exactly what I was looking for in this film. Both characters lay waste to everything around them, get to fight other giant monsters and generally let us see a much better version of the video game Rampage than the Dwayne Johnson version.

Godzilla vs Kong works best when it embraces what it is and what is wants to accomplish. The moments where it tries to step outside of that are tiresome, but they don’t overtly take away from the fun of the experience. Godzilla vs Kong is a fun giant monster summer popcorn movie that is definitely enjoyable.

Godzilla vs Kong

7.9

7.9/10

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