There’s nothing like a good ol’ fashion crossover of two characters from unique properties duke it out for the sake of blowing our minds. In the past, the premise of two horror icons wasn’t enough (Freddy vs. Jason), and two of the greatest superheroes proved to be underwhelming (Batman v. Superman). But this has got to be the most anticipated clash of the biggest movie monsters to where everything has come together to bring Godzilla vs. Kong hugely.
What’s the Story: Kong and his protectors undertake a perilous journey to find his true home. Along for the ride is Jia, an orphaned girl who has a unique and powerful bond with the mighty beast. However, they soon find themselves in the path of an enraged Godzilla as he cuts a swath of destruction across the globe. The initial confrontation between the two titans — instigated by unseen forces — is only the beginning of the mystery that lies deep within the core of the planet.
As someone who was waiting for this to come out for a long time had me very worried as time went along when discussing Warner Bros./ Legendary Pictures’ MonsterVerse, because while it has its fans, I was never big on Godzilla (2014), Kong: Skull Island (2017), and Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) since they all deliver on the action, but not much else besides that. From watching the trailer, maybe director Adam Wingard (You’re Next, The Guest) wants this latest installment to let us turn our brains off and be captivated by the epic spectacle of it all. The movie is called Godzilla vs. Kong, and that’s really all every person came to see. Even though the experience would’ve enhanced more when viewing this in IMAX, I still decided to watch it on HBO Max, just for my sake. Can I stake my claim in saying this was the greatest thing of all of cinema? Of course not. However, this was what I wanted all along, thankfully.
All I had to hear in the news was there was going to be a new movie featuring both Godzilla and King is everything I need to know and want, and the title says it all. How about we start it off with the primary reason to watch this? This wasn’t the first time, as there was King Kong vs. Godzilla in 1962 from Toho Studios with people in suits to make their fights look convincing or cheesy. This was the lead-up to everything and there’s nothing else to say, but it makes you feel like a kid again. My goodness, every sequence with them together is what you come to expect with one iconic titan fighting against another iconic titan.I reacted at certain moments where I would’ve done the same if I was in the theater. You don’t just get one sequence, but more that brought the over-the-top spectacle you’ve been waiting for.
And they don’t tease them too long in hiding them too early; they show them front and center, destroying everything in slight and taking on each other in the action set pieces they’re in. It was almost like Wingard and screenwriters Eric Pearson (Black Widow) and Max Borenstein (Godzilla) already knew what they had to bring to the table with this round and did their best to put that maximum effort. The story isn’t worth caring about as a whole since we know it’s going to be predictable. Whether you’re rooting for one or the other, they were incredible this time around, especially with the gorgeous visual effects that are a mass improvement from the previous movies. I will say there’s more screen time with Kong than Godzilla, and while that doesn’t indicate a winner, it still wasn’t much of a problem. Just the destruction alone in the third act makes Man of Steel look like child’s play compared to what we got here.
But what’s the one common criticism every movie in the MonsterVerse always has? The human characters, which is crosses over here and they still don’t offer a ton to care about besides pushing the plot forward. But thankfully, this doesn’t go over two hours long. Everyone knows by now they shouldn’t be the focus of the entire movie since they aren’t in the title. Granted, they are better here in terms of who was in the cast (Alexander Skarsgård as Nathan Lind, Rebecca Hall as Dr, Ilene Andrews) but it still takes away from the action whenever it has them talking through weak dialogue or mostly unfunny moments. That was part of the first act when I was worried it was starting to be more of the same. Everybody is new to this cinematic universe, except for Millie Bobby Brown and Kyle Chandler reprising their roles from King of the Monsters. I can see people finding Brian Tyree Henry to be their favorite character in this who plays Bernie Hayes, a conspiracy theorist podcaster who thinks knows the truth about what goes on and it happens to be all true when tagging along on this side quest with Brown and Julian Dennison, which I didn’t care about too often. There was one character who I believe was a pleasant addition was Kaylee Hottle as Jia, Hall’s adopted deaf daughter who’s the only one who can communicate with Kong, and their scenes together were honestly nice and came as a surprise.
As I was about to press play to watch this, one of my jobs while watching was to not view this as a straight-up masterpiece and just put this in the perspective of someone whose sole purpose is to see a giant lizard and a giant ape punching each other for an entire runtime. For someone who hasn’t that invested with the other movies, this got the job done. Those who’ve been fans of the classic movies from before will have a major blast and will not ruin their fun. I mean, it’s more of a “you” problem if you can’t enjoy fun.
Final Thoughts: Godzilla vs. Kong is without a doubt ridiculous, but it’s definitely the most entertaining entry in the MonsterVerse. What lacks interesting human characters makes up for the incredible action between its two titans battling out and the beautiful visuals accompanying it. This won’t be a winner for those who haven’t been on board with this franchise since the start, but this will be the kind of mega-blockbuster to have the most fun with that we’ve been missing over the past year. Grade: B-