Movie Review: GODZILLA VS. KONG Starring Alexander Skarsgård, Millie Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall
Man, I’ve missed going to movies.
I mean, sure, I still watched my fair share of movies at home during isolation, but to me there’s nothing like being there in a theater, having taken out a mortgage to get concessions, and sitting down surrounded by speakers so loud at times you question whether you still have control of your faculties.
Now that things are opening back up, including theaters, I wanted my first trip back to be something big. Something that makes sense to see on a massive screen. Having enjoyed Kong: Skull Island as well as the first two Godzilla films in the rebooted series, seeing Godzilla vs. Kong as my first movie back made only sense.
Set a few years after the events of Godzilla: King of the Monsters, GvK has a plot, but it’s basically a reason to have the two throw hands. After years of peace, Godzilla randomly shows up and begins attacking an Apex Cybernetics facility, killing several people. As Godzilla has been viewed as an ally to humanity, Madison Russell (Millie Bobbie Brown), the protagonist of King, enlists the help of Bernie (Bryan Tyree Henry), an Apex employee and TItan conspiracy theorist, and her friend Josh (Julian Dennison).
On the other side of the planet, Kong is still on Skull Island, but trapped in a massive dome, allegedly to keep him shielded from Godzilla. When it becomes obvious that he’s outgrown the dome, though, a plan is enacted to transport Kong to Antarctica so he can find his way to Hollow Earth, accompanied by Dr. Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgård), Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall), and her adopted daughter, Jia (Kaylee Hottle in her film debut), a deaf child who seems to have a connection to Kong.
All of that, though, is just window dressing for Godzilla and Kong to engage in fisticuffs. And when they finally do, the result is spectacular. Throw expectations of realism out the window; you’re here two see two big-ass monsters engage in a kerfuffle, and the wait will be rewarded. Some films that involve monstrous fights tend to feel like two big humans unaffected by gravity and mass just wrestling with each other, but when Kong and Godzilla square off, you can practically feel the force behind each hit. Given their sheer size, the kinetic energy behind each hit would be massive, and it actually feels like it.
This isn’t a drama that’s expected to compete for a ton of awards come award season, and it’s very clear that the human “stars” take a backseat to the CGI main event. The human performances are hit-or-miss. Henry and Dennison’s characters I found to be more annoying than entertaining, and I was relieved when they weren’t on screen. Hottle, on the other hand, nails her big screen debut. Kaylee and her family are all deaf, so it wasn’t a stretch for her to play a character as such. Since she can’t speak, she had to find more subtle ways to portray her character’s emotions, and she did a terrific job, especially for such a young actress. Hopefully this is the start of a terrific career for her.
The visuals and CGI are excellent as well, and the cinematography lays out some tremendous shots. I’m trying not to write a whole lot about the plot, which would open itself up to quite a few spoilers. I’ll leave that up to my colleagues at Reel Spoilers. The film clocks in at just under two hours, and it went by quickly. One of my friends suggested it could have gone longer, but I’m not sure that I agree; I think they were able to provide the Titans with ample screen time, and there didn’t feel a need for extra screentime for the people.
If there is one thing I wish they’d elaborated on, it’d be what happened to the other Titans after King of the Monsters. Minor spoiler alert, at the end of that film, the other Titans are seen bowing to Godzilla, acknowledging their leader. The opening credits of GvK, however, feature a bracket-style progression (appropriate given the release during the NCAA tournament, I guess) in which only Kong and Godzilla are left. But the film doesn’t really shed much light as to what happened.
Overall, though, if you’re looking to watch two building-sized monsters try to rip each other’s heads off, odds are you’ll enjoy Godzilla vs. Kong. Don’t worry about trying to deconstruct the film to analyze all its intricacies and just have fun.
Godzilla vs. Kong gets a B-