‘Godzilla Vs. Kong’ Review : An Epic Monster Smackdown

Godzilla vs. Kong, the highly anticipated monster titan battle, directed by Adam Wingard, is the fourth film in the Monsterverse franchise. The previous installments were: Godzilla (2014), a reboot of the Godzilla franchise; which was followed by Kong: Skull Island (2017), a reboot of the King Kong franchise; and Godzilla: King of Monsters (2019). 

Image via Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures.

A few years after Godzilla saved humanity, he returns from his slumber not as a friend to humanity but to attack cities, specifically a facility owned by Apex Cybernetics and causes massive damage.  Meanwhile, Kong is being kept in a ‘Kong Containment Zone’ in Skull Island to keep him from going head-to-head with Godzilla because according to them, there can only be one alpha titan. The recent mayhem caused by Godzilla, makes Dr. Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgard) team up with Dr. Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall) and her adopted deaf daughter, Jia (Kaylee Hottle), to make use of Kong to defend earth against the gigantic reptile. 

Alexander Hall and Rebecca Hall
Image via Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures
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While this is the case, Dr. Nathan also believes in the ‘Hollow Earth Theory’– something about titans being the original inhabitants of the center of the earth. Kong is used as a guide to find Hollow Earth which is presumed to be his former home. The Hollow Earth theory content is surrounded with a lot of scientific jargons that almost bore me out because several detours involving the theory stalled the inevitable monster clash. Amongst the other roles, of course, there are usually some greedy humans with ulterior motives in movies with themes like this. Walter Simmons (Demián Bichir) and Ren Serizawa (Shun Oguri) make up this aspect. Apex Cybernetics employee, Bernie Hayes (Brian Tyree Henry) teams up with Monarch’s scientist daughter, Madisson Russell (Millie Bobby Brown) and Josh Valentine (Julian Dennison), to investigate the reason behind Godzilla’s aggression against mankind.

Left to right| Millie Bobby Brown, Julian Dennison and Brian Tyree Henry.
Image via Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures

For a monster clash, one would expect a lengthy movie to vividly capture the origin of the ancient rivalry between the two monsters. Unfortunately, the ancient rivalry between Kong and Godzilla is not really explained but trust me, this doesn’t stop the movie from being entertaining  nor does it fail to fulfill viewers’ expectations. I guess the idea of the two monsters being ‘ancient rivals’ will be understood by stern Godzilla and Kong fans but younger fans might find it strange since the movie does not really give a detailed explanation of their rivalry. The idea is just hinged on an ancient titan war that happened eons ago and the two monsters are fighting for dominance. The Monsterverse proves that so much can be done in little time (113mins) which is shy of the two-hour mark. The movie ended just as fast as it started and I enjoyed every bit of it. 

Even though the movie boasts an impressive cast, none of their characters has room for development. They are merely complement to the massive showdown between Godzilla and Kong. This might be one of the negative parts of monster movies, how filmmakers struggle with what to do with the human characters. There is an exception, which is the 2005 King Kong movie, directed by Peter Jackson, because the human characters were part of the plot’s build-up and climax for the movie’s actualization. The focus placed on Kong and Godzilla is so high that  the antagonist, Walter Simmons, hardly gets enough time to shine. As a result of this, the villain’s ulterior motives and backstory are not fully utilized nor explained properly. The only motive tossed at viewers is the fact that he plans to reduce the number of alpha titans on earth to one. I can hardly remember the names of the characters at the end of Godzilla vs. Kong except Jia, who is the only source of emotional connection to one of the monsters. Anyway, the title of the movie is Godzilla vs. Kong, not ‘Man vs. Monster Titans’ or ‘Man vs. Godzilla’ and whatnot. They are the stars of the movie, not humans. 

There can only be one alpha titan!
Image via Warner Bros. Picture

The less involvement and development of human characters in Godzilla vs. Kong is a positive for the movie. I did not invest 1hr 55mins of my time to see people obstructing the chaos that Godzilla and Kong are bound to unleash. Let’s face it, too much human involvement in a movie like this will most likely be a bore, except it is humans against the man-eating dinosaurs in a movie like Jurassic Park. If you are planning to see the movie cos of hot Alexander Skarsgard or simp over Stranger Things actress, Millie Brown, you’ll surely be disappointed. So, brace yourself to pick a side and simp over one of these monsters– I am team Kong by the way. 

Most fight scenes in blockbuster movies are usually obscured under pitch black scenes. However, Adam Wingrad captures every moment that needs to be seen on camera. Viewers are able to follow every kick, claw fight and biting between the two monster titans—it is clear as day. Godzilla vs. Kong has all the factors to spice up a cinematic experience. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, just go to the cinema. The action is visually stunning and so are the breathtaking creatures. The movie delivers on its promise to be a hefty monster clash. However, the movie’s aim to idolize monsters and sell a whole monster experience to viewers doesn’t hinder it from showing its emotional aspect– a human connection. The bond between Kong and Jia gives the gorilla a humane side and makes the movie more fascinating. 

Kaylee Hottle plays Jia, a deaf girl who can communicate with Kong through sign language
Image via Warner Bros. Pictures

The special effects, cinematography, sound effects and every artillery poured into this movie is artistically expressed and makes it superior to other monster movies– exempting the 2005 King Kong movie. The madness and the best part in Godzilla vs. Kong is saved for the last with non-stop smashing, thumping and crushing– trust Kong to show his acrobatic side. The brawl between the two monster titans and their solidarity against the Mechagodzilla is the definition of epic, which was beautifully captured. This time around, earth doesn’t need a bunch of superhumans to save them against the Mechagodzilla, they have the best monsters at their side, Godzilla and Kong. 

Rating: 7/10

SIDE MUSINGS

  • The scene where Walter Simmon has this big speech with Maddison and her  Godzilla gang, unaware of the mayhem happening behind him, brings back a Deep Blue Sea (1999) vibe. Samuel L. Jackson was giving a  speech with his crew before the great white shark pounced on him and tore him to pieces😅.
  • For a billion dollar corporation like Apex Cybernetics, it takes an unusual jig to bring down a multi-million dollar project.

Godzilla vs. Kong is currently showing in theatres and on HBO Max.

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