It just feels like Godzilla vs Kong is in the right place at the right time. Some of the world is slowly starting to regain bits of normalcy. Here in the US, it’s getting warmer and closer to Summer. Some people are getting vaccinated. And more movie theaters are softly reopening, just in time for the release of the seemingly epic finale to the MonsterVerse movie franchise.
Moviegoing might never fully be what it was pre pandemic but Godzilla vs Kong is at least a good enough new release, packed with just the right amount of Kaiju action and humanity to help ease back into a resemblance of public moviegoing as we once knew it.
I’d say Adam Wingard’s Godzilla vs Kong lands at #3 on the list of MonsterVerse movies. It’s not as great as Godzilla (2014) or Kong Skull Island (2017) but it’s easily better than the exhausting mayhem that was Godzilla King of the Monsters (2019).
Like I said, the movie is a great balance of spectacular fun, action and human drama that just makes it versatile entertainment for those still watching their movies at home or those making the long awaited return to movie theaters. Whichever way you choose to watch, it doesn’t overwhelm our big screen starved senses but there are problems to mention.
It feels like Godzilla vs Kong beams us into the future at nearly incoherent light speeds, where the world is armed with high tech and drenched in neon colors. Kong has been in simulated Skull Island solitary confinement, Hollow Earth has been discovered and experimented with, Apex has been a fully operating mega corporation. It’s only been 5 years since Godzilla was crowned the king of the monsters but it easily feels like 10-20. It’s all a few tweaks shy of Pacific Rim levels of relative futurism.
It features some awful subplots but it’s really the only place where humans can still reign supreme. It’s actually kind of funny how much screen time is interested in its human characters when the rest of the movie features the Apex Titans destroying massive chunks of cities, probably killing humans by the millions.
While I enjoy the performances of Millie Bobby Brown, Julian Dennison and Brian Tyree Henry, I couldn’t care less about the conspiracy theorist sub plot they were confined to.
On the other hand, I didn’t entirely like the performances of Alexander Skarsgard, Ilene Andrews, and Eliza Gonzalez but I was very much interested in the Hollow Earth sub plot.
This contemporary feud between Godzilla and Kong is of course lots of fun to watch.
The first brawl takes place when the two Apex Titans come face to face for the first time and battle it out in the ocean amongst a convoy of naval ships….during the day! It’s a massively fun and creative set piece.
But Godzilla and Kong’s final meeting takes place in the finale that leans a little too heavily into that cinematic chaos that plagued Godzilla King of the Monsters. It turns into a dark and destructive mess as the two duke it out for real this time, then only briefly join in arms against Mans Apex creation.
They give Kong so much heart, but Godzilla still essentially beats him in their two fights. It would’ve been cool to see 3 rounds of fighting, split between the two Titans and the 3rd fight turned towards their mutual enemy.
My main issue isn’t actually something in Godzilla vs Kong. Its movie should’ve been the 5th movie in the monsterVerse franchise. Why? Because of our long overdue and abrupt arrival in Hollow Earth and its ancestral ties to Kong.
Now I can’t stop thinking about how Godzilla technically got his own sequel where he fights all the Titans on Earth to be crowned king of the monsters but Kong didn’t get his own sequel in a similar fashion. He could have gotten a sequel where he somehow makes it to his ancestral stomping grounds in Hollow Earth and fights all of the Titans living here to be crowned king of Hollow Earth. Then the two champs square off once and for all. It could have developed Kong much more as a character and it would have strengthened this movie as a whole.
Well this may be the end of the MonsterVerse franchise because unless they want to go the toho route and add some comedy or pull from the massive catalog of Titan villains for either Apex Titan to face in future movies, this is a solid point to end on.
9/13/21 – Feels weird to read this review now. The world fell back into some darker times as Covid-19 continued to mutate, people refuse to acknowledge the severity of things and more people died. It’s a sad thing