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Godzilla vs. Kong (A Movie Review)

Updated: Mar 29


Starring Alexander Skarsgård, Millie Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry, Shun Oguri, Eiza González, Julian Dennison, Lance Reddick, Kyle Chandler, Demián Bichir, Kaylee Hottle,Hakeem Kae-Kazim, Ronny Chieng, John Pirruccello, Van Marten, Jessica Henwick, Chris Chalk, Conlan Casal, Brad McMurray, Benjamin Rigby and Nick Turello.

Screenplay by Eric Pearson and Max Borenstein.

Directed by Adam Wingard.

Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. 113 minutes. Rated R.

The MonsterVerse comes to a possible end (at least there are no further films in the pipeline currently) with this battle royale of the two biggies.

If it is the last time these monsters appear (and really, what are the chances of that?) then they are going out in relative style. Starring the title characters of the three previous MonsterVerse films finally having the long-awaited showdown that fans have been expecting, Godzilla vs. Kong mostly gives the crowd bang for its buck, even if you’d be hard pressed to exactly call it a good movie.

However, if you just want to watch two giant monsters (plus a few other creatures) beating the crap out of each other and stomping on cities and people, then GvK has the goods. Honestly, the movie sort of grinds to a halt every time that there are humans on the screen, but it’s okay, it’s only a matter of time before the monster mayhem starts up again.

It’s not exactly intellectually stimulating fare, but then again what did you expect from a movie called Godzilla vs. Kong? It’s all about the fights, and for fans of the style that should be enough.

This isn’t the first time these two separate mega-monsters – one distinctly American and one very much a Japanese creation – have been pitted against each other. Both King Kong and Godzilla were well established cinematic brands, though just slightly down in the dumps popularly, in 1962 when Japanese movie studio Toho hit upon the genius idea of merging the two characters.

The resulting film was King Kong vs. Godzilla, which quickly became a smash hit and revived both characters’ popularity, leading to a long string of movies about both monsters. However, the two behemoths have never been paired again until now, with Godzilla vs. Kong. (Kong seems to have been demoted in the title of the modern film.)

Godzilla vs. Kong is not a remake of the older film. It has little in common, other than the basic concept of the giant ape and the fire-breathing lizard body slamming each other and causing enough destruction to make an insurance adjuster have a panic attack.

There is a storyline to Godzilla vs. Kong, but it makes little sense, has huge logical holes and really just serves as a placeholder for the next action sequence. In fact, honestly all of the ridiculous back story could probably be jettisoned, and no one would miss it.

Godzilla vs. Kong has some very fine actors spouting ridiculous gobbledy-gook like “Godzilla’s out there, and he’s hurting people, and we don’t know why.” It almost feels like someone awkwardly dubbed an English translation over Japanese dialogue, except the actors’ lips actually move in time with the words.

Are Alexander Skarsgård, Rebecca Hall, Kyle Chandler, Brian Tyree Henry and Demián Bichir too skilled as actors to be reduced to playing second banana (see what I did there?) to a giant ape and lizard? Probably, yeah, although I don’t begrudge these esteemed character actors the opportunity to get an easy payday in a potential blockbuster.

The thing is it really doesn’t matter. Story and dialogue have never been a premium in kaiju filmmaking. It’s all about the fights and the destruction. If you are excited about Godzilla vs. Kong, it isn’t for the exposition and character development. (Although, technically, Kong is a much more expressive monster than Godzilla, who pretty much seems impassive about the damage he is causing.)

Let’s face it. If you are looking for nuanced storytelling and complicated motivations, you would not be looking at a film called Godzilla vs. Kong. If you’re looking for an almost silly amount of mayhem and destruction, then you’ve found your movie. It’s dumb fun, but it is fun.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2021 All rights reserved. Posted: March 31, 2021.


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