“Godzilla vs. Kong”: A Battle for the Ages

Courtesy of https://www.indiewire.com/shop/watch-godzilla-vs-kong-stream-hbo-max-1234627153/

Courtesy of https://www.indiewire.com/shop/watch-godzilla-vs-kong-stream-hbo-max-1234627153/

JD Jones, Arts & Entertainment

“King Kong” and “Godzilla” are some of the most famous movie monsters ever made. The former’s debut in 1933’s “King Kong” became a smash hit during the Great Depression era, and 1954’s “Godzilla” was extremely popular in Japan; its combination of a monster movie with the results left behind by the atomic bomb attacks by the United States was a well-liked concept by many. In fact, the two monsters had already fought each other in a 1962 crossover film, called “King Kong vs. Godzilla”. Known for its campy tone, it not only helped continue the “Godzilla” franchise, but it continues to be one of the franchise’s most popular installments. Now, 59 years later, the rematch has commenced!

In 2014, director Gareth Edwards directed a new reboot titled “Godzilla”, which was the first installment of what has now been named the “MonsterVerse”, a shared franchise with all sorts of Godzilla and King Kong related content and monsters. The film was a financial success, and pleased most critics, but the screen time of the titular character left a lot to be desired. It would be followed with a sequel five years later, titled “Godzilla: King of the Monsters”, where Godzilla now fights with, and against, other famous Japanese monsters (aka kaiju) including Mothra and King Ghidorrah. Reviews were mixed this time, as many felt there was too much action and the script was poorly written, and it wasn’t as financially successful as the first as a result.

In between, there was 2017’s “Kong: Skull Island”, a prequel of sorts taking place in the 1970’s, with an expedition that leads to the discovery of Kong, setting himself up for future films. Like Godzilla’s first film before it, “Kong: Skull Island” raked in the money, and most were positive to it, especially its visual prowess and action sequences. After “Godzilla: King of the Monsters”, it was time for the epic matchup that had been teased throughout the series! “Godzilla vs. Kong” was released at the end of March in theaters and has had an impressive run. It did really well streaming-wise on HBO Max, and in its theatrical run, it made solid money considering the restrictions of the pandemic. Many doubted theaters would ever be financially successful again, but it was “Godzilla vs. Kong” that proved they could still be worth visiting.

I’ll be honest, if you want to enjoy “Godzilla vs. Kong”, you have to go into it with the mindset that what you are watching is inherently dumb. It’s just about the destructive action scenes, and isn’t interested in any real-life comparisons or fancy metaphors. If you expect dumb fun, than I have no doubt that you’ll enjoy this movie! And, for what it’s worth, it’s a really well-put-together dumb movie. Its two big assets are its visual splendor and the battles between Godzilla and Kong. The visuals evoke a sort of futuristic sci-fi vibe that works really well with the over-the-top plot. The technology used by the human characters, and the Hollow Earth realm are wonderfully realized, and director Adam Wingard takes his time with every scene regarding these things to show off the impressive scale he has at his disposal. Furthermore, the action is shot really well with some creative camerawork. The initial fight between the title characters that happens at sea surrounded by a fleet of navy ships is rather impressive, with a bunch of underwater fighting that has a clear sense of geography and really immerses you in the danger. In addition, “Godzilla vs. Kong” also has an epic score to accompany the action, and quick pacing to make a two-hour movie go by like it’s nothing.

As I said though, “Godzilla vs. Kong”, is a dumb movie, so it of course has issues. The main things here would be the human characters and the script. The human characters are mostly okay, and Wingard makes the wise decision to not focus on them for the whole time. However, there is a specific subplot that I couldn’t really stand because of the characters. This plot features Millie Bobby Brown, Julian Dennison, and Brian Tyree Henry uncovering shady practices of a corporation seeking Godzilla’s destruction. Not only is it not as engaging as the stuff centering around Kong, but Henry’s character, a conspiracy podcaster named Bernie, is so incredibly annoying that I couldn’t really find him entertaining. He’s way too scatterbrained and paranoid for me to find enjoyment in, so it was lucky for me that we quickly cut to another brilliant action scene.

Overall, there’s not much to say about “Godzilla vs. Kong” other than the fact that you get what’s promised in the title. It may seem too simple, but sometimes simplicity is what you need to have fun!! It’s not going to win any awards for it’s writing, but if you come for the action and pure spectacle, you’ll definitely have a good time!