The big Easter weekend is almost upon us, and that means it is time to sit back, relax, and check out a new movie. And this weekend, a very big movie has been released – the epic monster mash-up, Godzilla vs. Kong.
This is yet another film that was due out in 2020, but because of the pandemic its release date was pushed back to 2021. In the US, as of yesterday, you can catch Godzilla vs. Kong in cinemas as well as on HBO MAX, while from today in the UK, Godzilla vs. Kong is available to rent from all the major digital platforms, including Amazon, iTunes, and CHILI, amongst others.
Directed by Adam Wingard, Godzilla vs. Kong sees the titanic two-some come together for one all-mighty showdown. The movie is the latest entry in Warner Bros./Legendary Pictures’ MonsterVerse, and follows on from the events of 2019’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters.
In the movie, the seemingly peaceful Godzilla attacks a high-tech facility at Apex Cybernetics. To the outside world, it appears as if Big G is on a mindless rampage and once again, the fate of the planet hangs in the balance.
Presenting a potential solution to the problem, Apex CEO Walter Simmons, recruits a geologist, an anthropological linguist, and the Eighth Wonder of the World himself, King Kong(!!), to embark on a mission to Hollow Earth – a space which exists in the centre of the planet. Simmons believes a valuable energy source can be found within Hollow Earth, that could provide the power to defeat Godzilla.
Of course, with this being a monster movie, the film contains various scenes of destruction, lots of CGI, and two huge battles between the title characters. There’s also room for some human interaction, from a cast that includes Millie Bobby Brown, Alexander Skarsgård, Kyle Chandler, and Rebecca Hall, as well as the introduction of some new monsters.
Godzilla vs. Kong is big, it’s loud, it’s brainless entertainment, but it is also a heap of fun. It is exactly the movie you expect it to be, and this is a huge relief, as it could have been utter tosh.
I’ve followed the MonsterVerse since its inception back in 2014, and while I have stuck with it, and feel it has had one very bright spot – namely 2017’s Kong: Skull Island – I have also become quite frustrated with it. Godzilla (2014) looked good, but was thunderously boring, while Godzilla: King of the Monsters raised the bar with the visuals, but was a bit too messy in the action department.
Another misfire and I think I would have walked away from this series for good. But I shall continue with it – if the MonsterVerse moves beyond this latest entry – because I genuinely enjoyed Godzilla vs. Kong. The film leans closer to the best that this universe has had to offer, rather than the worst, and I believe this is largely because it makes Kong the focus.
Yes, this is a movie with two headliners, but it is Kong who has to carry the majority of this picture. And this is a smart move, because a.) he feels somewhat more relatable, and b.) he had the better solo movie!
With Kong edging the lead, this does mean that Godzilla mostly skulks around in the background, showing up every so often to throw a tantrum. This will no doubt irk Godzilla fans, but he still gets plenty of opportunity to flex his muscles.
The important thing is that when both characters come together, they deliver the goods – i.e. they make it quite clear why they are the big stars of this blockbuster. And they do just that, by providing the movie with all the action it needs, and proving themselves to be larger than life stars.
Each character looks great, has plenty of power in their arsenal, and helps to drive this picture forward. And despite being computer generated creations, they are far more interesting than the real-life characters in the movie.
The common criticism I (and many others) had with the previous Godzilla movies (less so with Kong: Skull Island), were the human characters, who were paper thin and quite tedious. There’s not a great deal of improvement in this latest entry, although I do feel like there is at least some movement in the right direction.
For the most part, the cast of Godzilla vs. Kong are asked to stand around, look a bit shocked, and occasionally deliver some techno-babble. It’s a thankless role, and with the exception of Rebecca Hall and Millie Bobby Brown, almost every actor in this movie fades into the background.
But then, I don’t choose to watch Godzilla vs. Kong for the human characters, and I expect many audiences feel the same way too. With a movie like this I mostly want ridiculous set pieces, and scenes of Kong and Godzilla throwing things at each other.
I got all of this and more. In fact, I got my quota of action, alongside some fantastic visuals, including a beautifully realised, neon-infused finale.
The final 30 minutes of this movie are visually stunning and really give the picture one last thunder punch to round things off. Although I was happy to watch this movie from the comfort of my home (let’s not forget we are still in the midst of a pandemic), I would have loved to have watched this play out on the big screen!
Godzilla vs. Kong is a mindless action movie, high on spectacle, and filled with some epic moments. It asks nothing of its audience, it merely requires people to show up, crank up the volume, and watch a couple of titans duke it out.
This could have been a complete mess, but I am happy to report that it works well. We are heading into summer blockbuster season (albeit, still in the spring), and Godzilla vs. Kong is a great step along the way.
- Revisiting the Godzilla: King of the Monsters posters
- 120 best horror movies you must watch
- Review: Skyfire (2019)