Movie Review: Godzilla vs. Kong (2021)

The fourth film in the Legendary MonsterVerse, Godzilla vs. Kong is a 2021 action kaiju film, directed by Adam Wingard. A culmination of Godzilla (2014), Kong: Skull Island (2017), and Godzilla II: King of the Monsters (2019), the film sees the two remaining alpha kaijus finally collide to determine who will reign supreme. Meanwhile, doctors Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgard) and Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall), and Andrews’ adopted daughter Jia (Kaylee Hottle) endeavour to discover where Kong came from, while simultaneously Madison Russell (Millie Bobby Brown, reprising from King of the Monsters) and her friend Josh (Julian Dennison) ally with conspiracy theorist and podcaster Bernie (Brian Tyree Henry) to uncover the secrets of Bernie’s employer, Apex Industries and its CEO, Walter Simmon (Demian Bichir).

+ it’s an easy positive for these CGI heavy monster mashes, but the action is just great. Every one of Kong’s strikes have weight behind them, and his more human posture and fighting style contrasts well with this rabid, beast-like version of Godzilla (at times something like the early form of Shin Godzilla). For once, you can believe the movie title: these characters fight a few times, and rest assured there is a clear winner
+ the story is simple but effective, and adds a few new beats to the MonsterVerse while simultaneously tying up loose ends. Concepts like a Hollow Earth, ancient rivalries and alpha predators have all had their roots in previous entries, but at the same time you don’t need to have seen and memorised every other film so far
+ Junkie XL’s soundtrack, much like it did in the recent Zack Snyder’s Justice League, hits all the right beats. Guttural, pulse pounding themes punctuate all the actions, and the more electronic motifs resonate throughout. I’m a sucker for that classic Godzilla tune, and hearing its updates throughout the last few years has been a joyous experience

– a handful of the human characters are so one dimensional I don’t know why they even had to exist, including Shun Oguri’s character (here unnamed, but rest assured he has one). Oguri’s character had the chance to be something really important to the story, but it just wasn’t ever used to its potential, while Maia Simmons (Eiza Gonzalez) is essentially just another unimportant baddie. If the film is going to spent so much time with these human characters, it should make us love or hate them instead of just counting the moments until the monsters are back on screen

> Lance Reddick popped up for about one second of the 113 minutes runtime, and I noticed him immediately. Give that man a bigger role
> not a negative for this film, but for the MonsterVerse as a whole, only three actors played a part in more than one film: Ken Watanabe, Millie Bobby Brown, and Kyle Chandler. Where were Aaron Taylor Johnson and Charles Dance in this film? I’d imagine they both could have been some use for whichever side they were playing for at the time

Should you see this film: Yes. Though it’s hard to say this film topped the spectacle of King Ghidorah last time, the action is visually spectacular and the monsters all “exist” in incredible detail in our world. It’s a shame that we puny humans are so boring, because I could have done with another half an hour of the movie, if it involved more monster mayhem.

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