Godzilla vs. Kong is the fourth entry in Legendary Picture’s MonsterVerse, and promises a monster showdown that many have been waiting for (or in my case, vaguely interested in). While it definitely delivers on its promise of a monster brawl, unfortunately, we have to wait far too long and sit through a pointless story before we see any action.
Godzilla vs. Kong follows on from 2019’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters and 2017’s Kong: Skull Island. The film starts with a surprising 50’s soundtrack playing over Kong’s morning routine on Skull Island, where he meets a young girl Jia (Kaylee Hottle) before throwing a self-made spear apparently into the sky. All is not what it seems as we soon discover that at some point since the events of Kong: Skull Island, the Monarch organisation has encased Skull Island in a giant dome. As scientist and ‘Kong Whisperer’ Dr Ilene Andrews reveals, this is to protect Kong from being discovered by Godzilla, which would reignite an ancient rivalry between them.
Meanwhile, in Florida, Godzilla attacks a site owned by shady corporation Apex Industries at the same time employee and conspiracy podcaster Bernie (Brian Tyree Henry) is attempting to steal classified information. After surviving the events of Godzilla: King of the Monsters, teen Maddie (Millie Bobby Brown) and her father (Kyle Chandler) now reside in Florida and Maddie, alongside friend Josh (Julian Dennison), who is determined to understand why Godzilla attacked for the first time in years.
Enter Apex Industries CEO Walter Simmonds (Demián Bichir), who wants to find a way to protect the world from Godzilla by finding a power source in the Hollow Earth, located at the core of the Earth and homeworld of both Kong and Godzilla. He employs scientist Dr Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgård) to travel to Hollow Earth to retrieve the power source, with the only way to do so involving transporting Kong to Hollow Earth (along with Dr Andrews and adopted daughter Jia) to follow him to the source.
If you’re still following the plot after my explanation, then you’re doing better than I did while watching the film. The plot, and the human characters as well, are completely superfluous to this film and feel like an afterthought. The story touches on aspects that would be fairly interesting, especially the sci-fi elements of travelling to the Hollow Earth, but these are squandered and everything and everyone feels like they’re there just to propel the film to a point where the monsters fight. Which would have been bearable except for the fact that it takes over 40 minutes until Godzilla and Kong first meet, which is far too long. In between the fighting, we’re treated to clichéd characters and dialogue, with very little backstory or intrigue. It really wouldn’t matter if any of them died, they’re that uninteresting. Although I did find it unintentionally funny to see a group of supposedly intelligent scientists treat a journey to the perilous Hollow Earth like a jaunt out on a school trip. The only saving grace to the plot was towards the end, with a reveal that unfortunately, I can’t discuss due to it being a massive spoiler, but I’m sure it will please those who are die-hard Godzilla fans.
As a film about brawling monsters, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the plot is fairly lacking as rightly so the focus should be on the monsters. And as far as fighting monsters go, the bouts between Godzilla and Kong are fairly impressive, well choreographed, and the CGI is very good. My biggest problem though was that the action scenes are filmed incredibly badly. It’s so difficult to focus on and appreciate the action because the camera is constantly shaking and moving about. It doesn’t stay still for longer than a couple of seconds and I was incredibly concerned my motion sickness was going to make an appearance. It’s a shame because if this had calmed down a little it would’ve made the action much more enjoyable. I did feel as well that this film was weighted a lot more towards favouring Kong, which completely contradicts how we’ve been made to feel towards Godzilla in the previous 2 films.
Godzilla vs. Kong was always going to be about the monsters, and they at least have been fairly well and realistically done. It’s brainless entertainment, but when Godzilla and Kong are on screen together you can’t help but find it enjoyable. Unfortunately the rest of the film and nonsensical plot let it down.
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A contract manager moonlighting as a rather discerning film and book critic, with an almost fangirl appreciation for anything made by Christopher Nolan. When I’m not catching up on my latest read or watch, you can usually find me trying out my amateur baking skills – Bake Off here I come!