You’ve heard the names, you’ve seen the movies, you probably chose a side and defended it passionately. Godzilla and Kong are here to deliver the rebirth of Hollywood which seems fitting considering their status as Hollywood icons. Decades worth of movies, shows and debates have led us to this perfect epic, non-sensical blockbuster. A movie so dumb but so ridiculously entertaining that you can’t help but revert to your ten-year-old self when a giant radioactive lizard smashes a huge gorilla through the city of Hong Kong. ‘Godzilla vs Kong’ knows exactly what it is and it plays it extremely well. That being said once the movie is over you will remember nothing but the third act, everything that comes before it feels completely disposable.
SPOILERS FOR ‘GODZILLA VS KONG’ ARE PRESENT IN THIS REVIEW
The MonsterVerse is really interesting from a screenwriting point of view. Every entry uses it’s human characters in a different way. The first ‘Godzilla‘ used the humans as a perspective to show the true horror of the giant lizard. ‘Kong: Skull Island’ incorporated a thriller/adventure element which in the end gave us arguably the best human cast in the franchise. ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’ however wanted the humans to be just as important as the creatures which was a huge mistake. Not a single soul wants to watch a monster movie for the human characters. Most of the criticisms towards that movie came from that flaw. ‘Godzilla vs Kong’ repeats the same mistakes, in fact it doubles down on the humans. Surprisingly enough though, it manages to be more tolerable than the previous entry. Whereas ‘King of the Monsters’ demanded our attention to care and sympathize for these characters, ‘Godzilla vs Kong’s new characters are devoid of any depth and it also helps that they’re played by likeable actors. That being said, as much as I love Millie Bobby Brown, Julian Dennison and Brian Tyree Henry, their characters were never once justified. If they were taken out completely, the movie would in fact benefit from a shortened runtime. Their only purpose was to lead us to the reveal of MechaGodzilla which the movie could’ve definitely done without them. A movie like this usually doesn’t have a lot of material to rely on outside of its action, that’s why the human characters exist. However when a movie already has a human cast and not enough action split up between it’s three acts, the addition of another cast just seems very unnecessary.
All of this being said, I’ll be damned if that third act isn’t one of the most enjoyable cinematic climaxes I’ve ever seen. The continuous build-up of epic scope, power and destruction set up by these movies results in a jaw-dropping brawl. From the bright, vivid colours to the shot composition, Legendary has been progressively getting better and better with this franchise’s action sequences. The visual effects truly are incredible, this is exactly what I want action to be, bright and epic. I’ll be completely honest when I say that I was disappointed with how dull the climax of Avengers: Endgame looked, they tried to imitate a renaissance painting instead of a comic-book. Movies like ‘John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum’, ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ and hell, even ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’ understood the beauty in colour and shot composition. It amplifies the tone of the scene whether it is artistically insane like ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ or highly self-aware and animated like ‘Godzilla vs Kong’. This is what I want to see from action movies moving forward, more colour and more effort into camera movement and shot-composition. These movies shouldn’t be taken for granted when it comes to the action genre just because they’re animated. It works incredibly well because they put care and effort into it, this wasn’t a cheap, cash-grab, this is probably the best version of this story we will ever get.
When it comes to these verses movies, there’s that fun marketing campaign with the competing teams. You had this with ‘Captain America: Civil War’, ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ and now in a more straightforward title, ‘Godzilla vs Kong’. Usually, there’s this debate about which side is better and why, this time, however, reasoning goes straight out the window. All logic goes back to that of a ten-year-old. You’re either a Godzilla fan or a Kong fan, no reasoning why, it’s just instinct. It’s very similar to being a cat person or a dog person. There isn’t that much reasoning behind it, it’s simply preference. It also helps that while there is a clear winner, the movie gives both Godzilla and Kong a very respectable win. No matter which side you’re on, you will be satisfied. Despite being this over-the-top blockbuster, the movie still follows the set of rules set by the first ‘Godzilla’. These titans represent nature and how it will always find a way to restore itself. Whenever humanity has tried to tamper with or challenge these creatures, it always ends in chaos and destruction. This movie is no different. The reasoning behind this fight is a bit wonky but it still lies within this theme of tampering with nature, it’s just done so in a very action-heavy way. It was very clever to have MechaGodzilla represent the narcissism of humanity. Clever in the sense that it got the point across while giving us another great action scene because of it.
Overall, with this movie, it feels like the MonsterVerse is taking a more self-aware and over-the-top approach while still maintaining that epic scope. While the previous movies have taken themselves fairly seriously, ‘Godzilla vs Kong’ finds the humour and ridiculous nature of the story it’s telling and runs with it. An overall better movie than the last entry with much more tolerable characters and an incredibly satisfying third act. Will you remember anything other than the third act once you’ve seen the movie? No but it holds enough thrills and punches to keep you on the edge of your toes for a potential rewatch.