I have to be honest I was not looking forward to the latest Monsterverse film Godzilla vs Kong. While the idea of getting back in theaters and watching a spectacle film excited me, this franchise hasn’t delivered a single film I could recommend so far. Could they nail it on this 4th and possibly last entry in the series? Surprisingly I am here to tell you: yes. Chalk it up to low expectations, but I had a great time with this battle of the titans- Godzilla vs Kong!
Let me start off my praise by saying this movie looks great. I hated Godzilla: King of the Monsters mostly because the spectacle (the main draw of such a film) was ruined by choppy editing and constantly obfuscated visuals. What’s the point of going to such a film if you can’t see what is happening on screen? So frustrating.
Well here they get it right. The visuals are crisp and clear including an amazing final act in Hong Kong with the city’s beautiful fluorescent lights framing our 2 big monsters.
I hate the phrase ‘turn your brain off’ but let’s say Godzilla vs Kong isn’t exactly a thinking man’s movie. It’s not trying to be an allegory or say anything particularly profound. The closest we get is a little girl named Jia played by newcomer Kaylee Hottle who forms a bond with Kong and see’s him as the prisoner he is. Her performance reminded me of the best in King Kong action movies where Kong is made human through his bond with a woman or child. (BTW I am definitely #teamKong and especially love the 1933 King Kong with animation by Willis O’Brien).
There is also Brian Tyree Henry as a podcaster who follows the conspiracy theories to help break down the Apex Corporation that runs the Monarch program (thankfully the story is a little more grounded this time around unlike the insane plan of Vera Farmiga’s character in Godzilla: King of the Monsters). I feel like I almost have to enjoy a movie who’s hero is a podcaster LOL! Henry, Millie Bobby Brown and Julian Dennison’s characters become a trio that have a nice chemistry together and are fun to watch on screen.
And that’s the admittedly over-used word to describe Godzilla vs Kong: fun. It has enough story to facilitate Kong and Godzilla fighting it out and when that fight happens it delivers. Junkie XL (Tom Holkenborg) helps things along with an energetic score and it all makes for a classic spectacle time at the movies and that’s not something I have been able to say with this franchise so far.
Godzilla vs Kong will be available on HBO Max and in theaters but if you can go safely I encourage you to support your local theater because that’s where this movie deserves to be seen. Either way I think you will have a good time with it. I certainly did!
8 out of 10