Considering the film’s choppy, under-explained plot and awkward dialogue, Adam Wingard’s “Godzilla vs. Kong” serves less as a sequel to its 2017 and 2019 predecessors and more as a standalone blockbuster-action monster movie. While Wingard’s film is superior to the 1962 original, viewers looking for more than highly detailed computer graphics and giant-scale explosive battles will certainly be disappointed. Despite this obvious drawback, the movie managed an amazing (for Covid times) 9.6 million dollars at the domestic box office on Mar. 31, dethroning “Wonder Woman 1984” for best opening day during the pandemic.
Other than a few repeat characters, “Godzilla vs. Kong” doesn’t draw much from the previous Kong and Godzilla movies. A majority of the film is dedicated to unfulfilling exposition, rushing through character backgrounds, rules of engagement for the titans and a confusing new energy source vital to the plot. The necessary technology for each mission is similarly pulled out of thin air, causing each minor conflict to be resolved swiftly without buildup, barely engaging viewers between action scenes. Millie Bobby Brown reprises her role as Madison Russell, the daughter of an important Godzilla researcher. Unfortunately, and possibly due to the underwhelming writing, Brown provides audiences with a mediocre performance not usually expected from the “Stranger Things” star.
The epic monster scenes are the one thing that certainly cannot be knocked in Wingard’s film. Godzilla and King Kong show their most vicious sides, wreaking havoc on non-essential human characters and toppling cities full of neon skyscrapers. The cinematography is fresh and captivating, topped only by the graphics that truly manage to bring these monsters and their visceral existence to life. Forcing our reality (and physics) into the back seat, the action within this film is to die for. Seeing this titan battle on the big screen would definitely be worth the price as well.
Overall, “Godzilla vs. Kong” was both a failure and a success. The movie pulls off action and monsters like no other, drawing viewers back into movie theaters and breathing life into their hopeful revival. However, the robotic dialogue and rushed plot definitely make points of the film hard to watch. Even when considering the faults, this film is a ton of fun and I do highly recommend it for those who enjoy mindless action movies. If you’re looking for interesting characters or stellar writing, though, stay far away.
“Godzilla vs. Kong” is available to watch in theaters and stream on HBO Max.
By Erik Mathews