Movie Review: ‘Godzilla VS Kong’

Director: Adam Wingard

Cast: Godzilla, Kong, Alexander Skarsgård, Millie Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry, Shun Serizawa, Julian Dennison, Kyle Chandler, Demián Bichir, Kaylee Hottle

Plot: Although considered a planetary protector, Godzilla has started attacking centres run by the Apex Tech organisation. Meanwhile, Kong is being used as a way to find a path into the ‘hollow Earth’ to seek a new power source. These two paths eventually lead to the titans butting heads.

Review: Along with Aliens VS Predator and Freddy VS Jason, this is the franchise mash-up that the nerd community will get invested in no matter the circumstances. You barely need to set it up, just stick the pair of them in the middle of a city and have at it. That would fly in the face of the current Godzilla series, who prefers cutting away to arguing married couples in the middle of epic monster battles and picking random conspiracy theories to wedge into the plot. How well does this highly anticipated conflict break free of these bad habits and finally delivery on the bombastic action promised by the concept? Let’s take a look…

We have a couple of recurring humans from the previous film, although Kyle Chandler’s role has been reduced to a background supporter character. Madison (Brown) is still obsessed with the Titans, teaming up with a hacker friend Josh (Dennison) and conspiracy theorist podcaster Bernie (Henry) to try and find the cause of Godzilla’s odd behaviour. Running alongside this story is a group of science types including Hollow Earth theorist Nathan Lind (Skarsgård), Kong whisperers Ilene Andrews and her adopted daughter Jia (Hall and Hottle respectively). They’re looking to use Kong to guide them into the Hollow Earth looking for some McGuffin. The two plot threads eventually come together when the truth behind the Apex Tech company comes to light, and a mutual foe is revealed.

There’s an expectation with concepts like this that it’s going to end with a cop-out tie or team-up. We’re not going to say that this doesn’t happen…because it does…but they do have the decency to follow through on the ‘one will fall’ tagline. If you’re worried that we’re not going to have a definitive winner and loser between Kong and Godzilla you can rest assured that we do get that. Whenever Kong and Godzilla get together they smack the crap of each other it’s big, imaginative and everything you want from a big-budget box office. When it comes to providing spectacle, this movie brings the goods.

Like the previous movies in the series there’s a whole bunch of silliness to fill out the runtime either side of the monster battles. In this case there’s an evil tech billionaire who recruits a nutbag conspiracy theorist to find the hollow centre of the Earth. A good chunk of the film follows their efforts to get Kong to act as a tour guide. They do find themselves in the centre of a hollow Earth, weirdly sunny and well lit for some unexplained reason, and we get some real creative visuals through this sequence. There’s a clever bit with inverted gravity here and I’m scratching my head as to why Kong and Godzilla didn’t have a scrap in this environment. Bit of a missed opportunity.

This is getting into spoiler territory…if you’ve seen the most recent marketing and theories you’d know that there is a third contender in this conflict. It is later revealed that Apex is building a Mechagodzilla to replace Godzilla for some nebulous reason. Eventually Kong and Godzilla have to tag-team this new threat, and the actions of Dennison in bringing this beast down is one of the most ridiculous, anti-climatic moments they could have conceived.

If you whittle this movie right down to the monster fights, it’s solid. When you factor in all the silliness then it’s a bit sloppy. It gets to the point more efficiently than King of the Monsters, so this gets a pass from us.

Rating: SEVEN out of TEN