Godzilla vs. Kong

FAMILY NIGHT AT THE MOVIE | By Christopher Hill – 

It has been a minute! Our last published review was Sonic the Hedgehog in the April 2020 edition of Fort Bend Focus. Now a year later, we are at the fringe of normalcy, or at the very least, a return to more things we remember fondly, like the movies.

Godzilla vs. Kong is the merging of two franchises. The current Godzilla franchise began with Godzilla in 2014 and followed with Godzilla: King of the Monsters in 2019. King Kong’s revamped story started in 2017 with Kong: Skull Island.

The evolution of these films has been fascinating. Both film series started with a focus on character development. Unfortunately, the fight scenes in Godzilla were limited. Fans of this feature know that we pointed out this deficiency in the first two films. However, with Godzilla: King of the Monsters, the pendulum started to swing.  Now with Godzilla vs. Kong, the pendulum has swung entirely in the opposite direction. In this version, the main characters are Godzilla and Kong, with the human characters lined for comedic support or slight exposition.

Jai communicates with Kong.

The story is not the story for this film; instead, it provides a set up to action. Two main arcs combine midway through the film. In the first story, Kong is assisting Apex Cybernetics to find an entry to Hollow Earth. Apex believes that there are tunnels used by the monsters that connect to the center of the earth, a hollow area reminiscent of the dinosaurs’ era.  In the second story, the hero from the last film Godzilla, for some reason, destroys an Apex Cybernetics lab. The humans for each arc are simply there as set dressing – that’s about it. Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things) reprises Madison Russell’s role, the daughter of Monarch scientists Mark and the late Emma Russell, who passed away in the last Godzilla film. She bonds with Bernie Hayes (Brian Tyree Henry), a conspiracy theorist who serves mainly as comedic support. They bumble into things and somehow reach the apex of the film at precisely the right time.

On the Kong side, the beast is aided by Dr. Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall) and Jia (Kaylee Hottle), an orphan from the tribe shown in Kong: Skull Island. Jia has a bond with Kong and communicates through sign language.

Godzilla vs. Kong.

There are also some scatted scientists with undeveloped or simplistic motivations; however, they, just like nearly every human character, are irrelevant to the story. Godzilla vs. Kong is a story of the characters on the marquee. Back in the original 2014 Godzilla, Dr. Ishiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) begged to “Let them fight.” It has taken seven years, but his desire is finally realized.

Gone are the days of men dressed in large rubber suits. The effects today are staggering. While I am not sure where Kong picked up some of his MMA repertoires, it is effective and enjoyable to watch. While at times it resembled more of a video game than a story, I can’t quibble. After lamenting movie after movie to just focus on the action, they have finally done so and have even produced some light character development for our monster stars.

Seeing this on a computer screen for the screener was disappointing as the effects are best seen in larger formats. The action is what sells this film and not the human subplots. The film is not a future academy nominated film in any acting category. There are plot holes galore and a complete lack of chemistry from the previous films. However, Godzilla vs. Kong is what summer blockbusters need to be, an action-packed tour de force. Finally, the focus is on the beasts, and the technology to bring that to the screen is staggeringly realistic. Even when the effects get a bit campy or when their attacks seem to be mo-capped by human fighters, it is still a lot of fun. We finally have a big blockbuster that deserves to be seen on the big screen. After many attempts, it is time to “Let them fight.” All we need is the popcorn.

Godzilla vs. Kong

Rated: PG-13

Violence: Large-scale fighting, a monster beheading and other graphic monster terminations.

Sexuality: None

Language: Minor