Review: Godzilla vs. Kong

Five years after the events of Godzilla: King of the Monsters, King Kong and Godzilla are the last two Titans on Earth. On Skull Island, Monarch watches over Kong in a weather controlled dome known as the Kong Containment. Kong is visited every day by a young deaf girl named Jia (Kaylee Hottle) who communicates with him via sign language. Meanwhile, Godzilla is somewhere in the ocean roaming free.

Instead of relying on two monsters fighting for 90 minutes, the film had to infuse a few human plot points…

Bernie (Brian Tyree Henry) is an employee at Apex Cybernetics and also host of the Titan Truth Podcast, a conspiracy theory podcast that covers all things Titan related. Bernie believes Apex is up to something and is looking for evidence. One day while he’s snooping around, Apex is attacked by Godzilla. After the attack, Bernie sees a suspicious device. Madison (Millie Bobby Brown) is a fan of Bernie’s podcast and seeks out him to find a connection between Apex and the Titans.

Dr. Lind (Alexander Skarsgard) has theories about Hallow Earth and is recruited by Apex’s Walter (Demian Bichir) to find an energy source. Lind goes to Skull Island and convinces Ilene (Rebecca Hall) to let him use Kong to guide them to the energy source. Ilene agrees to let Apex use Kong as a 158 ton guide dog and lead them to Hollow Earth.

As Ilene and others know, Kong leaving the containment attracts Godzilla and that leads to a showdown between the two Titans – numerous human casualties included.

Ok….the plot is A LOT. There’s so much going on in only 90 minutes. It’s sci-fi gumbo that includes Hollow Earth, evil corporations, conspiracy theories, monsters, ancient rivalries, and a ridiculous amount of movie science that makes zero sense if you think about it for more than a second. 

One of the more hilarious things is how often these adults put Jia in danger. She’s literally a child and they put her in danger at every turn. On a scale from 1-10 here’s how I’d rank the level of danger Jia is in:   Jia on Kong’s transport ship 8/10, Jia on the ship to Hollow Earth 10/10 (this is after Lind tells a story about his brother being crushed to death on a trip to Hollow Earth), Jia on the ground during the final battle 15/10. They did everything to get that poor child killed and she survived. 

Evil corporations need people to do their evil bidding and that’s Maya (Eiza Gonzalez). She has a backstory about working for Apex and is Walter’s daughter but none of that matters. She’s carries herself like and assassin and talks to people like she’d kill them at the drop of a dime. She serves no purpose other than to be evil.  She’s in the film for one reason and one reason only – to be the villain when the plot calls for a villain.

To be honest, the human characters aren’t critical to the story. The actors are fine and most of them do a great job. Unfortunately, they aren’t necessary to the plot. They’re either A) used to explain the science  to the audience or B) collateral damage from the Titan fights. There’s lots unintentionally funny exposition that makes it hard to care about any of the human character.

The science explanations are the best part of this film. The way the science is explained is beyond comical. The movie science is compounded by people identifying something very complex in a matter of seconds. I would love a supercut of all the scenes that’s talked about.

Fans watching for for big fight scenes….well you get a total of two….TWO. Each of them are shown in the trailer. There’s a small fight scene in Hollow Earth but it’s nothing to write home about. What really works is Godzilla being positioned as the “bad guy” in fight, it gives audiences someone to cheer for. When Godzilla shows up, ominous music like he’s a WWE villain making his way to the ring.  The film could’ve used more of Godzilla. There is a long stretches when he’s not onscreen. 

The best parts in this film is a how good it looks. It looks fantastic. It’s even an improvement on the great CGI in Godzilla: King of the Monsters. The final fight is very entertaining even with the dumbest human characters staying around for front row seats. It’s a visual stunning sequence that takes place at night with the neon buildings lighting up two the Titans as they battle it out. 

Godzilla vs. Kong is an empty calorie summer film that’s made to be seen on the biggest screen possible. It’s big and bold and doesn’t offer anything else. To be fair, that’s what a lot of fans want. The film could use about 40% less human interactions and more scenes of Godzilla torching cities and Kong fighting lizard creatures form the deep. 

Grade: B-