Review By Benjamin Slack
It was 59 years since they last met in Tokyo. Ever since then, people had been begging for a remake King Kong vs Godzilla. When the post-credits scene in 2017’s Kong: Skull Island connected to 2014’s Godzilla and set up 2019’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters, audiences were thrilled. Legendary Pictures was going to give us the battle of the two biggest movie monsters of all time once again. And now, after many delays due to the pandemic, they’re fight finally reached made it out.
Godzilla vs Kong is the fourth film in Legendary’s MonsterVerse. Taking place five years after Godzilla: King of the Monsters, it sees the titular characters going head to head when they cross paths a few times throughout their own separate storylines. Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things) and Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights) return from Godzilla: King of the Monsters. Also starring are Rebecca Hall (The Town), Alexander Skarsgård (The Legend of Tarzan), Eiza González (Baby Driver), and Brian Tyree Henry (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse).
The MonsterVerse had its ups and downs since beginning in 2014. They said the whole series would eventually lead to this and that this movie was supposed to be the finale of the series. Because of that, this movie is a bit of a downer. When the movie ends and the credits begin to roll, it feels more like a season finale to a television show instead of a series finale to a film franchise.
The opening sequence is quite good, recapping every moment Godzilla and Kong have had on screen throughout the MonsterVerse and showing us the villains they’ve defeated like the giant Skull Crawler and King Ghidorah. The opening credits also reveal to us that Godzilla and Kong are most likely the only giant monsters (or Titans) left on Earth. If that is so, then what happened to the others? At the end of King of the Monsters it was shown that Rodan was nesting on Mount Fuji and that Mothra had laid an egg somewhere, setting up the return of both classic characters.
The problem is that we went straight from Godzilla: King of the Monsters to Godzilla vs Kong. The series needed another movie in between to show audiences what happened to all the other Titans that were set up in the 2019 film. It could’ve focused on the monsters going at it with each other across the globe, possibly seeing Godzilla and Rodan fight like they’ve done in the past. The end of that movie could’ve resulted in Godzilla and Kong being the only ones left which would plant the seeds perfectly for this movie. While this movie is okay for what it is, the franchise really needed to make that missing chapter.
Though the movie end result is kind of a letdown, it doesn’t stop it from being an alright story or in this case, stories. The movie is presented in two separate storylines: Team Godzilla and Team Kong. Team Godzilla sees Madison Russell (played by Brown), her friend (played by Julian Dennison from Deadpool 2), and a podcaster named Bernie (played by Henry) trying to figure out why Godzilla has suddenly flipped on humanity. Instead of keeping Titans in check/ making sure the earth is safe from creatures like him, Godzilla is now a lot like his incarnation from the 50s and 60s. Meanwhile, team Kong sees Dr. Ilene Andrews (played by Hall), Dr. Nathan Lind (played by Skarsgård), and a little native girl named Jia (played by the talented Kaylee Hottle) trying to find a new home for the eighth wonder of the world. Of course, like all separate storyline movies, they come together but not the humans (which is another con to this movie). The stories come together in the form of the title of this movie.
The human cast members do pretty well. Characters are given quotable lines and don’t seem too silly which was a tiny problem Kong: Skull Island seemed to have. Rebecca Hall and Skarsgård are good in their roles as the two scientists. Young Kaylee Hottle is amazing in this movie. Being a young real life deaf actress must be tricky, but with the screen time she has, she does well. Of course, Millie Bobby Brown is good like she is in almost everything she is in. Instead of being the sideline character like she was in King of the Monsters, she gets a more prominent role and makes a good leader for team Godzilla. Kyle Chandler is the one who is sidelined here. Instead of being the protagonist once again like some wanted, the man only gets about ten to eighteen lines of dialogue and maybe five minutes of screen time. That’s another disappointment to the film. But people don’t want to see this movie for the humans.
The fight scenes are a great pro to this film. While the aircraft carrier fight shown in the trailers is thrilling, the fight in Hong Kong towards the end is the one that viewers will be waiting for. Not only is it wild and exciting, but it is filled with nods to previous incarnations and films from that past that featured these two beloved characters. When Kong shoves the axe down Godzilla’s throat, immediately the fight scene in 1962’s King Kong vs Godzilla popped in mind.
Also, this is way more of a King Kong movie than a Godzilla movie. In fact, it’s as if everything from the original 1962 film is reversed. That one was made in Japan and was much more of a Godzilla movie than King Kong. Godzilla vs Kong was made in America, plus the names in the title are switched here as well.
Overall, Godzilla vs Kong is a decent entry to the MonsterVerse and a decent giant monster movie overall. If somebody wants to see two giant creatures go at it or if anyone wants to just sit and watch a decent monster movie in general, then this is one of those films. As a follow up to Godzilla, Kong: Skull Island, and especially Godzilla: King of the Monsters; it’s okay. It has great effects that look incredibly real and fight scenes that are very enjoyable. It gives the viewer what it wants overall, and it definitely has a good villain (Godzilla and Kong are not the villains, but a familiar face is). But as the finale to the MonsterVerse, it is definitely not. It needed that missing chapter of the MonsterVerse before this movie.