March 29th, 2021
MOVIE: GODZILLA VS. KONG
STARRING: REBECCA HALL, ALEXANDER SKARSGARD, MILLIE BOBBY BROWN, BRIAN TYREE HENRY, DEMIAN BECHIR. EIZA GONZALEZ
DIRECTED BY: ADAM WINGARD
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 4 STARS (Out of 4)
The very existence of Godzilla vs. Kong is insane. In no way, shape, or form should there be a movie this big, this loud, this bonkers; and what’s even crazier is that it all works. Not only is Adam Wingard’s foray into the Godzilla universe a massive battle between two legendary kaiju monsters, but it’s also a fascinating sci-fi film. It’s all about a crew of scientists and a child that can communicate with Kong, venturing to the center of the planet, looking for a way to save humanity from total destruction. At the core of the plot is the battle between Godzilla and Kong, but there’s a fascinating dive into themes about capitalism, scientists going too far with their creations, and humanity finding peace with the monsters. Godzilla vs. Kong is a whole lot of movie and it is glorious.
The various characters are separated into three groups surrounding the monsters: There’s Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall), working for Monarch, taking care of Kong in a giant dome on Skull Island. She studies the ape’s way of living, along with her adopted daughter Jia (Kaylee Hottle), who has become Kong’s only friend. When the second group of scientists, led by Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgard), with the financing of Apex Cybernetics CEO Walter Simmons (Demian Bechir) and his daughter Maya (Eiza Gonzalez), comes a proposal to Andrews to use Kong to guide them to an entirely new civilization, a whole other world in the center of the planet called “Hollow Earth”. The third group is Millie Bobby Brown’s Madison Russell, back from the last Godzilla installment, and this time with friend Josh (Julian Dennison), and insider Bernie (Bryan Tyree Henry) looking to find out what is really going on with Monarch and Apex controlling Godzilla. With these giant beasts destroying cities, there just has to be something else going on, someone with an answer to why these two monsters suddenly want to attack a civilization they once protected.
It helps to say that Godzilla vs. Kong is a clear cut third installment in the trilogy and the entire series has felt exactly like that, a beginning, middle, and now an end. That’s not to say that Hollywood won’t continue to churn out more monster movies, but after the initial success of Gareth Edwards 2014 Godzilla, followed by the behemoth Royal Rumble that was Godzilla: King of the Monsters, we now close with a movie that is everything. We see Kong and Zilla duke it out, fighting while surrounded by a fleet of Navy warships. We go to a new world that would make Jules Verne blush, with creatures that Guillermo del Toro would love, and a loud sound design that will make your seat shake no matter where you’re watching it. It’s only a given that Godzilla vs. Kong has a climactic fight in Tokyo, which is what places the kaiju cherry on the top of this Monster-piece. If you have been waiting to see a Godzilla movie on a massive scale, with gorgeous visuals of the lizard king fighting, screaming, and smashing into buildings, you get all of that and way more.
There’s so much that Adam Wingard has cobbled together, working from a story by Terry Rossio, Michael Dougherty, and Zach Shields; With the screenplay written by Eric Pearson and Max Borenstein, it’s incredibly shocking that any of it would be coherent. And yet, Wingard knows exactly what series of movies he’s working with, making a movie that not only shows honor to the later Toho films in the series, but also sprinkling in his own appreciation for science fiction, with a dash of Jurassic Park, a electric score by Junkie XL that reminded me of Vangelis’ work on Blade Runner, an adventure into the unknown that reminded me of The Goonies, and massive scale monster battles that look better than anything we saw in Pacific Rim. The point of the matter is that this is a Godzilla movie, a genre of cinema that is supposed to be ridiculous, meant to be wildly entertaining, and Godzilla vs. Kong is the most ridiculously entertaining movie you will see in 2021. There’s nothing else like it.
And yes, the humans are not deep factors, although the young child Jia is a beautiful center to the story, about the relationship with human and monster, the child whose people were destroyed by the big global tech giant, and lives to be the missing piece of it all. The highlight is above it all Godzilla and Kong. Visually stunning kaijus, pummeling one another, screaming louder than a t-rex, gnashing their teeth, crashing into the world’s tallest buildings, and delivering action at every turn. This is the Ali vs. Frazier, the Jordan vs. Kobe, or Goliath vs. Goliath. Godzilla vs. Kong is the mother of all monster movies. See it big and see it loud.
GODZILLA VS. KONG IS PLAYING IN SELECT THEATERS AND THIS WEEK ON HBOMAX
Written by: Leo Brady