Getting to the visually stimulating action is a chore with this almost incoherent plot line only existing to let the CGI and sound departments run wild. Seeing these imaginary, oversized, creatures crashing through skyscrapers and roaring at each other lit up with neon is a spectacle, for sure.
The overriding theme is for Kong’s caring humans to get him back to his real home. There are scientist Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall) and the deaf, orphaned girl she cares for Jia, (Kaylee Hottle) Hottle, in her first acting role, is actually from a deaf family. She communicates with Kong through sign language (ASL) and taught some of the cast for the shoot.
Director Adam Wingard (Blair Witch), with writers Eric Pearson (Thor: Ragnarok) and Max Borenstein (Godzilla – 2014 and Kong:Skull Island) create three overlapping storylines, none of which are completely compelling. They are simply filler between the fight scenes which come late in the game. There isn’t much dialogue or even memorable lines. Rebecca Hall is capable of delivering much more than “Kong bows to no one.”
The opening sequence of Kong waking up in his jungle paradise and taking a shower under a waterfall to a doo-wap track is a fun start. This leads to the exposition that takes about 40 minutes as we’re introduced to the boring human characters and the fear that Godzilla will seek out Kong and destroy him to become the only Alpha Titan on the planet.
Alexander Skarsgård is barely there as another theorist brought in on the mission with Ilene and Jia to move Kong to the Hollow world in the center of Earth. One interesting aspect to this bizarro world is inverse gravity which is not well explained.
Dr. Mark Russell (Kyle Chandler) is a holdover from Godzilla: King of the Monsters, but is barely there. His daughter, Madison, (Millie Bobby Brown), is the fearless character leading her little band including her buddy, Josh Valentine (Julian Dennison-Deadpool 2, and wacky conspiracy podcaster Bernie Hayes (Brian Tyree Henry – Spiderman: Into the Universe). their attempts at humor probably played better on the page than executed here.
Sadly, Demián Bichir (Midnight Sky, Chaos Walking, Land), is another wasted opportunity. His character is paper thin and very one dimensional. He wasn’t given enough to make an impression in any part of this film.
Finally, there is plenty of action. when the special effects and sound effects kick in, they are super loud, colorful and neon infused. It’s especially effective when Kong and Godzilla are in the heat of battle flailing in deep water and crushing buildings as if they were toys.
It’s obvious that Wingard and the animators have a favorite child. Kong gets to be a much more complete character being able to communicate with sign language and facial expression than the cold-blooded, atomic breath lizard. The connection between Jia and Kong, could have been more of a heart-tugger.
It’s Hong Kong takes it on the chin this time in this re-match of the Titans that ultimately feels like a monster WrestleMania. For this franchise, that’s not a disqualifier. It leaves the door open for another rematch. But next time, we hope more attention is made to the living, breathing cast, along with the grapplers.
Warner Bros. 1 Hour 53 Minutes PG-13
In theaters only
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