Godzilla Vs Kong Review
Giant monsters fighting each other is let down by the hamfisted human stories interspersed throughout.
Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall) is a scientist in charge of working with King Kong. They have him trapped on his island for his own safety, afraid that when Godzilla discovers there is another Titan on Earth, he will rip Kong to shreds. Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgard), at the behest of an evil conglomerate led by Walter Simmons (Demian Bichir), convinces Ilene to bring Kong to Antarctica in pursuit of the Hollow Earth - a cavernous, monster-filled space in the middle of our Earth where Kong came from. Their movement attracts the wrong kind of attention however, and it puts Godzilla on their tails. As Godzilla and Kong duke it out in the ocean, Madison Russell (Millie Bobby Brown), Bernie Hayes (Brian Tyree Henry) and Josh Valentine (Julian Dennison) are hot on the trail of a tech creation in Hong Kong - Mecha Godzilla is here, and draws the ire and rampage of both Titans.
The easiest thing to cover off about Godzilla vs Kong is what it does well - which is exactly what it says on the cover. The handful of fights between Godzilla and Kong in this film are great; giant spectacles that feel bodily, destructive and brutal. There’s a lot of fun to be had despite the shaky physics, the ridiculous workarounds to make Kong remotely a match for Godzilla, and the seemingly constantly shifting size. When these guys duke it out, it feels visceral, and you’re sitting up in your seat loving every second.
It’s a shame, then, that this movie takes 40 minutes to get to any of that. The craziest thing about this film is how insistent they are on slogging through the most laborious plotting and workarounds to get these two Titans to fight one another. It feels like someone should have sat down with them at the start and just said “No one cares - make the monkey fight the lizard”. Instead, we get endless exposition about another evil tech company, massive logic leaps, a ridiculous C-plot around the Hollow Earth theory, and ever more garbage dumped on us. You’re slogging for most of the movie through something that, without the monster fights, would be unwatchable.
Then you’ve got the people. This franchise has always struggled with the human element of these stories - ever since the 2014 Godzilla. This film is another level though. We don’t care one ounce about any of the characters here. Dennison is unwatchable, Tyree Henry is laden with one of the shittiest characters ever written (by someone who maybe once heard at a great distance what a podcast is), Millie Bobby Brown eviscerates any acting bonafides her time on Stranger Things gave her, Eiza Gonzalez does nothing with the most cliche character of the film, and even Alexander Skarsgaard is phoning it in here. Only Rebecca Hall brings any credibility to her role, but then again it could just be that she seems competent when compared to an entire cast that seems to be coasting through in the lowest gear just for the paycheck.
Nothing can save this actioner from the bland betrayal of its human elements - not even these two Titans ripping each other apart.
Godzilla Vs Kong is a disappointing romp.