Director: Adam Wingard
Starring: Alexander Skarsgard, Millie Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry, Julian Dennison
Written by: Eric Pearson, Max Borenstein, (story only) Terry Rossio, Michael Dougherty and Zach Shields
Running Time: 113 mins
Release date: 2nd April 2021
If there is one thing that we all have missed during these pandemic days, it’s sitting in the cinema and watching a big, dumb blockbuster on the biggest screen possible. Most of the films released over the past year have been perfectly fine on the small screen. Yet one thing that Godzilla Vs. Kong needs more than anything is a big-screen presentation. Fingers crossed, we will get cinemas open in the UK in May, and then this monster battle will get a cinema release, but until then, you can watch it on your telly box. My advice, get a giant screen or even a projector to get the full effect.
After saving the world from other titans, Godzilla hailed a hero and has now started to turn on the city. No one can understand why. The only solution is to bring in another titan who lead Godzilla into the hollow earth. That creature is Kong. Under protection on Skull Island, Kong is transported to Antarctica, where the giant ape goes on a discovery journey, with Godzilla in the background ready to attack. Yet there is something evil lurking, and it’s human-made.
After the disaster that was Godzilla: King of the Monsters, this fourth entry into the MonsterVerse from Legendary Pictures, is a step up, thanks to director Adam Wingard. The man who made the underrated Who’s Next and The Guest understands camera work, pacing and building tension. He also can light a movie, so it looks impressive on the big screen. Let’s face it, and all Wingard had to do is stage some big set pieces with the two legends beating seven bells out of each other.
He achieves this magnificently and delivers just what fans want. Two monsters are smashing, bashing and generally destroying everything around them. And then some. These sequences are big, loud, and, unlike the previous film, you can see the fights. As Kong is being moved on a sea haulier, the first encounter is spectacular and brimming with imagination as Godzilla smashes into the escorting army ships and Kong, all screams and pounding chests take on the giant lizard in a watery fistfight. Even though their first meeting takes 30 minutes to get to, it’s worth the wait.
Where the film fails to ignite are the often complex subplots in between the action. There’s the mega-rich corporation who are plotting to create a titan of their own. A group of conspiracy warriors infiltrate the company and find themselves in the heart of the final battle. A doctor and her deaf daughter, who is Kong’s one and only human friend. The journey to the hollow earth. None of these gel very well and cause confusion and massive plot holes. Thankfully they are instantly forgettable as we get another deliciously loud set piece.
The humans, played by a talented cast, are left with very little to do. Alexander Skarsgard and Rebecca Hall, on Team Kong, look with their mouths wide open. Simultaneously, as Jia, the deaf girl who manages to teach Kong sign language, young Kaylee Hottle is the only character you find yourself sympathising with. Millie Bobby Brown, returning from the previous Godzilla outing, is left wandering around with podcast conspiracy merchant Brian Tyree Henry and tag-along friend Julian Dennison desperately trying to bring light relief and failing.
Let’s face it; you didn’t come to see a Godzilla and Kong movie for coherent plots and character development. You came to see noise and destructions, and you get that. It might not be the best in the series of MonsterVerse movies (for me, Kong: Skull Island still holds that honour), but after King of the Monsters, this series looked dead in the water. After this, there is hope that the franchise can continue. Just shorten the film and drop the overly complicated subplots, and you will have the ultimate popcorn movie.
3 out of 5
Available on all streaming platforms for the premium rental of £15.99