‘Godzilla vs Kong’ Review: A Visually Spectacular Monster Showdown
Godzilla vs. Kong is an epic monster showdown that is blissfully unaware of the ridiculousness of its plot. Refusing to acknowledge the simple pleasures, but thin narrative, it provides, the film instead tries to elevate itself to mythic levels. In the opening credits, the conflict between the titular characters is framed as a fated clash of titans. Both creatures have left a trail of bodies behind them, with every battle leading up to this decisive moment. Their final round in the ring is much anticipated, and where the fights are concerned, the film does not disappoint.
After growing too powerful to be contained on Skull Island, Kong is transported away from his home so he can aid a scientific mission to enter Hollow Earth, the centre of the Earth that is said to be the birthplace of Titans. He is accompanied by scientists Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall) and Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgård), along with an orphaned girl named Jia (Kaylee Hottle), who Ilene has taken under her wing. However, Kong’s relocation draws the attention of Godzilla, and the mission has a secret, nefarious purpose that is linked to tech company Apex. Elsewhere, Madison Russell (Millie Bobbie Brown) learns of the Apex conspiracy theories and decides to investigate alongside conspiracy theorist and podcaster Bernie (Brian Tyree Henry). Eiza Gonzales also co-stars.
Just by reading that synopsis, you get a sense of how over-inflated the plot is, and how many characters are stuffed into it. They are all necessary to the story, but are mostly undeveloped and easily forgotten about. This applies to Gonzales in particular. Her part is so small that you could easily forget that she was even in the film. However, the little attention paid to the characters seems to be a calculated choice. Godzilla vs Kong is aware that the audience’s primary (and most likely sole) interest is in the Titans themselves. Because of this, time spent with human characters is perfunctory, with the aim of fuelling the plot.
The scenes between Jia and Kong are an exception. Jia is mute and communicates in sign language. Her scenes with Kong show that the two have formed a real bond, and humanise the giant ape beyond what Is expected. After this, I was firmly in the Kong camp, hoping that nothing bad would befall him. The film clearly wants Kong to be the more sympathetic of the two, though. Godzilla is given no redeeming qualities; he is simply a destructive, territorial beast. But this is what makes the battles between the two such a spectacle.
Trampling buildings and shooting beams of pure energy from his mouth, Godzilla is happy to obliterate anything in his path, with no regard for human life. He fights against Kong to assert dominance, and with the utmost brutality. Their conflict is tense, even though they are clearly not evenly matched. Godzilla is said to be more powerful than Kong, so the film encourages us to root for the underdog.
The visual effects are stunning, and the amount of catastrophic damage Godzilla and Kong cause means that there are plenty of opportunities to utilise them. This doesn’t just apply to the fight scenes. There are also other monsters to be found at Hollow Earth that add to the sense of a fully-realised MonsterVerse, where coming up against predatory creatures is a relatively normal experience. More importantly, they are simply cool to look at.
Godzilla vs Kong might not involve complex characters or an overly interesting plot, but that isn’t the point of the film. The focus remains on Godzilla, Kong, and their impending showdown. It builds anticipation for their final fight, and it definitely delivers on its promises.
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