With a year into the pandemic and dealing with a whirlwind of things, the trailer for this movie came out of nowhere and it was a film that I wasn’t ready for. Seeing the trailer almost convinced me that it was fake or some fan made film. However, the pandemic has a way of making the concept of time quite bizarre. This is no exception. I’m well aware that the movie industry has been growing, a MonsterVerse. This ongoing trend of creating film cinematic universes is now a hot commodity such as the Marvel Cinematic Universe, DC Extended Universe, and the failed attempt of the Dark Universe, thanks to the last Mummy movie. As well as the other trend of versus movies in recent years such as: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Captain America: Civil War, Freddy vs. Jason, Alien vs. Predator, Cowboys & Aliens, etc.
The idea of taking two beloved characters or ideas and pinning them against each other to see who would come out on top is nothing new. In 1962, there was the original battle between the greatest Kaiju’s (Japanese for ‘strange creature’), King Kong vs. Godzilla. I’ve never seen the film, but know that back then the film industry did not have the same special effects that they have today. Scenes in the film appear to be two men in foam suits fighting on a set of miniatures. I was excited to see with new modern technology what a King Kong and Godzilla movie would look like. Based on the trailers alone it appeared that King Kong was the protagonist with Godzilla being the antagonist. Yet, with the cannon cinematic universe in the previous two Godzilla films: Godzilla (2014) and Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Godzilla is a good guy. And in Kong: Skull Island, King Kong is also good. So knowing both of these behemoths would be trying to do the right thing, how were they going to set up this rivalry to the point they begin fighting each other in the most brutal way possible?
By being ancient enemies. The film Godzilla vs. Kong explains that Godzilla and King Kong come from a lineage in which they were always rivals and always had a disdain for the other. It is said that their ancestors fought each other. The film mainly focuses it’s attention on King Kong after Godzilla appears to be losing his mind and destroying entire facilities with one breath of his nuclear energy beam. A group of human scientists who you won’t care about except a deaf girl tries to bring King Kong to the center of the Earth in order to gain enough strength to defeat Godzilla. There is another storyline of humans to try and figure out what is eating at Godzilla which also isn’t important and is merely used for exposition. We just want to see these monsters battling to the death. I don’t know about you, but my money was on Godzilla, however, I wasn’t betting. Godzilla is a walking nuclear plant, can swim and breathe underwater, has spiky shells, a devastating tail and has the name “God” in his name as opposed to “King”. God beats a King. And King Kong is a giant monkey. Yet, Kong knows how to use the environment to his advantage from living in the wilderness at Skull Island. So, who do you think wins?
Before we arrive at the answer, I wanted to give my opinion on the pros and cons of this blockbuster. First off, one of the great things that Warner Bros. been doing is having new releases go on HBO Max. And lucky for me, I was able to watch this movie on a big flat screen TV in the comfort of my home with my family. However, this particular type of movie is best watched on an IMAX movie theater screen. You have two 400 foot tall giants engaging in mixed martial arts and destroying everything in sight. The visuals were colorful and the fighting was incredible. Don’t expect this movie to be nominated for an Oscar, except maybe for visual effects. Seeing Kong deliver a sucker punch to Godzilla and then seeing Godzilla shooting him with his nuclear beam was an awe spectacle and something I’d never thought I’d see on screen. It seems that all the film dreams I had as a kid have been coming true for the past ten years.
Kong makes his way to the center of the Earth and sits on a thrown as he begins to wield some Godzilla shell-axe like he’s Thor. Kong then uses the axe to fight against Godzilla in a later part of the movie when they battle in Hong Kong. What I love about this film is how much they gloss over the human part and how much it doesn’t care about the collateral damage and the potential millions of human deaths that occur during their final showdown in Hong Kong. What the other films in the MonsterVerse lacked was screen time for the monsters and the ability to see the monsters clearly in the daytime. The first round between Godzilla and Kong occurs on the ocean during the day. Godzilla swims his way toward King Kong when he senses Kong being transported by ship to the entrance of the hollow Earth. Then they fight and balance along a Navy ship, both Godzilla and Kong destroy the brigade of ships without a thought. Godzilla cuts through the ships with his scales while Kong uses them to jump on like in a platform video game. There are two distinct forms of fighting. Godzilla uses his own abilities while Kong uses his environment and delivers more of a wrestling-type fighting style. Kong tries multiple times to stop Godzilla from using his beam by smacking his head down with his axe and one time pushing the handle end of his axe in Godzilla’s mouth (this is similar to a scene in King Kong vs. Godzilla in which Kong tries to choke Godzilla with a tree). Godzilla sends a beam toward Kong which hits his back and as Kong winces in pain, Godzilla smiles in a sadistic fashion. Then as Kong tries to block, throw, and dodge Godzilla’s more blasts from his beams, claws, and tail, Godzilla gets the final blow which sends Kong to the ground. Godzilla presses his foot onto Kong’s chest as the two argue over who is more alpha. Kong roars and Godzilla does his classic call. Kong submits as Godzilla wins.
Although Godzilla wins, we find out that he was attacking a facility known as Apex Cybernetics and Monarch which was creating Mechagodzilla from one of the Hydra heads of King Ghidorah who Godzilla fought and killed in Godzilla: King of the Monsters. This robotic Godzilla equipped with missiles and it’s own form of red plasma beam beats the living crap out of Godzilla when it appears from the ground. Godzilla gets thrown into building structures like nothing. And Godzilla’s blue neon beam is no match for Mechagodzilla’s red beam. They have the classic beam battle that is very reminiscent of Star Wars and Harry Potter. Before we think Godzilla is about to be executed, Kong comes to the rescue and goes full-on fatality mode from Mortal Kombat on Mechagodzilla in which he dispatches the metal titan with the help of his rival, Godzilla. The two icons team up and it’s awesome! Before Kong joined the fight, one of the human characters (Alexander Skarsgard) who gives the same reaction look throughout the movie like Zoolander revitalizes Kong who appears to have died after his fight with Godzilla by shocking him with nuclear energy. It ends with Kong removing the head of Mechagodzilla and holding it up like a trophy to the world. He roars and pounds his chest like the king ape he is. The two Kaiju once ancient enemies, now potential acquaintances as Godzilla swims away from Hong Kong. Will they add each other as friends on social media? We won’t know until the sequel.
Now for the cons. The story wasn’t that great, the acting was meh, and I didn’t care about any of the human characters at all. The other character I liked was the little deaf girl who had a strong connection to Kong because they both understood sign language. There was one satisfying scene in which Kong completely disintegrates a useless and throwaway villain character. The conspiracy theorist character was okay, but would sometimes be a bit annoying. It did not bother me that the human side of the story was weak because it appears the director, Adam Wingard known for horrors like You’re Next, V/H/S, and Blair Witch wanted to focus on King Kong and Godzilla. This movie felt more like how the older monster films were betrayed with a greater focus on the creatures and the fighting than the humans. However, I wish they went more in depth with Godzilla. It would’ve been nice if we got perspective from Godzilla’s side of the story as I prefer Godzilla over King Kong. Though, Kong was pretty awesome and the film made you care about the giant ape. Kong appeared to be an aging ape who listened to 60s and 70s music and wanted to live in peace. Kong winds up living in the hollow Earth of where other titans coexist and we’re unsure where Godzilla swam to. The film starred Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things), Rebecca Hall (Iron Man 3), Julian Dennison (Deadpool 2), Kyle Chandler (Super 8), and Brian Tyree Henry.
This was a fun and entertaining romp with boring human characters and a convoluted plot. I give Godzilla vs. Kong 3.5 Kaiju out of 5 Kaiju. Where will the MonsterVerse go from here? Will we get a buddy monster movie with Godzilla and Kong teaming up to fight off the remaining evil Kaiju or will they have a second showdown? Tell me what you thought of the movie in the comments.