By: John M Jerva
The Review: I can’t tell you how much it’s been agonizing to wait for the soon to be certified epic Godzilla Vs Kong to finally be released. After all, the film which unites two of the most iconic cinema monsters ever, sounds like a sure fire recipe for a city stomping good time at the theaters. Then the delays happened. The movie was supposed to be released much earlier but the filmmakers halted the launch to ensure that the movie they were making was the best one possible. After the luke warm box office reception of Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures were nervous about the most anticipated entry in their monsterverse franchise. Then COVID hit and more delays happened. For fans like me, it’s been cinema hell to say the least.
Well, the wait is over and this week sees the release of the finished product that will see Godzilla and King Kong on a collision course of gargantuan proportions. The only question that remains is whether or not the movie is actually worth the wait. Will this entry satisfy fans and does the showdown equal the stuff of legend?
I can only say, as someone who grew up with these iconic behemoths and has always regarded these types of films as a religion, that the answer is a resounding Yes! Is it a perfect movie? No, but once again no movie is in my opinion but some are damn close and with Godzilla Vs Kong, director Adam Wingard has delivered a true love letter to the fans and has crafted a city wrecking epic that not only exceeds expectations, it flat out stomps them into oblivion.
First off, let’s talk about the plot. With Godzilla Vs Kong, we see a world that is trying to survive and be somewhat normal as it is anything but with Titans not only existing but always posing a constant threat. At anytime, one large and in-charge Kaiju can show up and literally destroy everything in its path. But with evil Titans there are those that seek to protect us and their world. One such protector is Godzilla. More than once, the King of the Monsters has shown up to save the day.
Unfortunately, something is seriously wrong and Godzilla is destroying instead of protecting. The giant lizard shows up and decimates the Apex Cybernetics Industries facility leaving nothing but fire and wreckage in his wake. The casualties and damage is high. Why did this happen? What prompted this once Titan savior to go full on Darth Vader?
At the same time, Monarch is keeping Kong secluded in a safe and undisclosed site on Skull Island because to let him roam free would lead to a inevitable showdown with Godzilla because you can’t have two Aplhas running around without something happening. Basically the world isn’t big enough for the two of them. So Kong, who has bonded with a young deaf girl, goes about his everyday existence although he knows that there is a much larger world out there and he is being held in check.
Now it turns out that Kong is needed for a very important mission which involves the center of the earth also known as hollow earth so the course is set for an epic throw down as there is a massive human conspiracy in the works that threatens the world and all that inhabit it. As one character puts it, “the world needs Kong.”
Now, let me say that the one problem I always had with Godzilla movies or Kong for that matter is that I never much cared for the human element of the films and only waited for the true stars of the movies to show up and fight each other to the death. I understand that you can’t just have 90 plus minutes of monsters smacking each other around so there has to be humans for the audience to relate to but with me it was always about the Kaiju carnage. I’m sure I’m not alone with this opinion.
With Godzilla Vs Kong, we have two human subplots at play with the first being Rebecca Hall’s Dr. Ilene Andrews and Alexander Skarsgård’s geologist Nathan Lind on a massive quest to the center of the earth with Dr. Andrews’ adopted daughter, Jia (Kaylee Hottle) along for the ride to keep Kong in check. The young girls shares a special bond with Kong and she is able to keep him in line. The other plot sees the return of Millie Bobby Brown’s Madison who was in King of the Monsters as she sets off on a mission to find out why Godzilla is anything but good lately. She knows deep down inside that there is something making Godzilla do this and she’s going to find the answers. With her is her friend Josh played by Julian Dennison and they team up with Apex employee and Titan conspiracy nut Bernie (Brian Tyree Henry) who serves up the film’s comic relief. Kyle Chandler is also back for more but now in more of a cameo role in this one.
On the human villain front we have Apex billionaire Walter Simmons (Demián Bichir) who is shady from the get go and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to deduce that he’s behind the conspiracy to control the Titans and with him we have his daughter Maya (Eiza Gonzalez) who is a class A bitch and does his bidding. According to her, daddy always gets what he wants. Add in Simmons’ right hand crony Ren Serizawa (Shun Oguri) and it is obvious that they have something very sinister at play here that will put the world in mortal danger.
As humans go, everyone does a fine job with the material at hand but again it’s all about the Titans here and the real reason why we are watching the movie in the first place. It’s no secret that we all came here to see Kong and Godzilla embrace in their full on MMA death match and what a match it is. This is a pretty much spoiler free review but I will tell you that their first round shows up around 37 minutes in and it’s everything you could want and more. This is the fight that takes place on the seas and an aircraft carrier where legends deliver the goods for us starving fans. These two don’t like each other and ther are a lot of unfortunate humans in their wake as their first bout destroyspretty much an entire fleet of ships.
One of the biggest complaints of King of the Monsters was how dark it was and how hard it was to see a lot of the action when it finally arrived but here Wingard fixes all that as their first showdown takes place in the light of day with vibrant colors and awesome CGI. Wingard knows that it’s these two we have come to see snd he delivers them in a scene that is well choreographed and make no mistake, you can see all the mayhem on display. The inner child in me was having a field day to say the least and to finally witness the cage match after so many delays, well lets just say that It’s as advertised but that was only the teaser.
After the initial setup, the rest of the movie is pretty much on full throttle as the human element races to stop the deadly conspiracy and Godzilla and Kong reconnect for another epic round of king of the mountain. Wingard puts the foot on the gas and it’s time to buckle up and enjoy the Kaiju filled ride.
The second round, which takes place in hollow earth as well as an unfortunate Hong Kong, is even better and when Kong and Godzilla meet up again it’s at night but fortunately the problems of the last film are non existent as the action, city destruction and final battle are clear as can be and the mayhem is lit up by the neon lights of the city that is their playground. The choreography for their fight is well executed as well and each monster is given their moments to shine. Think of the cheesy 1968 version King Kong Vs Godzilla on massive steroids and with 100 times better special effects and there is even a slight homage to the original if you look hard enough. I enjoyed that film growing up but this is the film that these two so rightfully deserve. I will say that Wingard was true to his word as one does eventually fall and there is a clear winner but that’s not all to the story and that’s all I’ll say about the outcome. It’s so good though and it’s something you’ll want to see again and again.
Going in, I had a theory as to what was really going and why Godzilla was unexplainably naughty and without spoilers again I will say that I was right to a degree and there is a true nemesis at play who makes their debut in ht elast frame and the final round is everything we could hope for and more. This is the only problem when I write reviews because I want to say so much more but I’ll be good and keep my lips sealed so all of you can enjoy when you view it for the first time.
One disconcerting fact that I will bring up is at at the present time there is no next entry in the monsterverse in development and I suspect that’s Warner Bros. playing it safe due to the last movie. Hopefully in this day and age of COVID, the box office and streaming numbers will warrant more of these because after seeing Godzilla and Kong on screen together, fans will assuredly want more and more. The ending is glorious and the last shot is picture perfect but here’s to hoping that this isn’t the last chapter in the story because there is way more to the story that needs to be told. I might be biased when it comes to the material but I don’t care. This is why you go to the movies…pure and simple.
To sum it all up, Godzilla Vs Kong is a city smashing, Kaiju fighting love letter to the fans who grew up with this mythology and even for the next generation to enjoy. Too many times, team ups like this are hyped up so much and they come crashing down when they don’t deliver what was promised. That’s not the case here and even tough there’s those who will find fault with it you can’t please everyone. This is one reviewer who was not only satisfied but it exceeded all my lofty expectations. This is the epic that is befitting these two legends and even though Godzilla is played as more of a heel throughout, there is still a redemption factor that is befitting the King of Monsters. It’s clear that these two will bow for no one and we as an audience are the winners for it. Wingard has given us a spectacle to behold and it’s everything you could want and more. One will fall but two will rise and the summer blockbuster has officially returned in March of all months. Godzilla Vs Kong is a city wrecking near masterpiece. Humans aside. When you watch it, sit back, relax and let you inner child out for two hours. It’s worth it.