Godzilla vs. Kong is the 4th film within Legendary Pictures MonsterVerse, a franchise I haven’t been wowed by so far. The action is consistently superb, but Godzilla (2014) didn’t feature enough of its titular character and killed off the only interesting human in its first act, whilst Kong: Skull Islandwas a mess tonally and the less said about Godzilla: King of the Monsters the better. Despite my issues with the previous films, my excitement for this movie was undeniably through the roof. This was two heavyweight beasts fighting it out for the first time in the modern era, and I’m so happy to say that it lives up to the hype.
Clocking in around 105 minutes, it’s the shortest film of the franchise, which means it’s tighter and nicely paced and the action sequences throughout are some of the craziest and most outrageous I have seen in quite some time.
With the world still shaken from the battle between Ghidorahand Godzilla, humanity has begun to try and co-exist with the Titans. But after Godzilla begins his own reign of terror, humanity must call on another legend to stop him: Kong.
After going on a one-ape rampage through monsters and civilians in Skull Island, Kong here is instantly made the hero of this story. Throughout are some charming scenes with his character, particularly with deaf child Jia (newcomer Kaylee Hottle) and you are always rooting for him to win. Godzilla is the out-and-out anti-hero to events but it’s never obvious who is going to win their bout, and as expected it goes all the way!
The human characters sadly remain one-note, but thankfully none of them overstay their welcome. The series has always failed to bring to life any of these characters, many proving unrealistic for the most part, yet taking up most of the run time. Brian Tyree Henry (Paper Boi in the excellent Atlanta) is a welcome addition, but his sub-plot with Millie Bobby Brown’s character is incredibly pointless and their pay-off at the end is eye rolling. Rebecca Hall and Alexander Skarsgardhelp keep us up to date with the plot, but both are totally unmemorable.
You’re going to see this film for one reason only, and that is to watch some huge-scale monster action, and it delivers everything you are looking for. After a solid opening 30, their first showdown at sea really sets the tone with an epic battle of utter carnage. From there, the stakes only get higher and it all concludes in a City-destroying faceoff in Hong Kongwhich makes Man of Steels’ finale look like child’s play. It is frustrating to see the sheer lack of recognition to what must be a death-toll in the millions, but if you can go with it, you’re sure to have a lot of fun.
Whilst the writing can be inconsistent, the directing is one of the biggest takeaways from the film. Director Adam Wingard (You’re Next) puts you right in the thick of the action, with insane 360-degree camera flips and POV shots from the titans as they punch one another. It really adds a thrilling layer to the movie.
The only way to legally watch the film right now is by rental via Sky / Amazon etc at the extortionate price of £15.99. It is a real travesty that my first viewing of this film was not at the cinema, as this was a film destined for the big screen, but I am hopeful that when Odeon opens again they will be able to possibly screen a few showings.
The story is undeniably nonsensical and there are some frustrating plot holes, but this is monster mayhem of the highest order and one of the more enjoyable action blockbusters in a very long time.
Verdict: The best monster movie in recent memory, Godzilla vs. Kong delivers everything you expected from this heavyweight showdown with thrilling action, terrific directing and a rousing good time.
Best Moment: The battle at sea is one for the ages.