HOLLYWOOD—I did not like either of the recent “Godzilla” films. The first was an absolute bore and took more than an hour before the audience even saw the big character make his presence known. The second was a slight improvement, but not by a ton. As for “Kong” that first one by Peter Jackson was excessively long and just mediocre, however, “Kong: Skull Island” was a major improvement. So it would ONLY be fitting that at some point these two titans would appear on the screen together, and I give you “Godzilla vs. Kong.”
Are you expecting a spectacular flick with a riveting narrative? Then this is NOT the movie for you, but this is the perfect summer blockbuster that movie fans have come to expect, adore, and let’s face it after the 2020 we endured this movie was a blast. The biggest question I had going into this movie was: what in the world would draw these two titans to clash against one another?
I got that answer, and I wasn’t thrilled by the result, but I will say this: “Godzilla vs. Kong” has a stellar first act in my opinion, a dull second act and a thrilling third act. So 2/3 isn’t that bad in my personal opinion. If you’re looking for familiar characters, you really won’t see them this time around, except for Millie Bobby Brown’s Madison Russell, who appeared in “Godzilla: King of Monsters.” Madison plays a role in the narrative here, but she’s not front and center and it felt like the writers wanted to utilize her character a bit more, but weren’t sure how to actually make it happen.
The one character who was just intolerable for me was Bernie Hayes (Brian Tyree Henry), a conspiracy theorist, who previously worked at Apex Cybernetics; a company specializing in all things technology and bites off a bit more than it can chew. Bernie’s character attempts to be funny, but throughout the movie the laughs just did not deliver and I found the character more annoying than entertaining.
However, this narrative is primarily shaped around Kong himself, who has been entrapped in a virtual world to ‘protect’ him from outside factors: Godzilla being one of them and causing absolute turmoil on Earth. His habitat and survival is being monitored by Dr. Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall). I loved this character because you can tell she is not driven by attempting to control science or Kong himself and she is a nurturer, especially when it comes to Jia (Kaylee Hottle), a deaf orphan who is Ilene’s adoptive daughter. Jia is the heart of this movie people, and Hottle delivers a fantastic performance to say the least.
Jia has a bond with Kong, she understands him and Kong is protective of her. She uses ASL to communicate and to make the story that more fitting Kong communicates with Jia through ASL. Yes, this character is more than just a brute people; he has a brain and he has plenty of heart. Jia and Kong’s relationship is a major driving force of the narrative that draws the viewer in.
With the good, comes the bad, and our villain is Walter Simmons played be Demian Bichir, the Apex Cybernetics CEO who has a thirst for power. He has been building something that will rival Kong and Godzilla to say the least. He’s villainy, but not overly villainy, which is a bummer in my opinion. He is aided in his efforts to build the titan of titans by his daughter Maia (Eiza Gonzalez), who is also timid on the evil factor. If you’re going to produce a villain you have to have one that at least the audience hates intently. One final player in the story is geologist Dr. Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgard), who helps Ilene on their mission to discover what has prompted Godzilla to go haywire and instigate a fight with Kong.
Look the initial fight between Kong and Godzilla is amazing; it is visceral, visually stunning, explosive, catastrophic and every other adjective you can think of to describe something grand in itself. The problem is that initial battle is short-lived and we don’t see the titans go at it again until the third act of the movie. Is it thrilling? Yes, but I wanted that tension more throughout the entire film if I’m being honest. The film has a clever narrative, but it could have been fleshed out just a tad bit more if I’m being honest. Godzilla and King Kong are titans; the viewers expect a bit more from a movie of this grand scale.
It is satisfying, but I wanted to be overindulged in action, firepower, explosions and absolute chaos. “Godzilla vs. Kong” gives you tastes of it, but not the entire enchilada. With that said, the movie will entertain you, you will have fun watching it at home if you have HBO Max or on the big screen (I’d recommend the big screen because you’re going to have a lot more fun people).