Hey you. I wrote this Review Just for You because I like you.I also like pizza.
Eric Pearson and Max Borenstein
For those of you wanting deep, heartfelt, character driven entertainment, then Godzilla Vs Kong is not the movie for you. Just in case you couldn’t tell that from the three previous Monsterverse movies.
Not to be confused with those limp Conjure-verse movies, even though both of them have Demian Bechir as a priest and a one-dimensional corporate villain. At least one of them doesn’t abuse altar boys.
If you need a recap, and I don’t see why you would. Let’s refresh.
- Godzilla (2014)- Godzilla walks around. Ken Watanabe speaks Japanese. A character driven Godzilla movie? Um…at least it’s better than the Roland Emmerich disaster (and not in a good way) starring Matthew Broderick from 1998. You like it, but it should have been much better.
- Kong Skull Island (2017) – Tom Hiddleston does nothing but speak in a British accent. Brie Larson does nothing but hold a camera. Samuel L. Jackson almost says “f*ck”. It’s uneven, but there’s more action and monsters than Godzilla.
- Godzilla King of the Monsters (2019)- So many well-developed monsters. So many poorly developed humans. Just fast forward every time more than one person appears on the screen. You get exactly what you asked for. No more, no less. Despite your expectations, The Shape of Water’s Sally Hawkins does not f*ck Godzilla or any of the other monsters.
Since all three of those movies performed well enough at the box-office to garner a fourth, there’s no reason to deviate from formula. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
And if it is broke, just throw in another fight scene because no one who sees this (especially if you’re brave enough to see this in theaters) really cares about plot development or whether the female characters pass the Bechdel test.
You want Godzilla Vs Kong? You get Kong Vs. Godzilla.
Though this is the fourth movie in the Monsterverse, this is not the first time Godzilla and Kong have starred in movies together - 5 Films in Which Godzilla and Kong are the Best of Friends, but this is the first time they’ve been antagonists. So sad.
Synopsis Before Everything Goes Boom!
GVK opens in a version of Skull Island. Kong is mad. He’s been imprisoned in this replica of Skull Island for years and he’s not having it. Fortunately for Kong, a little deaf girl named Jia (Kaylee Hottle) is there to calm him down. Kong has a thing for little Native American girls.
I don’t mean it in a Matt Gaetz kind of way, but that Kong is protective of Jia.
Dr. Ilene “Exposition” Andrews (Rebecca Hall- The BFG) says Kong is isolated for his own protection. If Kong were allowed to roam free, Godzilla would attack him as they’ve had bad blood for years.
Speaking of Godzilla, ever since the end of King of the Monsters, he’s been relatively dormant. He’s protected us when needed, but he hasn’t been seen for a while.
That’s not stopping podcaster/conspiracy monger Bernie (Bryan Tyree Henry- Child’s Play 2019, Joker), from positing kooky theories about totally harmless global corporation Apex. You see, Bernie works for Apex and has been secretly podcasting—
Sooner than you think—
Apex has been doing some pretty secret and not at all shady stuff. Bernie will get to the bottom of it and then spout it on his podcast.
Meanwhile, Emma (Millie Bobby Brown, last seen watching her evil then turned-good mother die in King of the Monsters) is still in high school, but she spends most of her time listening to Bernie’s podcast because she’s knows a thing or two about Godzilla. Emma and her portly sidekick Josh (Julian Dennison from Deadpool 2) are determined to find Bernie even though he’s super secretive and has so many layers of protection.
Emma and Josh find Bernie with little to no effort.
Later that night, Godzilla attacks Apex headquarters, looking for…something.
Godzilla’s been our protector for years and now he’s attacked a building. Why? It couldn’t have something to do with Apex owner Walter Simmons (Demian Bechir) and the super-secret goings-on at Apex. Probably not.
After Godzilla’s attack, Kong has to be moved so he can lead the way to a power that can defeat Godzilla. Like Lonely Island sang in 2009, he’s on a boat (on a boat), chained up and completely comfortable.
Until there’s a large ripple of water and Godzilla emerges. The exposition is done. This is what you paid your ticket/subscription for.
Oh yeah. Alexander Skarsgard (the shirtless one in Tarzan, the abusive one in Big Little Lies) is in this for some reason, playing a guy that does stuff. I guess. Doesn’t matter. No one with opposable thumbs is who you came to see.
What Works With Godzilla Vs Kong
- Godzilla Vs Kong. This is why you braved going to theaters again and it, or rather they, do not disappoint. The major fight scenes are sublimely rendered. No matter who you’re rooting for to win, you find yourself actually caring about what happens.
- Normally, lack of (human) character development would be a debit, but director Adam Wingard (the excellent You’re Next, the awful Blair Witch) knows the reason you showed up and turns up the action quicker than you’d expect, apparently learning the lessons from the 2014 Godzilla. No more time is wasted on the human characters than is absolutely necessary so you can move from one fight scene to the next. Take comfort in the fact that solid character actors like Rebecca Hall and Bryan Tyree Henry are getting paid handsomely to look at green screens and scream at tennis balls.
- “It’s (redacted) Godzilla”
- Shorter than Zack Snyder’s Justice League by 5 hours.
What Doesn’t Work With Godzilla Vs. Kong
- King of the Monsters’ previous holdovers Kyle Chandler and Millie Bobby Brown are completely wasted. Chandler does nothing but look at monitors in his scant screen time. Millie Bobby Brown doesn’t do much more. You could have completely eliminated those characters from the movie and it wouldn’t have mattered a whit. Again, the cardboard cutout humans aren’t important in a movie like this, but you could have given Eleven something to do besides ______. That’s not covering up a spoiler, it’s that Madison does nothing of any consequence.
Godzilla Vs. Kong is (by far) the best movie of the Monsterverse. Big, dumb (but not as dumb as you expect), loud, fun to take your mind off things. The most theater-worthy movie of the year, and that’s saying something.