Adam Wingard’s “Godzilla Vs. Kong”, like many recent films, has seen its share of delays. But the time is now. This popcorn blockbuster is here. And I have to say it was a thrilling, gratifyingly adventurous cinematic ride that reminded me of something I really did miss during the quarantine summer of 2020. This movie was grand in scale. It was loaded with climactic action, and it tweaked the formula of the other films in this recent MonsterVerse just enough to result in a surprisingly compelling story to showcase its climactic battle of titans.
Where “Godzilla Vs. Kong” Thrives.
The most notable positive about this film was the visual appeal. That should be a given in these CG driven bonanzas, but that hasn’t always been the case. 2014’s “Godzilla” was carried by a collection of great performances. However visually, it was overly dark, and seeing Godzilla rip through a city in the finale was sort of a been-there-done-that closing.
“Kong: Skull Island” was a change of pace, with more daytime settings and colorful backdrops to let the digital-effects pop visually. It made up for human story elements that may have lacked intrigue. Then came “Godzilla: King of the Monsters”, a movie that should’ve blown audiences’ minds. Instead, with grainy visuals, an overuse of weather-effects, and poor lighting, it was a revert back to the titans last film that needed the brightness dialed up to actually see what was happening.
Here, the indulgent visual splendor is on full display. This makes the most exciting parts of the film, the most enjoyable sequences to sit back and take in. As it should be. The story progression creates unique ways to show its monsters clashing, and it was a major positive. It was awesome to see Kong out on a ship fighting Godzilla in the ocean. The exploration and conceptual design of Hollow Earth was able to give this film a truly unique setting as well. It was something we haven’t seen before, which only adds to the immersion of seeing Kong and Godzilla battling it out.
The human story-lines in these films have always been a weakness. The monsters have also primarily been used as plot-devices, but in this film, I felt there was more progression to the story-arcs of the monsters. Almost to the point you could feel that finally their story-lines took center stage over the human character tropes. The time was spent here to tell a new story. One of Kong and Godzilla, and I felt this was able to keep the pace moving. The humans here do play a pivotal role. They consume a bulk of the run-time as usual, but their narrative isn’t the focus, and it did feel fresh to see this seemingly typical blockbuster carve a new path in the genre of “Vs.” movies.
I enjoyed the performances as well. There are a LOT of characters here and the cast is able to bring life and personality to their roles. Despite a disjointed time spent with them as the story frequently bounces around. You may not get to really know these characters, outside of those returning like Millie Bobby Brown and Kyle Chandler, but there’s serviceable energy and personality in the performances to make the intensity hit while also allowing the moments of levity to land effectively as well. Which does create a smooth emotional ebb and flow.
Where “Godzilla Vs. Kong” Stumbles.
I wouldn’t say there were flaws here that are big enough to hinder the appeal, or the fun of sitting back and taking in the over-the-top chaos. Although the story-line did have some issues. It’s a bit choppy. It tries to fit a lot of material into two-hours, with a lot of characters. It results in three story-arcs progressing with each other and the back-and-forth between it all was jumbled at times. Some of the characters feel forgotten. Thus their roles in the overall plot-line do get lost in the mix. There were times a scene would change and focus on a few characters I had forgotten about with everything else going on. They do have an impact on things I suppose, and I wouldn’t call them useless. I would just say some of the story layers hindered the steadiness of the pace and could’ve been trimmed out to clean up the human side of the roster.
Final Verdict on “Godzilla Vs. Kong”
Definitely a must-see for fans of big popcorn flicks. It’s a mass consumable monster movie that could bring life back to theaters because seeing it in the cinema is a no-brainer. You can feel the filmmakers cared about these characters. You can see when watching that they wanted to make something fun and over-the-top, but still a narrative that embraced the source-material and I must say it was a success. It was a great time. I was involved and engaged from start-to-finish and seeing Godzilla and Kong battle it out, is how you versus, when you want to do a versus movie.
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