There is perhaps no bigger way to announce that blockbusters are back in post-COVID cinemas then to let two titans like Godzilla and King Kong go head-to-head. The Godzilla/Kong franchise has bubbled along nicely for Warner Bros over the past seven years and now it roars back to life as the two titans come to some pretty impressive blows in Godzilla vs Kong.
Directed by Adam Wingard (Blair Witch) the film sees the giant creatures go to war after Kong expert Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall – The Town) and her adopted daughter Jia (newcomer Kaylee Hottle) are persuaded by scientist Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgard – The Legend Of Tarzan) to bring Kong out of his protected environment in a bid to help with a scientific discovery that could save humanity.
Meanwhile on the other side of the world the determined Madison Russell (Millie Bobby Brown – Stranger Things) and her friend Josh Valentine (Julian Dennison – Deadpool 2) have joined forces with conspiracy theorist Bernie Hayes (Brian Tyree Henry – Widows) to try and clear Godzilla’s name after it appears that he attacked a city for no apparent reason.
However, once Godzilla realises that Kong is out and in the open he proceeds to attack the giant beast in a bid to become the ‘alpha’ placing the lives of all on Earth at risk.
The plotline of Godzilla vs Kong is pretty thin but of course nobody is going into this film expecting an Oscar-worthy script – no this is a film that is designed to be a visual spectacular and that is certainly the case from start to finish. If you want action then you’ve come to the right place because Godzilla vs Kong delivers it in spades.
The one thing you do very quickly realise with this film is that it is very much a Kong film. The film is largely told through the eyes of those who surround Kong ie. Ilene Andrews, Nathan Lind and Jia, and for the most part Kong is the hero of the tale and Godzilla the villain. That also results in strong storylines developing around those characters and Kong while the interest in the team trying to ‘clear’ Godzilla at times wanes as it is mainly one dimensional.
What saves the film though is the brilliant action sequences that see the two kings of the Monsterverse go head-to-head. To the credit of the filmmakers they don’t hold back on those scenes and the two epic battles are more than enough to fulfil those who criticised Godzilla: King Of Monsters for its lack of action. And yes the rumours are true – both battles easily last longer than 10 minutes on screen each. With some amazing special effects and the brilliant eye of Wingard and cinematographer Ben Seresin (World War Z) these battle sequences come to life in a way that fans of the franchise could only dream they could. They also have the sense not to be cutting away to minor characters during the battles and instead just let the beasts host their own version of Smackdown.
When it comes to the acting side of things you get both good and bad with Godzilla vs Kong. The talented Kyle Chandler (Super 8) feels wasted with his limited screen-time but both Rebecca Hall and Kaylee Hottle shine as the carry most of the ‘human’ side of the film. You expect that someone with the experience of Hall could do that fairly easily but huge credit must be paid for Hottle for doing so. This is the first acting performance for the young hearing-impaired actress and her performance brings back memories of Drew Barrymore in E.T. or Kirsten Dunst in Interview With A Vampire. Like them she never seems to be over-awed by the scale of the film or by the experience of the actors around her and instead she makes her own mark as a star.
Godzilla vs Kong is the kind of film where you are willing to overlook some pretty obvious continuity errors and weak storyline simply because of the amazing special effects and action sequences. While the film is not likely to be an award winner it will certainly win over fans of this franchise with ease.