When it comes to movies about giant monsters fighting each other, I don't ask for much. All I want to see is giant monsters fighting each other. The story is secondary, because, well, who needs a story when you've got giant monsters fighting each other?
So, when I heard that two of the most iconic giant monsters of all time would be taking on each other on the silver screen, I was excited. Godzilla and Kong have battled before of course, in 1962 Japanese film King Kong Vs Godzilla. While watching two men in monster suits tossing rocks at each other has an endearing charm, we've come a long way since then, and this Hollywood version happily ups the ante when it comes to giant monster smackdowns.
Godzilla Vs Kong is the fourth film in the so-called 'Monsterverse' franchise, which includes 2014's Godzilla, 2017's Kong: Skull Island, but it is more of a direct sequel of 2019's Godzilla: King Of Monsters, in which Godzilla took on various other 'Titan' monsters and claimed the title of the undisputed king of the Titan.
Here, Godzilla suddenly resurfaces after being dormant for three years to destroy several complexes owned by a company called Apex, headed by Walter Simmons (Demián Bichir). Madison Russell (Millie Bobby Brown), daughter of Dr. Mark Russell (the last movie's hero scientist, played by Kyle Chandler), decides to investigate the reason for Godzilla's seemingly unprovoked attack, with the help of conspiracy theorist Bernie Hayes (Brian Tyree Henry) and her friend Josh (Julian Dennison).
Meanwhile, to prevent Godzilla from locating him, Kong has been hidden away and contained on Skull Island, where Dr. Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall) has been studying him, accompanied by her adopted daghter Jia (Kaylee Hottle). That peaceful existence is disrupted, however, when Kong is 'recruited' by scientist Dr. Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgård) to search for a power source that might also solve the mystery about where the Titans come from.
All that story is of course, building up to a showdown between the two Titans, and boy, do those battles deliver. It's just a shame that so much time is spent on the little humans that run around under their feet, trying desperately to make us 'feel' the human side of things. The movies sags significantly every time the action cuts away from the two Titans.
At least Skarsgård and Hall's adventure with Kong is central to the movie's main plot, with Hottle's performance standing out even among the adults. The same cannot be said about Brown's Godzilla-centric arc, which feels completely pointless beyond building up towards one major revelation right at the end.
Fortunately, when it comes to the monster melees, Godzilla Vs Kong delivers in spades, enough to make you forget those puny humans ever existed. Unlike King Of Monsters, where the fights between Godzilla and the likes of Rodan and King Ghidorah were a mess of quick cuts and tight close-ups, the fights between Godzilla and Kong are a joy to behold.
Credit to director Adam Wingard for trying something different with the monster-on-monster mayhem, especially in their first throw down, in which Godzilla attacks Kong in the ocean, with the latter using a fleet of ships as platforms for which to launch his attacks.
The subsequent fights are more conventional city-destroying fare (with Hong Kong taking the brunt of the damage this time around) but the contrast between Godzilla's reptilian nature and atomic breathe and Kong's ape agility and more humanoid movements make for arguably the best fights in the entire Monsterverse franchise.
Watching these two titans of monster cinema duking it out truly reminded me just how much I've missed watching these kind of major blockbusters on the big screen. Big, dumb, but immensely fun, Godzilla Vs Kong is the perfect way to end a long lockdown period away from the cinemas.
Massively fun monster mayhem