by Drew Sutherland
Seven years after the establishment of the MonsterVerse, the long awaited battle between the two titans in Godzilla vs Kong released in theaters and on the streaming service HBO Max. The MonsterVerse is a four movie franchise centered around Godzilla and Kong, who has yet to receive his royal title. The franchise as a whole is a must watch for any fan of both large action set-pieces centered around monsters and underdeveloped human characters.
2014’s Godzilla began the universe, with a story centered around a man and his father as they learn about what really caused the nuclear explosion that destroyed their hometown. Spoilers, it was Godzilla. The movie then follows Godzilla, as he defends San Francisco from another Godzilla like being known as a MUTO, or a Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism. The second movie in the series was Kong: Skull Island released in 2017. This movie has a more action oriented approach with a very different, and lighter, tone than other movies in the MonsterVerse. It is also a period piece, taking place during the Vietnam War, which further shifts it away from Godzilla. 2019’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters is very heavy in monster action, but overall has both a forgettable plot and characters.
The pandemic made all of us a bit down, and watching this climactic showdown of a movie is exactly what someone feeling blue needs to experience as a pick-up. To get personal for a moment, there are two types of movies that I like: there are those that are objectively good, that are loved by critics and fans alike, and then there are those that are guilty pleasure movies. Godzilla vs Kong is the latter, and is very self-aware in this fact. It knows exactly what it is, and embraces it in almost every aspect.
To finally begin talking about the specifics of this movie, I will start with what I dislike. There is only really one factor of this movie that I disliked, and it was the fact that all of the human characters, and their performances, are not great or well-developed. However, it must also be considered that this movie only uses human characters as a vessel to allow Godzilla and Kong to meet and fight. In my book, that’s a valid reason and excuses some corny dialogue and major plot holes.
Now, this movie has so many amazing things going for it, as long as one does not take it too seriously, as it is about giant monsters fighting. To begin on a titular topic, every scene that involves a confrontation between Godzilla and Kong is fantastic in every aspect. The fight choreography is fun, dynamic, and introduces new changes to each of their battles, such as Kong having a weapon, a fight underwater, or Kong using the skyscrapers of Hong Kong as trees and jumping between them. However, the best part of the fights is that the lighting is so much better compared to other MonsterVerse movies, as the audience can truly see what is going on, with fights in brightly lit cities or during the day, rather than in the dark of the night. Also, this movie is stylized similarly to an 80s sci-fi flick, with lots of hovercrafts and bright neon lights, especially in the movie’s climactic showdown. This film had me physically roll my eyes (in a good way) at many times, such as when Godzilla and Kong both roared back and forth at each for a surprisingly long period of time.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I love humor, and so does this movie. If one is looking for a comedy, this is not the movie to watch, however there is a large amount of humor that breaks the tension of dramatic scenes. For instance, when a character spills another’s drink as Godzilla attacks, the one drinking exclaims, “You’re telling me I have to die and I have to be sober?”, or when the villain is revealing his evil plan but suddenly stops, and the same character jokingly wishes to hear the rest of his speech.
To conclude, watch this movie, I cannot recommend it enough. However, if you are looking for a deep plot with interesting characters and an emotionally charged story, look elsewhere. If you want to watch large monsters fight each other, you are in the right place.