Godzilla Vs Kong

GodZilla Vs Kong Film Review

Directed by: Adam Wingard

Written by: Eric Pearson and Max Borenstein

Starring: Alexander Skarsgard, Millie Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry, Julian Dennison and Kaylee Hottle

Full disclosure from the off, this reviewer did not do a deep-dive into King Kong and Godzilla films. A clear childhood memory is the music video for Puff Daddy’s track ‘Come with Me’ from which he sampled the Led Zeppelin song ‘Kashmir’. I also remember the film, which starred Matthew Broderick at the peak of his 90s fame, as terrible. In terms of the recent MonsterVerse franchise, which includes Godzilla (2014), Kong: Skull Island (2017) and Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019), the film featuring Kong is the only one half-way decent.

It just so happens that Kong is also the best thing about the latest installment. When we first encounter the giant ape, we are led to believe he is roaming free in his natural habitat. However, it turns out to be a giant simulator. Kong is essentially captive and he is not best pleased about it. What this film does well, continuing from Skull Island, is it makes this monstrous ape relatable, true to Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack’s original iteration of the character in King Kong (1933). Rebecca Hall plays a Dian Fossey type character in charge of Kong. She is not villainous. She accepts that the discovery of Kong will come with scientific interest, but is also careful not to let people be too exploitative. Her adoptive daughter Jia shares an especially chummy relationship with Kong.

Kong needs to be utilised because Godzilla has resurfaced and is particularly angry this time. We are told, through copious amounts of exposition dialogue, that Kong and Godzilla have an ancient feud. Essentially, like Peter Griffin and Ernie the Giant Chicken, when they meet each other they will automatically start duking it out. The plot is ludicrous, as you might expect. However, this film delivers on action set-pieces. As a viewer who gets easily lost in CGI effect laden fight scenes, the biggest compliment I can give Kong vs. Godzilla is that it is coherent in this regard. One gets the gravity of the situation and the film sells you the stakes. 

The human characters are thinly drawn. Alexander Skarsgard plays a geologist who supports the theory that the earth is hollow, and within the hollow space contains a plethora of Jurassic type creatures. Skarsgard brings his usual charm to an equally hollow role. In another narrative thread, a motley crew including conspiracy podcaster played by Brian Tyree Henry and two of his teenage followers, Millie Bobby Brown and Juilan Dennison try to get to the bottom of the reason why Godzilla might be so angry. 

It is a crying shame that Godzilla vs. Kong did not get a theatrical release. It is a popcorn flick made for the biggest of screens. The final battle is an epic sequence with reckless disregard for Tokyo and its inhabitants. It is a film that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and is all the better for it.