Years of build-up has been leading to this moment. Two of the greatest titans going up against each other in a showdown for the ages. Godzilla Vs. Kong is the latest chapter in the MonsterVerse – which has bought to life monsters such as the great Mothra and King Ghidorah, and now sees the mighty Kong going up against the fearsome Godzilla.
A film of this scale has people attending for one thing and one thing only – to see these giant monsters duke it out in a wild brawl. Now, there may be plenty of action within this film but there is always a human narrative… or in this case, several human narratives… that tie everything together. Sometimes they elevate the film and sometimes they are a detriment – here, there’s a bit of both. The human arcs are the through-line connecting all of the dots and getting these two titans to fight – nothing happens without being instigated or influenced by one of the human characters. I understand why human arcs are necessary, they just could have been toned down here, especially early in the film. There are a lot of human characters, and all spread out to different areas of the globe – with each group having their own influence on the narrative. Some of the relationships and arcs were quite interesting to watch – for instance the stuff involving Alexander Skarsgård’s crew, but then there’s Millie Bobby Brown’s crew whose presence is only there for one big reveal in the third act. There’s a very fine line to perfecting this balance and I feel they crossed a little too heavily onto one side.
Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgård) and the characters involved in his journey – Ilene (Rebecca Hall) and Jia (Kaylee Hottle) had the most screentime, and were part of the most engaging human narrative. The relationships involved in this arc were quite interesting and made the most impact on the story by a long shot. They bought heart and a touch of humour to the film, proving to be valuable additions. On the other hand, Madison Russell (Millie Bobby Brown) makes her return after appearing Godzilla: King of the Monsters and didn’t really need to be featured in the story as much as she was. She travels alongside Bernie (Brian Tyree Henry) and Josh (Julian Dennison), whose overall presence throughout the film is quite weak. They’re used to bring a lot of the comedic relief, some of which works, and to be the human link to a third-act story arc. It’s just odd since there are other human links involved in that arc that could have been fleshed out more, such as Demián Bechir’s character, who is otherwise very cliché and one-note. Then you have Kyle Chandler’s character who is completely useless – literally serving nor purpose to the film whatsoever. All that being said, regardless of whether a character’s arc was good or bad, the performances were all just okay, with no one aside from Kaylee Hottle really standing out too much.
Now, let’s go into what we all came for… the action. Anyone walking into this film looking to see the a brutal showdown is sure to get exactly that. The runtime sits at under 2 hours but there’s more than enough monster-fighting action to go around. The tension between these two beasts is felt throughout the entire film, constantly rising as their respective desires to be the Alpha grow with each punch. The story, despite being quite original and actually developing the MonsterVerse further than ever before, plays second fiddle to the action. It’s big, loud and whenever the two are on screen it’s just straight-up awesome! Adam Wingard has directed the hell out of this film – both in terms of expanding the universe well beyond what I’d ever expected and presenting the large-scale action sequences in all their glory. Every viewer is sure to get their money’s worth when it comes to seeing Kong and Godzilla fight for the throne, with every punch felt through the screen. The pacing is well done for the majority of the film, with the action sequences happening often enough that it really makes time fly. Some subplots veer off and slow things down a little, but it gets back to the main arc quick enough that it doesn’t hurt it in the end.
I don’t want to go too much into the rest of the film for the sake of spoilers, but let it be known that the score is powerful and the visuals are absolutely spectacular. Adam Wingard compiles every element of this film to the best of his ability and makes the years of build-up completely worth it. The showdown between Kong and Godzilla is a big one and it’s worth every single second. Fans of both of these monsters, which are being featured in one of the best ways they’ve ever been featured, won’t want the insane action to end. It is exactly what is advertised – a spectacle fight between two massive monsters… nothing more, nothing less. Place your bets now as to who you think is going to win…