Monsters. Big monsters. Slugging each other. What more do you need to know than that? Godzilla vs. Kong brings us the delight of watching two behemoths battling away among a cityscape. Are the human characters as fun to watch as the peeved look Godzilla gives Kong? Is the plot needed to get to Kong giving grumpy glances at Godzilla really intelligent? Come on, folks, this is a monster movie. We want rampaging monsters among destroyed cities.
In the world left behind after 2020’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters, humans know that Godzilla is a protector against bigger, badder monsters, so why is Godzilla suddenly attacking coastal cities? Could the giant ape discovered in 2017’s Kong: Skull Island save the day? Why is Godzilla acting uncharacteristically moody? What is that secretive corporation up to?
The plot offers no major surprises, though a fascinating piece of scenery adds some new developments to a world of very large creatures. Director Adam Wingard wisely keeps the film to a tidy running time, knowing we don’t need too many dramatic human interactions; it’s the monster interactions that draw our attention.
The cast does what they need to do, whether it’s Alexander Skarsgård, Rebecca Hall and Kaylee Hottle (a very young and charming performer) helping Kong find Godzilla, or Millie Bobby Brown, Brian Tyree Henry and Julian Dennison exploring the mysterious goings-on at a corporation’s science lab. Along with Demián Bichir, Shun Oguri, Eliza Gonzales and the always welcomed Kyle Chandler, we have a cast willing to gaze at huge creatures in awe or fear.
The special-effects team gets the credit here. Creative shots from the monster’s point of view add fascinating depth to increase the excitement. Yet, a movie like this relies on special effects in making realistic but fantastic creatures. Kong feels real, and his reactions are believable—it helps that Kong has facial features similar to humans. We can tell when he’s disgusted, unhappy or excited. Godzilla’s inner emotional turmoil is more difficult to interpret. Does Godzilla find joy among all the destruction? Hmmm.
Godzilla vs. Kong is a perfect B-movie. Fun to watch, but nothing to dwell on afterward. You don’t want to pull on the plot threads too hard or it might unravel. You can watch it on HBO Max, but it might just be the movie for those of you ready to head back into the theaters.