A gigantic ape and a colossal lizard go toe to toe in director Adam Wingard’s Godzilla vs. Kong from Warner Bros. The legends collide in the film as these mythic adversaries meet in a spectacular battle for the ages, with the world’s fate being uncertain. Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall) has spent years studying Kong and serving as his protector along with her adopted daughter, the deaf Jia (Kaylee Hottle). To her surprise, Kong has formed a unique and powerful bond with Jia. Through a series of events, Ilene reunites with her former colleague Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgård). The trio then undertakes a perilous journey to find Kong’s true home.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, podcast conspiracist Bernie Hayes (Brian Tyree Henry) has just blown the whistle on Monarch and their evil doing. This catches the attention of Madison Russell (Millie Bobby Brown). Madison thinks something is up with her old friend Godzilla and his recent behavior. After her dad blows her off, Madison teams up with chum Josh Valentine (Julian Dennison) to find the underlying cause of Godzilla’s behavior.
Naturally, team Kong unexpectedly finds themselves in the path of an enraged Godzilla, cutting a swath of destruction across the globe. Evil executive Walter Simmons (Demián Bichir) and his equally conniving daughter Maya (Eiza González) instigate the epic clash between the two titans. The age-old war between Kong & Godzilla is only the beginning of the mystery that lies deep within the Earth’s core.
One of the first things I want to point out about Godzilla vs. Kong is the film does give a clear defined winner in the SmackDown between the two titans. While I will not spoil who wins, I will say that I am team Kong all the way. Writers Eric Pearson & Max Borenstein juggle the separate storylines between Kong and Godzilla effectively before the two’s initial face-off. A criticism of the monster’s separate films has been the lack of screen time for the Titans. I did not see that issue here, so kudos to director Adam Wingard for not wasting too much time on unnecessary characters.
However, I found Walter’s characterizations (Demián Bichir) and Maya (Eiza González) Simmons one-note. Both actors bring nothing to the table and clearly phone in the performance. I would have much rather seen Charles Dance reprise his role as Jonah from Godzilla: King of the Monsters. From the human characters, I identified more the humans on Kong’s side than those trying to stop Godzilla. Brian Tyree Henry, Millie Bobby Brown, and Julian Dennison do what they can with the material. Still, I just did not find them as interesting as Alexander Skarsgård, Rebecca Hall, and Kaylee Hottle. The latter trio gives off more of the acting vibes that are required for a monster film.
Whom am I kidding, though? Moviegoers obviously do not want to see humans in Godzilla vs. Kong; they want to see the titans engage in video game-style fisticuffs. On that front, the film delivers, and while I watched the movie at home, if you can see it on the big screen, I urge you to do so. Serving as the first big film to hit theaters in 2021, Godzilla vs. Kong is well worth the trip to the theater during the age of COVID. So mask up the family and enjoy yourself.
Final Grade: B
Godzilla vs. Kong is showing in theaters now and streaming on HBO MAX until April 30th.