The epic next chapter in the cinematic Monsterverse pits two of the greatest icons in motion picture history against one another – the fearsome Godzilla and the mighty Kong – with humanity caught in the balance.
Gloriously stupid and shamelessly over the top, Adam Wingard’s “Godzilla vs. Kong” is the sort of mindless bit of popcorn entertainment that’s been absent for far too long on the big screen. Of course, whether you actually missed this sort of large-scale urban mayhem and short-on-logic kind of movie, certainly depends on your preference for gigantic monsters going toe-to-toe or not. “Hamlet,” this ain’t. And that’s fine as spectacle such as this does serve a purpose- sit back, wallow in the silliness of this nonsensical monster mash and relieve a bit of stress.
For those keeping score, this is the fourth in Legendary Picture’s series they have dubbed the “Monsterverse,” a reimagining of Japan’s Toho Studios’ seminal Kaiju creatures (read: real big, destructive monsters) in a shared universe. The first two entries, 2014’s “Godzilla” and 2017’s “Kong: Skull Island,” were solid re-introductions of the titular creatures, while 2019’s “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” proved a major disappointment, a narratively muddled and visually murky feature that was a frustrating placeholder, needlessly delaying the showdown fans knew was in the offing.
The good news is that “Godzilla vs. Kong” is a vast improvement over its predecessor, an at times thrilling entertainment that delivers on the promise of the title again and again. The bad news – the story is a mess, a needlessly complicated, nonsensical affair in which Eric Pearson and Max Borenstein struggle to provide a sense of logic as to why the King of the Monsters and the Eighth Wonder of the World would want to duke it out. What they come up with is just plain dumb. What the duo fails to realize is that no one really cares why Kong is going to make Godzilla catch them hairy hands, they just want to see it happen!
OK, deep breath, here we go – Kong is trapped in a massive prison that resembles his home, Skull Island. He is being kept hidden because Dr. Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall) is convinced if he’s allowed in the real world, Godzilla will sense him and come looking for a fight. (Why she thinks this eludes me. Let’s just keep moving…) Meanwhile, nefarious industrialist Walter Simmons (Demian Bichir) has sought out Dr. Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgard), the author of the “Hollow Earth” Theory, in which he contends that, you guessed it, the Earth is hollow and that this is where creatures like Kong, Godzilla and their brethren have lived since the beginning of time. Seems that a massive energy source has been detected there and they need Kong to show them the way to where his ancestors might have dwelled, in order to retrieve it. Guess who they run into along the way…
Once spaceships used to breach the Earth’s core were introduced, I gave up trying to employ any sense of logic to the film. I was there for the fights and Wingard and his crew deliver. Everything you would want and more is present as our two heroes go beasto-a-beasto. Cities are laid to waste with style and imagination while a sea battle that finds Kong leapfrogging from aircraft carrier to aircraft carrier to battle the amphibious lizard is as much fun as it is silly.
Some may object to Godzilla’s one-note “performance,” but Wingard’s special effects crew give Kong a sense of expressiveness that’s astounding and worth the price of admission. Before the dust settles, a definite winner is proclaimed, a major cameo from the Godzilla universe occurs and you’ll realize you’ve been smiling all the way through this silliness. It’s not great art, but man is it fun…really, really fun.
Pam says: (From The Daily Journal)
“Godzilla vs. Kong” does tick all the right boxes of animation, artistry and larger-than-life characters, which will please all of the fans of this universe, but the writing, directing and acting boxes are empty with the exception of Hottle. If you’re looking for a fun story to escape and engage your senses, you’re not going to find it here.
To read Pam’s review as it appeared in the April 8th edition of The Daily Journal, go to https://www.daily-journal.com/life/reel-talk-godzilla-vs-kong-offers-action-lacks-acting/article_071e7dd2-922e-11eb-8fdf-ebea0b1a27c1.html