In 2014 a legend returned from the depths. The colossal icon Godzilla came back to the big screen in a new blockbuster from Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures. While the film played homage to the kaiju it also became the focal point to a new cinematic universe known as the Monsterverse. This continuity would not only feature Godzilla but other titans such as Mothra, Rodan and Ghidorah, and all of these monsters were featured in 2019 sequel-Godzilla: King of the Monsters. Yet a cinematic universe needs a major event to bring everything together, and what better way to define this franchise then having two icons going head-to-head. In 2017 the movie world was reintroduced to King Kong in the blockbuster Kong: Skull Island. While the movie world was new interpretation of the colossal ape, it also set up the inevitable showdown between the Eighth Wonder of the World and the King of the Monsters. The two have clashed before in Toho’s King Kong vs. Godzilla, but now the icons duke it out in the massive blockbuster Godzilla vs. Kong– which is directed by Adam Wingard. Between defining the Monsterverse and reimagining one of pop culture’s biggest showdowns, there was much riding on this new movie. However, once the dust had settled it was clear to this Film Adventurer that Godzilla vs. Kong (in many ways) lived up to the hype.
The plot centers on scientists Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgard) and Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall) who embark on a journey with Kong to locate Hollow Earth: the birthplace of the titans. Meanwhile Madison (Millie Bobby Brown) goes on her own adventure in order to uncover the reason behind the spontaneous attacks by Godzilla. It was not the easiest thing to get into but the plot of Godzilla vs. Kong was acceptable. The biggest things holding the story back was its execution and structure. The plot had a difficult time conveying its ideas and their importance, and the pacing was a bit quick which made it difficult for plot points like Hollow Earth to flourish. Yet this is not to say that this monstrous plot was a disaster; far from it to be exact. While its idea could have been stronger, the story’s concepts were still engaging as Hollow Earth (despite the lacking execution) added more to the titan mythos. Furthermore, even if it was rushed in places, the plot itself was enjoyable from beginning to end. However, the story’s strongest attribute was its ability to blend the elements seen in both creatures’ respected series. From the adventurous aspects of King Kong to the disastrous scope of Godzilla, this plot excels at bringing these ideas together and it all lead to an intense climax worthy of both creatures-and any blockbuster for that matter.
The cast of this monster movie had its share of highs and lows. When it came to performances the cast was alright, but the characters themselves were problematic in both development and direction. New characters like Nathan and Ilene did not have much to them while Madison, whose progression was understandable from her role in King of the Monsters, had a hard time defining her purpose. Other characters like Bernie Hayes (Brian Tyree Henry) and Josh Valentine (Julian Dennison) seemed a bit excessive in their delivery, and Jia (Kaylee Hottle) fit the role of the magical child trope quite well when it came to her connection for Kong-though she did have some good moments with the colossal ape. When it came to villains the movie’s antagonists were as simple as they can be; then again this is nothing new when it comes to this franchise. While the human characters were problematic, the kaiju were (to no surprise) the true stars of the show. Kong turned out to be formidable protagonist while Godzilla’s presence was as impactful as ever; and together their moments felt like something special. The cast may have had its problems, but it also had its merit too; at least enough to make this group of characters a passable ensemble.
Godzilla vs. Kong was indeed a spectacle. The visuals were fitting in capturing the grandiose atmosphere for this blockbuster, and the cinematography was impressive in creating the movie’s major scenes. The music by Tom Holkenborg was also a highlight. Along with blending in Godzilla’s classic theme, the score was immersive and showed why Junkie XL is one of the best composers in the business today. All of these factors were instrumental in showcasing the film’s biggest highlight: the action. The action was not only exciting but inventive as well. This was evident in the battles between Godzilla and Kong as the clashes between the two icons were monumental in both scope and delivery and made everything about this movie worth the price of admission.
Godzilla vs. Kong is a blockbuster through and through. While the movie had its share of issues in the likes of storytelling and character development, it made up for these shortcomings by keeping true to the basics; plus, the movie having a good sense of spectacle did not hurt its presentation either. When it came down to it the point of this movie was to see two colossal icons clash, and despite the issues the movie definitely delivered where it not only did these legends justice, but also gave the Monsterverse a defining chapter in this monstrous franchise.