Godzilla vs. Kong
godzilla | king kong | godzilla vs. kong | adam wingard | eric pearson | max borenstein | alexander skarsgard | millie bobby brown | rebecca hall | giant monster | giant monsters | kaiju | sequel | remake | action | sci-fi | thriller | australia | canada | india
Film: Godzilla vs. Kong
Director: Adam Wingard
Writer: Eric Pearson and Max Borenstein
Starring: Alexander Skarsgård, Millie Bobby Brown and Rebecca Hall
This was a movie that I was really excited to hear was being made. Now I knew it was coming from the Easter eggs in the movies before it, but having seen some movies in other attempted cinematic universes, you never know. This one also got caught in the push back of dates with the COVID pandemic as well. I actually got to see this in this theater, which I haven’t been able to go to as often as I used to. The synopsis here is natural rivals, the fearsome Godzilla and the might Kong face off, with humanity caught in the balance.
We start this movie off with headlines that get us up to speed with the events of the previous movies Godzilla is the alpha titan in our world. To protect another one, King Kong, he is being held on Skull Island in a containment center. Studying him is Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall). Helping her is Jia (Kaylee Hottle) who is an orphan from the island. It appears that she might be friendly with the giant gorilla, but he is upset about how he is being held.
In Florida, we follow Bernie Hayes (Brian Tyree Henry) as he goes into work at Apex. He has a podcast where he keeps his identity hidden and he knows this corporation is up to something with titans. Today he is making a risky decision to steal data to hopefully blow the top of it off. Godzilla has other plans. He attacks this facility. In his escape, Bernie finds a mechanical eye, but he doesn’t have a lot of time to investigate it. Godzilla is also made to be the villain due to this and Monarch, the group that watches them, believes this giant creature is now their enemy.
The CEO of Apex is Walter Simmons (Demián Bichir). Along with his associate of Ren Serizawa (Shun Oguri), they go to visit Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgård). Him and his brother believe in the hollow Earth theory. His brother died trying to enter one of the theoretical tunnels there due to an extreme gravity shift. Nathan also believes that all of the titans are from there as well. The reason for the visit, Walter believes he’s created a high-tech machine that can make the journey. They want Nathan to lead the exploration mission. In order to make it though, he needs a titan.
Nathan actually has a relationship with Ilene. It appears to be rocky though. He does convince her to allow them to use Kong to help find their way in. The problem is that if they remove him from this containment habitat, Godzilla will see this as him vying to be the alpha and there can only be one. Walter doesn’t have the best intentions. He believes there is a power source down there. What he needs it for actually, could be the cause of power becoming unbalanced and agitating Godzilla.
Now I believe that is where I’m going to leave my recap for this movie as it gets you up to speed with what you need to know without spoiling this. Where I want to go next would be that I’m surprised by the continuity here. This feels like it picks up right where Godzilla: King of the Monsters left off and then incorporating in elements from Kong: Skull Island even though that movie took place in the past. That was strategic to allow King Kong to fully grow into his size. There is also a lot of wiggle room time wise there as well.
This movie is interesting with how much we focused on Monarch in the previous one. I don’t recall if Apex was a company that has been referenced or not, but I do think there’s an interesting thing with the name. The Apex being the highest point and this is supposed to be one of the leading companies for technology. There is a dual meaning here with what they’re doing secretively and I think that is an interesting nod as well as reveal for it. Walter Simmons is great as the head of this company as well. He seems like he’s a nice guy, but there’s just something not quite right about him as well.
What I also like with this story is continuing to build on the mythology. I like that they’ve shown us in previous movies that Godzilla and King Kong are long time enemies. This movie is interesting though that it is incorporating the conspiracy theory of the hollow Earth. We actually see this place in the movie. There is a bit off with the physics, but I don’t know enough to disprove it. I do like how it continues to build on the lore there. This actually feels a lot like what we got in Godzilla: King of the Monsters with seeing that temple he goes back to when he needs to rest. It just continues to deepen this mythology and I’m a sucker for that.
There was something in the movie that I wasn’t the biggest fan of. King Kong discovers something that made it feel like we are shifting to the Marvel or DC universe. Now where I’m more accepting of things like this in those, what really works for this Monsterverse is that they’ve grounded it in reality for as much as you can with kaijus destroying cities and battling it out on Earth. This weapon that King Kong finds, although makes for some cool battle sequences and levels the playing field a bit, I didn’t like it. That is really my only major gripe with the movie to be honest.
Moving away from the story, I want to next go to what everyone knows about these movies. They are giant CGI fest and to be honest, I thought it looked great. I didn’t have any issues with what they did. With the budget used, I think the details of Godzilla looks great. I’m still a fan of the approach they have to allow him to walk on his hind legs. I’m not as in love with King Kong’s look, but I don’t have any major issues there. They do well in the pacing to give us battle sequences or attack scenes. It isn’t an all-out battle, but I think with how deep they go with the story and characters, it has a good balance. We also get some minor giant creatures that I liked and there is a third major character as well. I won’t spoil it even though it was spoiled for me. It still didn’t ruin anything there. I did want to give a shout out that Adam Wingard directed this. Horror film fans know him and I think he did a great job with the cinematography overall.
I’ve already start to move into this, so I will go to the acting. I find the story of this movie to be interesting. Skarsgård is an underrated actor to me. He is good looking and I think people overlook his acting abilities because of it. He plays this reserved guy very well here. Millie Bobby Brown is solid as his rambunctious young woman. She continued to build on where she was in the previous movie. There is also a solid mirror of her with Hottle. I like that where Madison feels kinship to Godzilla, Jia has this with King Kong. I liked the addition of Hall. Henry brings some good comedy and investigation to his role. Oguri, Eiza González, Lance Reddick, Kyle Chandler, Bichir, and the rest of the cast also rounded this out for what was needed. I do like the personality that we also get with King Kong, Godzilla and the other large creatures in the movie as well, but most the prominent two.
Then really the last thing that I wanted to go into would be the soundtrack. I absolutely love that this movie is taking classic songs from the series and using them here. I really noticed a Godzilla one when him and King Kong first face-off in the ocean. Aside from those tracks that I recognized, the rest of the soundtrack fit for what needed in building up the feel that they’re going for. I really dug what they were doing for sure. The creature calls and sound design also helped to bring a sense of realism on top of that.
In conclusion here, I really like what they did with this movie. I tried to temper my expectations, but I think this one lived up to what I wanted. The mythology they’ve introduced helps to set the stage and they continue to build on it. I like incorporating conspiracy theories here to help deepen the story. The story around the kaijus works for me to help bridge the really good battle sequences. The CGI looks amazing to be honest. I like what they did with the soundtrack and sound design. I really just had a gripe with one aspect that takes some of the realism for me. Regardless, this was a really good movie. This is another I will watch before the end of the year to see where I stand with it as well.
My Rating: 8.5 out of 10