A film like Godzilla vs. Kong is a tentpole release for Legendary and Warner Bros., but with all the dampened excitement as a result of the global pandemic, it seems like it’s slipping under the radar a little; and that shouldn’t be the case, as it’s one of the most entertaining monster mash-ups in years that fans and those unfamiliar with the Monsterverse will love in equal measure.
This isn’t the first time the two iconic monsters battled, though, as Kong and Godzilla first went head-to-head in 1962 film of the same name — so there’s a lot of history here. This isn’t a shoehorned face-off ala Freddy vs. Jason or Alien vs. Predator, but rather a dormant rematch that has been waiting in the wings for decades.
Furthermore, if you’ve been following Legendary’s revitalised Monsterverse starting with Gareth Edward’s brilliant 2014 Godzilla reboot, 2017’s Kong: Skull Island, and Godzilla: King of the Monsters, you’ll know that they’ve been teasing this monkey-versus-lizard battle for years; and we can proudly say, it lives up to the hype.
While Godzilla and Skull Island were somewhat grittier and darker in tone and realism, Godzilla vs. Kong fully leans into the bombastic lore of the two monsters’ worlds, full of crazy scientific experiments, futuristic technology, and even diving into the Hollow Earth theory in order to flesh out the universe. All the world-building does a good job though, and there are convincing bits of exposition throughout the film that really sells the idea that Earth is Kong and Godzilla’s domain, not ours.
While there is a lot to take in, the movie doesn’t bore you with too much explaining and McGuffin introductions — the opening sequence gives a quick breakdown of why these two monsters want to go full-on fisticuffs and gives each creature a motivation that you can get behind and cheer for. There’s not much time wasted too, as, compared to the slow-burn nature of 2014’s Godzilla, you’ll get a lot of Godzilla and Kong in this one.
Kong is undoubtedly the focus of the film, exploring his origins and his impending battle with a disgruntled Godzilla, but the human element is solid too. Despite some somewhat B-movie and eye-rolling dialogue, the cast comprising of Millie Bobbie Brown, Alexander Skarsgård, Rebecca Hall, and that lovable Kiwi from Deadpool 2, Julian Dennison, all deliver funny or heartfelt moments which, while won’t shed any tears, do capture the human side of the colossal-bout, which is all you can really ask for.
Of course, the focus here is on Kong and Godzilla, and boy, does it deliver. You get two or so key fighting sequences between the two, but they are long, cleverly-designed set-pieces full of some of the best CGI to date, and not to mention some booming sound design to emphasise each impact. Seeing these two beloved movie monsters tackling each other through skyscrapers and using their own unique abilities against one another undoubtedly captures that popcorn blockbuster feeling.
Godzilla vs. Kong is the culmination of the Monsterverse we were promised, and ticks all the boxes of what you hope to see from a movie of this scale, and more. Whether you’re a fan of the god or the king, this is a kaiju battle to book front-row seats for.