The fourth entry into Legendary Studios’ Monsterverse series of movies, bringing together two of the greatest movie monsters of all time. King Kong and Godzilla originally faced off in 1962 with Toho Studios’ King Kong vs Godzilla, a very corny movie by today’s standards, but still an enjoyable flick. With today’s advancement of movie technology, it can’t be that hard to make a movie where a nuclear lizard fights a giant ape right?
The main thing this movie gets right, like the rest of the Monsterverse, are the monsters themselves. While Godzilla may appear only for the fights, the movie follows Kong’s story more closely. Kong’s home is being destroyed, so a group of researchers, played by Alexander Skarsgård and Rebecca Hall, along with a mute girl name Jia who communicates with Kong through sign language, are trying to take him to a new home in the subterranean Hallow Earth, where all monsters come from. Meanwhile, Millie Bobby Brown plays Madison Russell from King of the Monsters, along with her friend played by Julian Dennison, and a monster conspiracy theorist, played by Brian Tyree Henry, who’s trying to figure out why Godzilla suddenly began to attack people.
Kong is really the best part of the movie. His connection with Jia, played by Kaylie Hottle, is touching and believable. They’re both that last of their families, as the Indigenous people of Skull Island have all died.
The battles between giant monsters in the film are great, Godzilla is an immovable wall of muscle, while Kong is much more agile. The environments are varied throughout the film, giving each monster an edge and keeping it fresh. The filmmakers did a fantastic job in the final fight, which takes up almost the entire last third of the movie.
Honestly though, the monsters are the only upside to this movie. Which makes sense, you don’t come to Godzilla vs Kong for the people, but at least in the previous movies the characters were interesting and acted well. Everyone in this movie talks like it was their first take, as if they were just warming up their throat for the actual take. I was honestly blown away by how bad the acting was.
The characters who don’t say a word convey much more emotion and effort without words than the remainder of the cast. What I find weird is the King of the Monsters was widely panned for it’s characters, but those same people that are praising this film ignore the blatant flaws in the cast.
One positive I can say is that it moves at a breakneck pace and feels short, which isn’t a good thing to say about any movie. It’s as if to say, “At least it didn’t take up too much of my time.”
Godzilla vs Kong may have some fun action scenes, but it takes a lot of grating performances to get to them. Even if you like the rest of the Monsterverse movies, it’s better to just look up the fights on YouTube, because there isn’t much else worth watching in this film.
Godzilla vs Kong gets 2 out of 5 stars.