Directed by Adam Wingard, Godzilla vs. Kong might well be the western world’s greatest movie to feature these well-known kaiju. After years of totally missing the point we finally get a film that whilst having some minor faults actually delivers not only some serious kaiju smackdown action but also gives some character to the creatures that Hollywood has prostituted for years.
Set five years after Godzilla defeated King Ghidorah, Kong is now living a Truman Show like life monitored by Monarch within a giant dome on Skull Island. Kong is visited daily by Jia (Kaylee Hottle), the last Iwi native who is the adopted daughter of Kong expert Ilene Andrews’ (Rebecca Hall). Jia is deaf and communicates with Kong via sign language and the two share a special bond. Jia and Ilene are soon persuaded by Dr. Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgård) join him on a mission that requires them to convince Kong guide them through the Hollow Earth via an outpost in Antarctica. They are joined by CEO, and founder of Apex Cybernetics Walter Simmons’ (Demián Bichir) daughter Maia (Eiza González). The team board a modified barge escorted by the U.S. Navy.
In the meantime, Godzilla has launched an unprovoked attack (as far as we know) on the Apex base in Florida. This raises concerns as Godzilla has not done anything like this before. Dr. Mark Russell (Kyle Chandler) is puzzled by it, his daughter Madison (Millie Bobby Brown) believes Godzilla must have a reason for his actions and enlists her friend Josh (Julian Dennison) to help her research why this happened. Madison is a huge fan of conspiracy podcaster Bernie Hayes (Brian Tyree Henry) – a former Apex Cybernetics technician turned conspiracy theorist- and turns to him for help.
As both parties begin their quests, we get some serious Kong vs Godzilla action and some character development that is clunky at times. I feel the human characters have suffered the most in the editing room and the result of this are scenes that exist to drop exposition and push the plot forward. The trio of Madison, Josh and Bernie, whilst humorous at times add little to the major plot and could have shined a lot brighter. Maia faces a similar fate – a lot more could have been made of her.
That battles throughout the movie are epic with some nice touches that add depth to Kong and Godzilla’s characters. The main event of this Kaijumania delivers and you are left wanting more. Which hopefully we will get sooner rather than later.
Verdict: 7/10. The greatest thing about this movie is that the three strongest characters do not speak a word. Kaylee Hottle deserves major recognition for carrying this movie. In general it reminds me of Justice League where I feel a lot of this movie has been left on the cutting room floor- hopefully the bluray release will add some additional scenes as I feel a number of the human characters’ story lines will benefit from this. That said what we have is a major step forwards for American Kaiju movies which has established a strong world that it can now develop in future movies. I really hope this is the case and we do not get another lame reboot.