The 400-Word Review: Godzilla vs. Kong
By Sean Collier
April 1, 2021
“There can’t be two alpha titans,” according to some of the consistently cumbersome exposition in “Godzilla vs. Kong.” The folks at Warner Bros. clearly feel otherwise, as the rebooted series of films concerning such kaiju as King Kong, Godzilla and their various enormous foes continues chugging along. No matter what stakes are conjured up, you can be sure of one thing: The outcome will not compromise the possibility of future sequels.
Little backstory is necessary, anyway; we’re here for the big monster fight(s), not the mythology that necessitates the conflict. Fortunately, while there are an armful of macguffins to move things along, the film knows we’re here for the fireworks and wastes no time. Godzilla strikes in the first reel, leveling a mysterious Florida facility; Kong is tied up in a high-tech biodome on Skull Island, but he too gives roaring glimpses of the smackdown to come.
The particulars, which amount to busy work for the monsters and the hapless humans around them, involve an infinite power source hidden in the subterranean paradise that serves as the monsters’ ancestral home. A fleet of characters — played, earnestly if not particularly urgently, by the likes of Rebecca Hall, Millie Bobby Brown, Brian Tyree Henry, Kyle Chandler and Alexander Skarsgård — dash around and through the planet on missions that absolutely will not prevent hundreds of thousands of deaths when the big guys finally throw their weight around.
Some of these scenes provide at least a scrap of value; the inner-earth continent, which inexplicably features sunlight, is an inventive and dazzling settling. It’s a tiny, inside-out planet — there’s more ground in the sky, as the inverted landscape doubles back on itself — and it comes fully equipped with new megafauna for Kong to eviscerate.
It too is ultimately no more than a time-killer, of course. When Godzilla is ready for another round, he simply blasts a hole straight through Earth to give everyone a convenient tunnel back to ringside. Kong somehow climbs the 8,000-mile shaft in about five minutes. (Yes, there’s a tossed-off explanation involving weird gravity stuff.)
The screenplay, by Eric Pearson and Max Borenstein, is truly wretched; it’s little more than trailer-ready descriptions, such as a character unironically reflecting, “Looks like round two goes to Kong.” But this movie doesn’t need decent dialogue or sound logic; it needs two big monsters punching each other. And they do!
My Rating: 6/10
“Godzilla vs. Kong” is streaming on HBO Max.