Review: Godzilla vs Kong

Score:  B-

Director:  Adam Wingard

Cast:  Alexander Skarsgård, Millie Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry

Running Time:  117 Minutes

Rated:  PG-13

"There can't be two alpha titans."

In a world where both Godzilla and King Kong exist, one should expect an innate, biological struggle for power to live between the titans. Though the origins of the conflict bear a wealth of self-indulgent actions, the execution proves anything but visually bland.

Introduced over three films, our titular characters find themselves at opposite ends of the zoo spectrum. While Kong exists in a confined containment zone on Skull Island, his counterpart lurks beneath the sea, free to swim at his leisure. The disparity couldn't be more obvious, but, in essence, its positioning proves vital as we embark on a trip across the ocean in hopes of unleashing a new element through the possible discovery of Kong's ancestry.

If you don't get it, it's fine. Godzilla vs Kong bypasses any genuine attempt to cultivate its characters, instead focusing on the main attraction: two titanic beasts flying at one another, crushing anything and everything in their path.

I partly joke, but really, horror director Adam Wingard understands the drawl to this juggernaut of a film. Rather than dial in on the human drama, he turns your attention to the CGI-laden fight sequences. Highly choreographed and visually stunning, the scenes bring forth a sense of energy and excitement that the franchise has been missing as of late. Gone are the tepid attempts to construct a deep, philosophical story, in their place a rigorous and brutal battle for monster supremacy.

Mixed within the jabs and smackdowns are plenty of side stories - one of which takes us on a journey to the center of the Earth where Kong discovers his heritage and a radioactive ax - an artifact that adds flavor to the film's visuals and gives the ape a fighting chance.

On that note, Godzilla vs Kong is a story that centers on Kong. Though we all tuned in for the confrontation, the mighty ape dominates the low-key plot points. At times used as bait, the mammal is the most at risk throughout much of the film, and as one would expect, he also has the most to gain.

Alexander Skarsgård, Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry, and Damián Bichir join franchise returners Millie Bobby Brown and Kyle Chandler for this fourth chapter. Though each does fine in their respective roles, their star power becomes lost amidst the film's true standouts that tower over the city of Hong Kong in a deadly battle for dominance.

Wingard beautifully captures the atmospheric tone, amping up the colors and giving us a truly unique spectacle on which to feast our eyes. The green, red, and orange hues add fuel to the proverbial fire as our two giants crash into buildings, wreaking havoc on a town that sees no other end than total destruction. Interestingly, there's a noticeable lack of empathy for the millions of humans who perish during the battle. However, one must remember: this film isn't about them or their journey - this film lives and dies with our monsters.

*This film is available in theaters and on HBO Max.


About Stephen Davis

Stephen Davis
I owe this hobby/career to the one and only Stephanie Peterman who, while interning at Fox, told me that I had too many opinions and irrelevant information to keep it all bottled up inside. I survived my first rated R film, Alive, at the ripe age of 8, it took me months to grasp the fact that Julia Roberts actually died at the end of Steel Magnolias, and I might be the only person alive who actually enjoyed Sorority Row…for its comedic value of course. While my friends can drink you under the table, I can outwatch you when it comes iconic, yet horrid 80s films like Adventures in Babysitting and Troop Beverly Hills. I have no shame when it comes to what I like, and if you have a problem with that, then we’ll settle it on the racquetball court. I see too many movies to actually win any film trivia contest, so don’t waste your first pick on me. My friends rent movies from my bookcase shelves, and one day I do plan to start charging. I long to live in LA, where my movie obsession will actually help me fit in, but for now I am content with my home in Austin. I prefer indies to blockbusters, Longhorns to Sooners and Halloween to Friday the 13th. I miss the classics, as well as John Ritter, and I hope to one day sit down and interview the amazing Kate Winslet.