Movie Review: Godzilla vs. Kong

Movie theaters are back in action! And how did I spend my first trip back to one of my favorite places? By watching the highly anticipated Godzilla vs. Kong, of course. The fourth installment in Legendary Entertainment’s MonsterVerse was released in theaters and on HBO Max simultaneously on March 31st, 2021. This film showcases Kong, who is yearning to find his home, and Godzilla, who is wreaking havoc over the world, in a head-to-head match to determine who truly is king. 

Now, before even stepping foot into the theater, I had a feeling (call it a film student’s intuition) that this film was going to be epic. Every film in the franchise prior to Godzilla vs Kong was a massive success, and I expected nothing less from this new one. So did it meet my expectations? Was Godzilla vs. Kong really as epic as I thought it was going to be? Let us delve right into it.

 

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD. DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE FILM.

 

First off, I want to start by saying that I was blown away by the CGI and technical aspects. In the beginning of the film, when Godzilla first emerges out of the water and opens his mouth to let out a blood-curdling roar, I was awestruck by how real he looked. His scales, his tongue, his teeth—everything about him felt authentic. The same goes for Kong; his design was so detailed that during the close-up shots of his face, I felt like I was making eye contact with a living, breathing Titan and not some computer-generated image. I loved how the Titans looked, although I did find myself laughing at certain points because of the way they behaved. It seemed like the producers wanted to make the creatures more human, but in doing so they made them appear silly and less believable. Some of their actions made sense and were clever, like how Kong learned sign language to communicate, but others seemed fake. Mostly I felt this way during the fight sequences between Kong and Godzilla. I mean, at one point Godzilla literally slaps Kong with his tiny hands—it was hilarious. 

Moving on from the technical aspects, another thing I wanted to mention was the characters. I really liked the introduction of some of the new characters in the series. New faces don’t always play out well in a film like this, which the viewer can see with the villain Walter Simmons, who feels very one-dimensional and useless. However, other characters like Bernie, Jia, and Josh were great additions to the film. For me, Bernie and Josh were the perfect comedic relief characters. Every time the two were on screen, they never failed to say something that made me laugh. As for who was my favorite character, I’d have to say Jia. I mean, without her the viewer wouldn’t have gotten the whole sign language bit with Kong. She brings strong emotions to the film that I feel none of the other characters really brought; every scene of hers seemed to pull on my heart strings. For example, when she feels Kong’s heartbeat start to slow down and tries desperately to save him, the viewer can’t help but to shed a couple tears. You really get to see how important Kong is to her and to humanity. 

The last thing I want to talk about is the plot. A good story always has conflict, and in Godzilla vs. Kong, the main conflict is between the two titans. However, there is also a sub-conflict between the two titans and (wait for it) Mechagodzilla. In my opinion, the inclusion of Mechagodzilla was kind of haphazardly thrown into the movie. The viewer doesn’t find out about Mechagodzilla until the third act of the film, and while it successfully acts as a plot twist, I’m not sure why they chose something so big as this. Don’t get me wrong, the fight scene between Kong, Godzilla, and Mechagodzilla was awesome, and I enjoyed it a lot. I just feel that Mechagodzilla is such a huge part of the MonsterVerse that they would’ve profited more by making it into its own movie (like the original series did back in the 1970s). Regardless, watching Godzilla and Kong come together to fight Mechagodzilla was incredible.

So, to answer my questions at the beginning of this, I would say that Godzilla vs. Kong was definitely very epic and did meet most of my expectations. I think the film itself is very entertaining and has a nice balance between action and comedy. The film does fall short in some areas, but that does nothing to take away from how iconic Godzilla and Kong are in this. By far, Godzilla vs. Kong is one of the best monster movies out there. Let me be the first to confirm that yes, Kong did do all of his own stunts.   

Rating: 7 mechagodzillas out of 10