Two points to warn you about right from the beginning of this review of Godzilla Vs. Kong.
- There will be spoilers. I’ve waited this long to write this so that the diehard Monster movie fans could watch the film for themselves.
- I went into this film with some trepidations. From the trailers, it appeared they were going to make Kong the hero and Godzilla the bad guy after two very successful Godzilla films that made the Titan a savior of humanity. Just to be clear I am a HUGE Godzilla fan and have been since the first time I caught the 1954 classic on late night TV back in the before times. I have two Godzilla figures on my shelf, one being the 1968 TOHO version of the King, and the other from the more recent franchise. I’m not a fan of Kong at all, so you can guess who I was rooting for in this film.
Happily, they didn’t go there and what I can tell you, pre-spoilers, is that this was a great film that you should go watch right now and them come back and read this so you can avoid the spoilers.
Okay, you’re still reading, so either you’ve watched it or you have said “Spoilers be damned my good fellow, review away!”
The best part of this film, as was the case with the previous two Godzilla movies, was the battles between the big boys and the two encounters between Godzilla and Kong did not disappoint. Both were allowed to be dominant when in their own element and Kong was only saved from being drug to the bottom of the ocean to drown by a souped-up depth charges that broke him free of Godzilla’s grip.
The fleet that got in the way of the pair didn’t fare so well though, neither did Hong Kong at the end of the film. I was kind of disappointed the last showdown didn’t go down in Tokyo, where most of the big monster fights usually ended up back in the 1960s and 1970s, but it was close enough.
The introduction of Hollow Earth and the long-standing war between Godzilla’s species and Kong’s was shown nicely. Bringing in MechaGodzilla was a nice touch, although that has always been my least favorite of Godzilla’s foes, but it served its purpose as the reason why Godzilla and Kong set aside their hostilities and joined forces against the new threat.
I would have liked to have seen more of a battle between the three, it seemed like this one was somewhat rushed and easily resolved. Then again, the creation of MechaGodzilla was also a little contrived in my opinion. The evil businessman, Walter Simmons, uses his company, Apex Cybernetics, to construct MechaGodzilla, but needs to track down a power source in Hollow Earth to make it work. Once that source is located, by following Kong to Hollow Earth after he survives his first battle with Godzilla, Simmons has Ren Serizawa, the son of the late Ishiro Serizawa, hook himself up to MechaGodzilla by using the skull of the defeated Ghidorah as a neural pathway. Simmons’ intent is to use his creation to protect mankind from all of the monsters – though I never caught why Godzilla wasn’t considered good enough for the job. When his fully powered creation comes to life, it turns on its creators and kills them both before venturing out to tackle Godzilla, who has just beaten Kong and is leaving him to die.
Kong gets a supercharged jolt to the heart as Godzilla is getting walloped by the machine monster and jumps into the fight. When the two Titans work together, they defeat the creature. For a moment, it looks like the next round of battle between the two is about to begin, but instead they go their separate ways – Godzilla to the sea to patrol the Earth and Kong back to his newfound home in Hollow Earth.
Overall, a good film, though it felt more like a second Kong film than a third Godzilla movie at times.
My lone complaint with the film is the Russell family.
Dr. Mark Russell has to be the worst dad in history and Madison Russell should have been killed at least a dozen times since she first appeared back Godzilla: King of the Monsters. Seriously, its time to move on from these characters that brought nothing to the franchise in the first place.
It’s a pity that Ken Watanabe’s character was killed off the in the previous film. It might have made for a better plot point to have him around trying to figure out why Godzilla was on a rampage, attacking cities for no apparent reason, and then having a showdown at the end with his son’s mechanical monster.
I could not tell if a fourth film is coming in the Godzilla franchise, though Kong exploring Hollow Earth seems a natural next step for that monster. Here’s hoping we have more films to come. The last year has not shown us a lot in the way of new films. Many of those that have been released fell flat (hello, WW84) but at least for this once we had a film worth watching during this otherwise dismal decade.