Even during the promotion of the movie, I was really intrigued by how the rematch between King Kong and Godzilla would play out. After all, these are two of the most beloved titans in pop culture history. I was even more puzzled when the trailer for Godzilla vs Kong was released. Despite being an obvious Godzilla franchise, it seemed like Kong was being built up to be the good guy and our favorite scaly radioactive monster as the aggressor.
Synopsis: Godzilla is up and about again, this time targeting facilities belonging to multi billion tech firm Apex Cybernetics. It is unclear what is triggering the King of Monsters to attack, but the head of the Apex facility sends Dr. Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgard) on a mission to a place called Hollow Earth to obtain a strong and ancient power source. It is believed that Hollow Earth is connected to the origins of the Titans so he seeks the help of an old colleague Dr. Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall) and her ward Jia (Kaylee Hottle) to get Kong to lead them to the location in an effort to save humanity from Godzilla.
At the beginniing, I still felt the same way as I did when I watched the trailer. I was excited for the epic showdown between the two titans but I didn’t believe for one second that Godzilla would attack for no reason, given the trends established in the first two movies. And while the presence of Kong provoked him, it was obvious that something did not sit well with him.
I liked how Team Kong was established. It made Kong seem very human. As his journey progressed, he also showed that he was smart, and connected to his origins in the way he navigated his original home. I was particularly impressed with the casting of Kaylee Hottle as Jia. Without any dialogue, she managed to convey a deep connection with King Kong with depth and maturity. This beautiful young actress impressively delivered above and beyond her role, especially since she was mostly interacting with an actor with mocap devices attached and within a green screen set most of the time.
On the other hand, I felt bad for Godzilla because the only people left in his corner was Madison (Mille Bobbie Brown), Bernie (Bryan Tyree Henry), a conspiracy theorist podcaster and Josh (Julian Dennison), a two bit hacker who mostly just tagged along and looked scared the whole ride. While they did their bit (it was unbelievable the stuff they got away with given their clumsiness and general lack of common sense), I was still annoyed how this franchise just continues to build Madison up when there’s really nothing impressive about her except her stubbornness. It was definitely a far cry from Team Godzilla when Dr. Ishiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) and Dr. Ilene Chen (Zhang Ziyi) were still in his corner.
There were great monster battles — the best among the three movies. Kong and Godzilla held nothing back when they went at each other. I was literally at the edge of my seat, impressed with how brutal the battle was going, and at the same time worried that one of them might die because I grew up watching films of these two.
I liked how director Adam Wingard was able to showcase the different strengths and fighting styles of Kong and Godzilla. Godzilla had the advantage of his radioactive breath and his muscle but Kong had fluidity and mobility in his corner. He also had the added advantage of knowing how to wield a weapon, which because quite useful in the movie’s final battle.
The CGI for Kong and Godzilla was so remarkable. The detail, the proportions, everything was perfect. Whether the film was setting up a shot of these two Titans or during the actual battle, everything was meticulously done and executed to perfection.
As for the plot, Godzilla vs Kong was pretty well written and the story made a lot of sense. It had a balanced amount of attention to both iconic characters and gave each of them the hero treatment they deserved.
As with all these monster movies, it turned out that humans are also monsters in their own right. The film showcased how humanity’s best intentions cause disasters worse than what these giants could ever accomplish.
By the movie’s end, audiences will be just as tired, reeling from the aches and pains these two warriors suffered. The ending was nothing short of extraordinary. The best of the Godzilla trilogy for sure and the best Godzilla or Kong film based on my personal opinion. This film gave these two alpha Titans the respect that they deserved and as a result, it is bound to beloved by old and new fans alike. I wouldn’t mind a follow up if it came down to it. You can catch it on HBO Max and select theaters.