George Clark’s review published on Letterboxd:
The time is finally here. Godzilla vs. Kong, One Will Fall! Spoiler Free Review.
Directed by Adam Wingard and starring a star-studded cast that includes the likes of Millie Bobby Brown, Julian Dennison, Alexander Skarsgård, Kyle Chandler, Rebecca Hall and Brian Tyree Henry, Godzilla vs. Kong is the fourth film in Legendary Pictures' "MonsterVerse", and delivers exactly what it says on the poster as Godzilla and Kong, the two most powerful forces of nature, clash on the big screen in a spectacular battle for the ages.
Delivering impeccably on its title, Godzilla vs. Kong swats away character development and reduces the human drama significantly to deliver all the spectacle and wonder you'd expect from two giant monsters slugging it out on screen. Of course, it's outlandish and sometimes very dumb, but it more than delivers what it promises. If you're watching this kind of thing, you're watching it for the noise, the chaos, the concussive battles, and mindless destruction that follows, but most importantly, you’re watching it for the two raging beasts at its core. That, I’m pleased to say, is exactly what you shall receive, with the film spending the majority of its runtime focused on the two’s rivalry. There's something so mindlessly satisfying in seeing two giant monsters beating the hell out of each other while leaving heavy destruction in their wake. I guess it's all just part of the entertainment value we can take away knowing it's all in good fun and that we can be thankful such colossal creatures don't exist in real life.
Yet, that’s exactly what Godzilla vs. Kong is all about. That keyword, entertainment value. No one is going into this film expecting some high-class art. If you are, what the hell are you doing? Despite holding some beautiful shots and another great score by Junkie XL, Godzilla vs. Kong is all about entertainment and for that, it hits the mark stupendously with frequent action and great special effects that’ll leave you cheering throughout. It's mind-numbingly simplistic with the vast majority of the film focusing on Kong, but I wouldn't expect anything less. This is more Kong’s movie than anything else and while Godzilla still delivers some incredible moments and the other villain is surprisingly great in the final act, if fighting monsters and gratuitous demolition of skyscrapers is what you crave, then this certainly delivers the punch you’re looking for.
Nevertheless, if you are expecting to be treated to anything else beyond this, you will be greatly disappointed. The MonsterVerse has long suffered with human characters, not exactly knowing how to work them into the story and leaving their development on the cutting room floor. Despite Millie Bobby Brown and Kyle Chandler’s best efforts, Godzilla: King of the Monsters was worse off because of their screen dominance. Once again, this is sadly the case with Godzilla vs. Kong, yet thankfully not to the same extent. While Millie Bobby Brown, Julian Dennison and Brian Tyree Henry create a great trio, their scenes just don’t entirely work given they’re only used for explanatory detail about the other villain’s origin. However, as the film follows two different human teams, the Kong team and the Godzilla team if you will, the scenes between Alexander Skarsgård, Rebecca Hall and the impeccable Kaylee Hottle, worked like an utter treat for me. Offering up a storyline centred around Kong that I found interesting and worthwhile, despite it’s obvious flaws.
For me, that’s what gave Godzilla vs. Kong the edge. While the acting is good all-round, and it’s nice to see Kyle Chandler again (even if it’s only for a short period of time), Godzilla vs, Kong managed to do what Godzilla: King of the Monsters couldn’t, create a side story that’s not the main focus but is still interesting. They are only there to help move the small remnants of the plot along and despite most of them being either generic military personnel marked for death or scientific minds trying to make sense of all this madness, the scenes that we spent with either group never truly bored me, which was a great surprise.
Ultimately, Godzilla vs. Kong is a film that DESERVES to be seen on the big screen. You simply won’t get the same experience watching it for the first time on a small laptop or television screen and it’s a sad fact that many will end up torrenting this movie due to cinemas not being open or HBO Max not being available to them. It’s a cinematic experience and for preexisting fans of the franchise, Godzilla vs. Kong is the monster movie we've all been waiting for. Is it a perfect film? Absolutely not. But it's the most fun I’ve had with a movie this year!
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Which side do you fall on? Team Kong or Team Godzilla?