Alex Holmes’s review published on Letterboxd:
Part of Godzilla & Friends, Ranked.
“The myths are real. There was a war. And they’re the last ones standing.“
Look, I’m gonna go out on a limb and say half of the critics here and at large don’t know what a Godzilla movie actually is; yes there are a few Very Serious movies but let’s be honest, much of the series is giant monster wrestling matches who, if you look close enough, can also have a message . And look, that fucking owns. Hell, King Kong vs Godzilla is a banger fighting movie and a capitalist satire. People here who went inexplicably Gaga for Edwards’ perfectly fine Godzilla seemed very down on Dougherty’s Showa love letter that was King of the Monsters because they don’t know what an actual Godzilla movie is beyond 1954 and that not showing Godzilla for ages has been done before and is kinda useless if Aaron Taylor-Johnson is your lead man. It also seems American audiences in general have an appetite for a novelty Godzilla movie every 20 years or so, which - fine.
All that to say - Godzilla vs Kong neither reaches the giddying heights of Dougherty’s love letter monster mash, but nor does reach the tedium of Edwards although it falls far more in line with the tone of the former, hence probably an incoming discrepancy of reviews from people who want cerebral analogies all day, and people who want the lizard to fight monke. Or people will say they love the dumb monster fights in which case idk why y’all hated King of the Monsters. It’s like Jesus says, you just can’t please some people.
So, does lizard fight monke? Yes, and how. The fights are fantastically rendered in every sense of the term, and just some of the best Kaiju fights put to screen. Godzilla and Kong look and sound great and I’m sure anyone under 12 or a child at heart (guilty) will delight in the magnificent action. Wingard keeps the action clear and legible and the amount of inventiveness is great, top marks - the use of environment really goes all out in a way I’ve never seen. The last 30 mins of this movie are the best kinds of Kaiju fight.
The human story is...fine. Again, sitting in the middle of those two other films, you can tell it really misses Watanabe and some unexplained character actions threw me but by and large the job gets done which is what you need in this type of film. Kyle Chandler really could have been used more though and Skarsgard is bland but the rest of the cast does well enough.
The only things that kinda crushed me were a lack of follow up on some aspects of King of the Monsters as well as messing with Godzilla’s theme. Ikufube nailed it day one, Dougherty and McCreary knew this and left it (or just enhanced it). Also I get like the narrative was a little Kong centric but I get why it was that way.
I think this will be probably the last film in the Monsterverse, it certainly doesn’t seem to have been the even moderate MCU it’s investors hoped. But Godzilla vs Kong is a fine enough place to end it and a fitting point of closure as comparison for this American take on franchise as a whole compared to its Japanese original. Yeah it’s not as good as the original, but it’s a very worthy exercise, has some great moments of its own it, is a fun big budget remix, and I’m glad we have it.