It’s been quite a while since the last BIG movie release all over the world. Movie theaters everywhere have been struggling with the Covid-19 situation and big movie studios have been delaying all the release dates up until this point. “Godzilla vs Kong” seems to be the first real attempt to put out a product that roars the phrase: “Come back to the movie theater for an amazing spectacle”. And it does not disappoint.
The movie establishes pretty quickly the role both monsters play in the narrative; Godzilla is attacking humanity with no clear provocation, so Kong needs to become the savior that humanity needs. The script does a good job introducing some new explanations about the nature of these creatures and expands in interesting ways the lore that was teased throughout other monsterverse movies. It also gives Kong a depth never seen before, making the ape an evolving character that acts as the emotional anchor of the entire film. However, it is underwhelming to see how Godzilla fails to go far from the big mean atomic dinosaur. Yet both monsters seem to have it better than most humans in the film, that go from stereotypical villain figures to cliche scientists. The performances and roles from Brian Tyree Henry as a conspiracy theorist and Kaylee Hottle as Jia are the only standouts of the film and bring a much needed level of effective comic relief and emotional stakes to an otherwise pretty shallow film.
Moving away from the screenplay and towards what audiences should be expecting, we arrive at the biggest spectacle achievement this film can offer; giant monster fights. The technical aspects of the film are great and the VFX knock it out of the park with an impressive level of detail that immerses the spectators into every fight. Adam Wingard does a fine job, finding creative ways to choreograph these enormous showdowns in different locations and placing the camera all over the place to get an understandable fight that never loses notion of its own scale and stakes. The battles feel gigantic and the different locations give plenty of room for original ideas on how each fight moves along giving the monsters advantages and weaknesses according to the landscape they are in. The editing is very effective, fights feel long enough and impactful while the human problems that fill the gaps in the middle fly by and even though they are not usually interesting, they do not become a drag. The third act leaves the humans little space to interfere and delivers a great climax that even if it lacked a bit of originality, still got me excited as I cheered for my favorite monster.
In the end, this rollercoaster does have some slow turns when it comes to its human characters but it is small compared to the action set pieces delivered. It’s exciting to see how many people have been debating which of these iconic giant monsters should win. The film acknowledges the importance of both title characters and treats them respectfully providing a joy ride for any fan, no matter your personal bias. Kong vs Godzilla gives us two historic rematches, one between the most important giant movie monsters of all time and the other one between the cinematic box office industry and the global pandemic. Let’s choose aside and cheer for it!