Stunning showcase from the monsters. A snoozefest from the humans.
Godzilla vs. Kong takes humanity a step further by unraveling one of the great mysteries of our time, although, in the process, it levels all of Hong Kong to rubble. A necessary sacrifice — for science!
Here be spoilers…
What we like
Godzilla vs. Kong starts off in the middle of the action as Kong uproots and sharpens a whole tree to use as a spear. He then uses said spear to fight the sky. Well, it's his attempt to break out of a Truman Show-esque containment facility, and in a way he's successful because he does soon gets to leave…shackled to a warship in a fleet bound for Antarctica.
The film's most admirable quality soon comes to light as it's revealed that the writers aren't giving Kong the slightest courtesy of a plot armour. Godzilla enters scene and quite literally starts breaking ships in half and swatting fighter jets out of the sky. Kong, in the meantime, continues to struggle with his pair of metal shackles. In fact, a human has to eventually help him get free, following which, Kong thumps his chest and lets out a roar as if he's been anything but completely useless throughout this ordeal.
Godzilla boards the ship and, in a move Nate Diaz would be proud of, he open-hand slaps Kong off his feet. The beatdown continues over ten minutes of momentous cinema. At the end, Godzilla almost drowns the overgrown gorilla and swims off without a scratch on his scales—I imagine, in search of whoever said that this was worth his time.
The two monsters meet again towards the back-end of the movie, and it's refreshing to see that Kong wasn't given the chance to develop super saiyan capabilities off-screen. He's just as ill-prepared and though he gets some lucky shots in, by the end of a fight, the humans have to use a spaceship battery to jumpstart his heart.
When it seems like the movie's being set-up for a cliffhanger, a final showdown swoops in to subvert expectations. And if you ignore all the dialogue, backstory, and context, the team-up between Godzilla and Kong against Mechagodzilla remains a spectacle to watch.
What we didn't like
Humans—there was no need for them in the Transformers franchise, and there's certainly no need for them here. No one bought tickets to a movie called Godzilla vs. Kong to hear about a supporting character's tragic backstory. Especially when it's not even tragic in the emotional sense; it's tragic in the who-wrote-this-and-why sense. Godzilla and Kong have less screen time in the first forty minutes of the movie than they do in the trailer. All because someone decided to shoe-in a pair of suburban teenagers who are inevitably going to save the day.
There are only two humans in the movie who have a net positive impact on viewing experience. First, there's the whiskey-sipping evil mastermind, Walter Simmons. He meets an untimely end at the hands of Mechagodzilla. This makes up for the rest of his terribly needless screen time. In a similar vein, there's his daughter Maia Simmons. She too, is unbearable. However, that makes it all the more satisfying when Godzilla obliterates her tiny spaceship.
The story's poorly written and the dialogue couldn't be worse. But honestly, if you're watching Godzilla vs. Kong expecting good writing and cohesive dialogue, that's on you.
What to look out for
The gorilla, the lizard, and the robot lizard.
Godzilla vs. Kong is now out in theatres worldwide.