Godzilla vs Kong‘s action sequences are vibrant and energizing. The film lives up to the heavyweight match it advertised with stunning visual effects and powerful action sequences, but falls short on everything else.
Directed by Adam Wingard and starring Alexander Skarsgård, Millie Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall, newcomer Kaylee Hottle, Godzilla vs Kong brings back features a healthy mix of returning cast and fresh faces to wrap around the heavyweight match. Of course, the stars of the show are Godzilla and Kong, the film’s title characters. Godzilla vs Kong is a bit more meta than previous entries in the franchise. The film realizes why audiences are there to see the film. No one is truly watching a movie called Godzilla vs Kong to hear exposition and human characters discuss the end of the world. You’re here to see monsters, and that is what you’ll get. In that, the film truly excels.
Action is king in Godzilla vs Kong, and that is due to the incredible VFX throughout. The effects are clean, the titans look realistic and the setting felt believable. The Godzilla franchise has always been cutting edge in visual effects development and this film continues to push the envelope.
The action sequences between Godzilla and Kong are some of the best in the medium. From throwbacks to 1962’s King Kong vs Godzilla, to fresh and fun choreographed sequences, this movie is selling an on-screen spectacle. Each round of the fight between the two titans felt different, backed by unique settings, fun advantages to each of them, and interesting conclusions. Godzilla vs Kong is best seen on the big screen, with moments that are designed for the audience to get up and cheer. Much like a boxing match, you’re not there to watch the crowd or even listen to the commentators, it’s all about the action. While this film indeed lives up to that, the human moments are excessively lacking.
Knowing that the primary attraction for the film is the fight between these iconic titans, you’re not necessarily going in for the human characters. At the same time, the weakness of the human characters felt palpable throughout. Writing and dialogue for most of the characters were paper-thin. The antagonists in the film were villains for the simple reason of being…villains. Supporting characters felt incredibly one-note and almost chore to watch on screen. The far-and-away best cast performance was Kaylee Hottle’s Jia.
As a character, Jia was the only one who felt believable and organic to the screen. Her interactions with Kong made for the best human-monster moments on screen and Hottle’s career should only take off from here. If the best character on the screen is the one that didn’t talk, that says a lot about what the other characters were saying the rest of the runtime. Still, because the two main characters of the movie are not even human, a bit of slack can be given on the weakness on everything else.
Overall, Godzilla vs Kong is a spectacle and defines what it means to be a popcorn movie for both good and bad. Whether it be the bombastic fights, screaming matches, and electrifying solo shots of the two titans, Godzilla and Kong both shine as the best parts of the film, and for many, that might be enough. In the end, Godzilla vs Kong is meta enough to realize that the audience is only there to see the monsters fight. Because of that, the human characters are an afterthought, to the point of parody. This leads to a final movie that is truly carried by the two titans and nothing else.