MOVIE REVIEW: Beauty Killed the Beast: Godzilla vs. Kong review


Image courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures

Quinn Sidor

“Godzilla vs. Kong” is the fourth, and possibly final, movie in Legendary Pictures’ MonsterVerse franchise. It is a sequel to 2018’s “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” but it only carries over a few characters. Thankfully, this is a better picture than “King of the Monsters.” 

The opening shot is of Kong. He looks big, powerful, hairy, and alive. King Kong’s design is nearly identical to 2017’s “Kong: Skull Island,” which is a good thing. The special effects are excellent throughout, and show off the movie’s large budget. Godzilla’s design is also effective, and the CGI has the right amount of weight in fight scenes. 

Unfortunately, the film fails when the two beasts are not on-screen. The characters that return from “King of the Monsters” are still one-dimensional, and the new characters are no better. Millie Bobby Brown reprises her role of the clever and rebellious teen Madison Russell, and Kyle Chandler comes back as her well-intentioned father Mark, who serves virtually no purpose in the movie, but pops up every now and then. 

“Godzilla vs. Kong” has two main storylines: the Godzilla plot, and the Kong plot. The godzilla narrative is played for comedy, and the jokes never land. It follows Madison and her bubbly New Zealand friend, Josh (Julian Dennison), as they meet up with conspiracy theorist and podcast host, Bernie Hayes, played by Brian Tyree Henry. Kong’s storyline is much more interesting. Alexander Skarsgård and Rebecca Hall play scientists who need to convince King Kong to harness energy from the center of the earth in order to defeat Godzilla. It takes some large jumps in reason, but is mostly comprehensible. 

Until the grand finale, the structure of “Godzilla vs. Kong” does not work. A and B plots are common in television, but to see it in a two-hundred million dollar picture seems obvious and lazy. Every time the Kong storyline starts to build up tension, it cuts another goofy Milly Bobby Brown segment. The writing is tepid through the whole movie, but it is much more forgivable when there are exciting visuals: the comedic bits are painfully unfunny. 

“Godzilla vs. Kong” is directed by Adam Wingard, and is shot well. The lush landscape that Kong  inhabits is bright and vibrant, and the neon cityscapes give the movie an extra pop. Thomas Holkenborg composed the synth score, which is used appropriately and effectively. 

The most important element of “Godzilla vs. Kong” is the fight between Godzilla and Kong. It looks sharp, it is exciting, and it is coherent. The largest fault of “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” was that there was not enough of the monster: that is not the case here. We get plenty of both Godzilla and Kong— it is a shame that the rest of the film pales in the face of the monsters.

Image courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures