Released: 25th March
Seen: 6th April
I believe it was the legendary French film analyst Dr Je Plaisante who said “Do you really need me to give you a fancy explanation to begin the review about Godzilla vs Kong, the film where a giant ape punches a giant lizard? Does Godzilla vs Kong look like a film that needs analysing? Do you get how silly it is to think Godzilla vs Kong is anything more than a joyous ode to destruction? I’m not even a real film analyst, my name is literally French for the phrase I’m Joking, that’s how pointless this entire review is!”… or something like that.
Godzilla vs Kong is the follow up to the films Godzilla: King Of The Monsters and Kong Skull Island. See, those films had Godzilla and Kong and this film finds an excuse for the two of them to fight while causing large amounts of property damage in a way that’s aesthetically pleasing. That’s it, that’s the plot, I don’t even need a full paragraph to explain it, Monkey and Lizard are big and they do punching, the end.
Ok, maybe there’s a little bit more to Godzilla vs Kong, things involving the human casts of the movies that ran prior but who the hell cares about that. Do you? Do you sincerely care about what the humans are doing in a Godzilla and Kong movie? Because if you do then you’re watching the movie wrong, plain and simple. The humans are here so we have a threadbare excuse to get the two creatures together for the big fight, and to help ramp things up in the third act by introducing something awesome but other than that, no one cares.
Godzilla vs Kong has Godzilla acting up by destroying the buildings of a rich company called APEX and the humans decide to get Kong to help them find an energy source that they can use to beat Godzilla… except the company is shady and really, Kong and Godzilla have an old beef so they would’ve fought anyway. Again, humans are pointless in this film and if you expected any emotional connection to them then I’m going to assume you’re in the wrong theatre.
We’re watching Godzilla vs Kong for one thing and exactly one thing only, to see King Kong and Godzilla punch each other as hard as they can for a lengthy period of time while bumping into buildings and making them collapse and that’s what you get. There are a few really big fight scenes, one on the water that’s just a lot of fun and one in Hong Kong where everything is apparently lit by neon tubes and… yep, so much fun. It’s fun, the monkey punched the lizard in the face and then the lizard kneed the monkey in the nuts and I cheered because that is cool.
Sure, there’s stuff in here about conspiracy theories and evil capitalists and a bit of a relationship tiff between two characters from the Godzilla side of the cast list but I DO NOT GIVE A DAMN! I just don’t, they could’ve cut all of it and just had Godzilla walk onto Skull island and curb stomp King Kong for a few hours and been happy. Godzilla vs Kong is meant to be an over the top fight between two over the top characters and that’s what it is.
What makes the over the top fight between the two characters work, aka the Godzilla vs Kong bit, is that both of them are spectacular looking. Not just in terms of size and scale, but the emotional range in their faces is impressive as hell. You not only get to enjoy the ultimate fight between the two titans of the movie, but you can actually see the emotional journey they both go through. This is particularly true with Kong who runs the gamut from the loud angry Kong that we enjoy to the wide-eyed innocent that you just want to hug, he ends up being the character we’re asked to sympathise with the most and it’s very easy to do so, thanks to the great performance. Yep, King Kong and Godzilla give great performances, what a time we live in!
Now, the one thing I do personally care about is the strobe lights that happens in one sequence where the humans do a science that gets them to the centre of the earth (don’t argue, if you buy Godzilla existing then anything’s allowed). I’ll say it every damn time, strobe lighting is a creative decision made by lazy people who can’t be bothered to come up with a visual language that doesn’t cause seizures. For those needing to know, when they start flying through the tunnel after Kong to get to the hollow centre of the earth, just close your eyes for a minute until they’re through and you won’t have to deal with the strobes.
Everything else except that strobing effect is amazing. Godzilla vs Kong delivers on its promise. I asked to see the big monkey do violence against the big lizard that shoots lasers from its mouth and that is exactly what I ended up getting. I will admit it’s not as satisfying as Godzilla: King of Monsters was, that film was a visual masterpiece and this one pushes more towards pure action, but this gave me what I expected and I enjoyed it quite a lot.