The biggest battle of the century has finally arrived and what an epic clash of the titans it is. After years of setting the stage and teasing fans, Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Films’ Godzilla vs Kong has arrived on our screens.
Godzilla vs Kong takes place after Kong: Skull Island and Godzilla: King of the Monsters, which gave us a look into the two great titans on their own. However, what comes to pass when two of Earth’s biggest and most powerful monsters are pitted against one another? And more importantly, who will win?
That’s essentially what most fans expect Godzilla vs Kong to be about, but, there’s much more to the film than meets the eye.
The film begins with a re-introduction to our favourite great ape, Kong, and his desire to go ‘home’. Not only are we given a look into Kong’s innermost desire and driving force but we are also treated to his relationships with those around him, particularly that of the young girl, Jia (Kaylee Hottle).
Godzilla’s introduction and motivations, however, isn’t as heartwarming but sets the stage for the crux of the film as a whole.
We quickly learn that both monsters have a long held rivalry against one another, with Kong simply wanting to live his life and Godzilla wanting to assert his dominance as the king of all monsters, hence the name and plot point of the previous film.
Of course, like with other films of this kind where mankind is also involved, the story centres around man’s desperate desire for power. In this case, it is man’s desire to seek the power or ‘weapon’ necessary to be able to protect themselves from monster attacks, despite the fact that both Kong and Godzilla have shown that they are protectors more so than monsters, creatures that merely want to live in harmony and ‘do their own thing’.
With this in mind, the film quickly becomes quite predictable, which was unexpectedly enjoyable to watch. This was, in part, due to the pacing of the film, which utilised a back and forth look at what was happening to both Kong and Godzilla at any given time, allowing us more of an insight into the world in which they were in, as well as, what was going around them. What really made the film an absolute thrill though was the incredible fight scenes between the two giant titans. Both monsters held nothing back, tackling each other with ferocity that had the entire cinema rumbling, or at least it certainly felt that way. Where sensational action is concerned, this film was filled with it and then some.
Though we are introduced to several brand new characters not seen before in any previous monster film, the likes of Alexander Skarsgaard’s Dr. Nathan Lind or Rebecca Hall’s Ilene Andrews, we are treated to familiar characters such as Madison Russell (Millie Bobby Brown) and her father Mark Russell (Kyle Chandler). This greatly helps to bridge a connection between this film and the previous Godzilla film. Though, surprisingly, there wasn’t as much focus on these characters in this particular film.
When it comes to characterisation though, Godzilla vs Kong did a fantastic job of portraying the bond between Kong and Jia. Unlike the depiction of Godzilla in the film, Kong’s relationship with Jia was one that was immensely profound and highlighted Kong’s nature as a creature that wasn’t hell bent on destruction. It was so amazing to see the diversity included in the film as well, as Kaylee Hottle, the young actress who played Jia in the film, is deaf and uses sign language to communicate. The use of sign language was important in the film and added that extra layer of warmth, trust and a bond between Kong and Jia.
As someone who grew up in New Zealand, it was also quite profound to hear the word ‘Iwi’ being used to describe Jia’s family and tribe, as well as see Julian Dennison (from Hunt For The Wilderpeople fame) play a part in the film, albeit a smaller role. It was also quite refreshing for the film to do away with unnecessary romances between characters, something that many action films do include where there are adult male and female characters. It was nice to see the relationship between Dr. Lind and Ilene Andrews be a purely platonic professional one.
Visually, Godzilla vs Kong was spectacular. While it isn’t the creme de la creme of visually stunning films, it certainly made me appreciate the illusion that CGI animation provides to film goers. Through the monster fight scenes, there were moments where I felt completely in awe of what I was seeing on screen, as if what I was focused on was actually something taking place in real life with actual creatures. The graphics truly captured the monsters and the worlds in which they exist, as well as everything around them, in a way that was beyond captivating. If there was a term to describe the visuals as greater than large than life, I’d use it here because it truly was magnificent.
Usually when it comes to visuals, there’s always a great soundtrack to accompany it. Given that the film is about giant monsters battling it out, a soundtrack was unsurprisingly lacking, which was a good thing in this case. I suppose when there are giant monsters screaming at each other, a musical soundtrack isn’t quite necessary, which in this film, it absolutely wasn’t.
Looking at the film as a whole, Godzilla vs Kong was an important piece of Legendary’s MonsterVerse, further creating the universe in which great monsters exist. Now that these two great titans have clashed, it’ll be interesting to see what’s to come.
Overall, Godzilla vs Kong felt like a top tier UFC match with some interesting plot padding, given the hype that had long brewed before the film’s release. After watching the previous MonsterVerse films, this film has now provided me with a much better understanding of each monster’s motivations, as well as learning that monsters, as scary as they can be, are just living beings like us.
Providing audiences with such a sensational and thrilling ride, Godzilla vs Kong is a film that I’d definitely recommend watching in cinemas on the biggest screen possible.