Godzilla vs. Kong (2021) Review
Godzilla vs. Kong is a movie I have been anticipating since before Kong: Skull Island was released. While I don't have a ton of nostalgia for many Godzilla movies, the original King Kong vs. Godzilla was a film that I had grown up with. Godzilla (2014) paved the way for WB and Legendary's "MonsterVerse," and now the main event is upon us. Sadly, this shared universe is at a crossroads, and it's up to the fans to speak up if we want more. So, I'm here to tell you if this highly anticipated showdown makes this franchise worth fighting for.
WARNING: There may be some light spoilers ahead.
The plot of the film is much more straightforward than the trailers lead you to believe. Yes, Godzilla has targeted a few cities, but only because a mega-corporation by the name of Apex is up to something nefarious that he is aware of. Madison (Millie Bobby Brown) and a few other supporting characters set out to find answers to what is happening. On the other side, Kong and his supporting cast of humans (Alexander Skarsgard, Rebecca Hall) travel intending to enter Hollow Earth for the same mega-corporation. Without saying too much more, it's pretty evident that Apex is up to no good.
The fact that "Team Kong" is also working for the bad guys, means that they stand in Godzilla's way, leading to the big clash between these two titans. Though it is between two CGI monsters, the fight is quite a spectacle. The battle takes place in rounds and includes some impressive choreography that showcases each creature's strengths. And yes, as the director said, there is a winner. However, the movie doesn't end when a more significant threat comes into play which we will discuss later. If you've read enough comics, you'll know that an epic slugfest usually ends in an even more epic team-up.
Ever since Godzilla (2014), the subplots around the human characters see much criticism. However, I don't see that as a problem this time around. All of the actors serve a purpose and do a fine job, though Haylee Hottle (Jia) steals the show from her co-stars. The actress comes from multiple generations of deaf family members, so sign language isn't something she is acting out—it's her native language. Here scenes with Kong brought down the adrenaline to a crawl and showcased the beast's majesty along with some beautiful imagery. These actors won't get any Oscar nominations from this movie, but their presence successfully drives the plot forward.
Another part of the movie that stands out is the original soundtrack. Having worked with Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures numerous times in the past (most recently the Snyder Cut), Junkie XL brings us a soundtrack that fits these two kings. He masterfully utilizes these two beasts' theme songs—Kong has more majestic and somber tones while Godzilla's tracks make it known that the force of nature is here to do damage. Those themes reoccur within different tracks throughout the movie, and it was a treat to hear them kick in. Junkie XL is a composer that has found his way into some of my favorite movies in recent years, and one that I am now keeping an eye on, especially after Zack Snyder's Justice League and now Godzilla vs. Kong.
I don't have any negative things to say about this movie, except for one, which means we will now address the elephant in the room—Mechagodzilla. While I do appreciate the concept of the design, it was severely underwhelming. According to Inverse, the director had the opportunity to redesign the Mecha-Kaiju and took inspiration from the Transformers franchise. Sadly, it seems that Windgard's creation carries all the traits that he was trying to avoid. However, this rendition of Mechagodzilla seems like a prototype that Apex Cybernetics was trying to rush out. So, if we get more MonsterVerse movies, I hope we see a more improved Mechagodzilla. The return of the Robo-kaiju is possible, mainly because it was rebuilt in the original Toho films.
As I previously mentioned, there is a winner in the fight between Godzilla and Kong. I will not give that part away and leave it up to you readers to find out for yourself if you haven't already seen the movie, but it was tough for me to watch. Though I may still be slightly bitter, I appreciate how both of these colossal kings got their moment. One does become victorious, but the movie also shows that the two can co-exist. When those two hours come to an end, you'll be satisfied whether you are #TeamKong or #TeamGodzilla.
Godzilla vs. Kong isn't a groundbreaking piece of cinema history, but it was a treat to watch these two legends collide in a modern adaptation. I believe that fans will be pleased, but it won't be anything special to the average movie-goer. Whether you venture to an open theater to watch it on the big screen or sit in the comfort of your home and watch it via HBO Max, this is a fun ride that is worth your time. For me, it had been just over a year since I came back to a theater, and this movie was the right experience for my return. I give it 4.5 out of 6 Infinity Stones.
L.J. Lowry is a friend of the Infinity Bros and fellow nerd, and has a ton of experience writing reviews over at geeksundergrace.com! Check out his gaming reviews on GUG, and some of his previous entertainment reviews on The Daily Snap!