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Godzilla vs. Kong

In April, the cinematic world celebrated the greatest artistic achievements of the year at the 93rd Academy Awards. And, while this should have served as the marquee event of the month, it was the release of GODZILLA VS. KONG that took the world by storm. Resurrecting a box office that had lain dormant since the start of the pandemic, and giving HBO Max a steaming event even more powerful than ZACK SNYDER’S JUSTICE LEAGUE, the absurdly delightful culmination of the Monsterverse was the exact type of the over-the-top actioner that audiences needed.

It’s been five years since the events of GODZILLA KING OF MONSTERS. The kaiju who used to be feared are now revered as saviors, with none more celebrated than Godzilla. When the giant green guy starts stomping all over Pensacola, however, the public perception changes pretty quickly. What folks don’t know, is that Godzilla is being baited by the Apex corporation whose CEO, Walter Simmons (Demian Bichir,) set into motion a chain of events that may lead to unspeakable catastrophe.

Meanwhile, Kong is still living on Skull Island. An enclosure has been set up to not only protect the mighty monster but to study him as well. The team is lead by the brilliant Dr. Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall) whose adopted daughter Jia (Kaylee Hottle) has befriended the beast and communicates with him using sign language.

Admittedly, the plot of GODZILLA VS. KONG is ridiculously convoluted. A LOT is going on, even if most of it doesn’t make any sense. Basically, Apex is looking for an energy source that can be found in what is known as Hollow Earth. It is near the core of the planet and is an ecosystem that may or may not have produced Kong and creatures like him. Simmons convinces scientist Dr. Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgard), who then convinces Dr. Andrews, to take a jaunt down to the Hollow, and bring Kong along for protection. The hope is that this energy source can be harnessed to bring down Godzilla, who is still running amok. Meanwhile, Godzilla sympathizer and admirer Madison Russell (Millie Bobby Brown) enlists the help of former Apex employee and conspiracy theory podcaster Bernie Hayes (Brian Tyree Henry) to try to find out why our beloved Godzilla has become so ornery.

This is the set-up that gets us to the point where two of the most famous screen monsters of all time battle it out. And, when they finally rumble, director Adam Wingard certainly delivered the goods. Their first meeting, which takes place in the middle of the ocean, is a rollicking, insane rumble that instantly makes up for all of the confounding plotlines that lead us to this point. As it should, it certainly stands as the pivotal “make or break” moment of the film. Had the sequence been like, say, any single sequence in KING OF MONSTERS (dark, jittery, unwatchable) then it would have been game over. But, as the monsters mash, destroying aircraft carries and creating tidal waves along the way, it is exactly what I hoped to see unfold.

The battle at sea would serve as the first matchup between the two, but it would not be the last. Several other exciting events take place along the way, including Kong and crew making it to the Hollow Earth, where I expected to see the characters from AVATAR spring up at any moment. Giving this Hollow Earth sequence (or the movie as a whole, for that matter) too much thought will certainly take away from the dazzling impact of its grandiose beauty, its entertainment value is enough to force the viewer to check their brain at the door. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter why they are there, or why they are doing whatever the heck it is they are doing. The only thing that matters is that we are there with them, watching the absurdity unfold.

Godzilla and Kong meet up a couple of more times as the movie progresses, and each time the brawls are spectacular. Realism was never going to be the strong suit here, but the effects are phenomenal and you can truly believe that these monsters are working out their issues without any concern of collateral damage along the way.

In theory, KONG VS. GODZILLA was meant to bring the Monsterverse to a close with a satisfying conclusion. After the colossal success of this production, I’m not entirely convinced that we’ve seen the last of these magnificent monsters.


RUN TIME: 1h 53min GENRE: Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller
STARRING: Alexander Skarsgård, Millie Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall
DIRECTOR: Adam Wingard WRITERS: Terry Rossio, Michael Dougherty

Brian Miller