Godzilla Vs Kong

  • 17 Apr - 23 Apr, 2021
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Reviews

The first meeting between Godzilla and King Kong was in 1962’s King Kong Vs Godzilla. The premise was that a businessman thought a couple of massive kaiju having a fight would make for good publicity; while the VFX budget may have changed in the six decades since, this is essentially more of the same: a flashy, big-name boxing match to bring in the punters.

Exactly why they’re fighting this time is never really made totally clear. Beyond some muttered dialogue about “ancient rivalries”, it all feels rather reverse-engineered, a pairing purely to sate studios hungry for the next most ambitious crossover event ever. Still, the skyscraper-sized scraps — likely the only reason anyone really wants to watch this — make for by far the film’s most straightforwardly enjoyable moments. Compared to the other entries in this reboot run, the kaiju brawls here are modestly. It has a decent sense of scale; fight choreography that pleasingly resembles a car park punch-up; and impressive CGI that, in Kong, at least hints of the beast once killed by beauty.

But damn, it makes you work for the fun. Over 40 minutes of runtime pass until the two titans actually meet, and those minutes feel like a slog, as we’re introduced to a new ensemble of Exposition Delivery Units that could charitably be described as ‘characters’. Any time the monsters are not on screen, in fact, is draining. The movie has struggled to know what to do with the human characters on the ground.

We can only mourn for the classically trained actors forced to deliver aggressively stupid dialogue about “gravity inversion” and “psionic uplinks”. Pity, in particular, poor Brian Tyree Henry, who plays a conspiracy-theorising podcaster plucked straight from outdated stereotypes, given cringing comic relief lines like, “If this wasn’t contributing to world destruction, it would make a great DJ booth!”; and Rebecca Hall, who seems to have the role previously held by Ken Watanabe of attempting to impart some gravitas on what is really a very silly endeavour (“Kong bows to no-one!”).

All in all, Godzilla Vs Kong mostly delivers on its promise of a big monster fighting another big monster. It just depends whether you’re willing to sit through the toe-curlingly bad set-up that surrounds it.

– Compilation