Movie review – Godzilla vs. Kong (2021)

Warner Bros. Pictures is on a roll to begin 2021 as the studio has now released Godzilla vs. Kong and the four-hour long Zack Snyder cut of Justice League. Both of which you can view now on HBO Max if you have a subscription and you can see the former in theatres. 

We are going to have a Snyder Cut review from one of our new writers on the platform, Kody Malouf, so today, I will be talking about Godzilla vs. Kong. 

If you know me, you know how much I adore the 2014 film, Godzilla, that kicked off this run of the MonsterVerse for Warner Bros. Director Gareth Edwards had an eye for the awe-inspiring size and scale of Godzilla and the MUTOs, culminating in one of my favorite experiences in a movie theatre. While the human characters aren’t written well in that film, and it gets even worse in the next Godzilla film, I can still appreciate having a great ensemble of Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen, Sally Hawkins, Ken Watanabe and Aaron-Taylor Johnson. 

We lose that fantastic ensemble in Godzilla: King of the Monsters and in Godzilla vs. Kong. The biggest name for both movies comes in the form of Eleven from Stranger Things, Millie Bobby Brown. I definitely enjoy her in Stranger Things, but she fails to really be relevant in either film and that can be attributed to bland writing for human characters. However, there have been other stars to outshine her and she is clearly outshined by Brian Tyree Henry, who I believe will land himself a role that earns him a Best Actor or Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars in the future. He is that versatile and I found him absolutely hilarious in this film as he plays a paranoid worker for Apex Cybernetics and podcasts about conspiracy theories surrounding that entity. 

Godzilla seems to senselessly attack the Apex headquarters, but Apex has some darker secrets that get revealed in the final act as to why Godzilla was provoked.

Meanwhile, Monarch has built a dome over Skull Island to prevent the potential meeting of Godzilla and King Kong. This is the part of the story where the characters actually aren’t poor. Rebecca Hall and Alexander Skarsgard are fine in the film and avoid being unbearable, but the star of this side of the film is Jia, played by Kaylee Hottle, who is deaf and develops an emotional connection with Kong. Kong is the only one who will communicate with her and they carry the emotional weight of the entire film. 

At the end of the day, the audience will only care about the sheer entertainment and destruction of the Godzilla & Kong fights. Do they deliver? Absolutely. Director Adam Wingard (You’re Next) did a phenomenal job in keeping a ton of wide shots so we can see the size of these two monsters as they destroy cities and wreak havoc in the ocean. Each fight gets better and better as the film progresses. It is a welcome and refreshing sight after the misguided direction of the prior Godzilla film. 

If you are looking for the deeper meaning of this film or the hidden symbolism, you are obviously going to be very disappointed, but if you just want to sit back, have some fun and watch Godzilla and Kong kick each other butts, this is that film. It lives up to the billing and special effects just keep getting better and better. 

The lone flaw of the film is still the human characters, but they are written much better than King of the Monsters and you can definitely get behind some of the characters and feel for them when they are hurting. 

Rating: 8/10

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