There’s only one thing people want to see in a film called Godzilla vs. Kong and that’s an epic monster brawl and in that regard, this film absolutely delivers. But every time the titular monsters aren’t on screen, it feels like a chore to sit through.
The film knows exactly what it is and what the audience want to see, such that when the smackdowns happen, they are fiercely entertaining and absolutely thrilling. Unlike Gareth Edwards’ 2014 film Godzilla, where there was very little screen time for the titular monster and Godzilla was always shrouded in smoke or darkness, in Godzilla vs. Kong, every single time the monsters appear, you can see them in all their glory, which is wonderful.
As great as the fight scenes are, unfortunately, there’s more to the film than that. Whilst two hours of non-stop kaiju chaos would make for great entertainment, that’s not a film and there has to be just a smidge of substance in it to provide some explanation for what’s going on. Much like Godzilla: King of the Monsters, this is the area where the film falls the most. The human characters are by far the weakest part of the film, and maybe some of this contempt for them is because every time you see humans talking, you’re not seeing King Kong punch Godzilla in the face, but nonetheless they all feel very bland and shallow.
Warner Bros. and Legendary’s MonsterVerse has always felt quite disjointed as other than the titular monsters, there’s been very little connecting them. In Godzilla vs. Kong, we do see the return of some familiar faces such as Kyle Chandler and Millie Bobby Brown’s father and daughter duo from King of the Monsters albeit in fairly small roles. But otherwise, all the main human characters in the film are brand new, and there are quite a lot of them. Alexander Skarsgård, Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry, Shun Oguri, Eiza González, Julian Dennison, Kaylee Hottle and Demián Bichir all join the cast and most of them have quite big roles in this film.
For the fourth film in a franchise, it seems absolutely crazy to be introducing so many new characters, particularly when they’re all secondary to Godzilla and Kong. Because there’s so many of them, none of them get any real development or provide the audience with much interest. Kaylee Hottle’s deaf child that can communicate with Kong is really the only character that adds much to the film beyond the two monsters. It felt as if every time the humans were on screen it was just filler to pad out the runtime and to turn this into a film rather than a couple of CGI fights.
Whilst the human side will always be weak in a film like this, the monster mayhem really is incredible. The film does focus more on Kong throughout the film, which is a bit disappointing for Godzilla fans, particularly as he has top billing in the film’s title but at least the film does have a clear focus. The fights looks beautiful, with excellent cinematography and the CGI throughout is perfect which takes the film that extra step into fully immersing you in it. Director Adam Wingard has crafted this film, and its action scenes so well and they really do deliver. It’s a film that deserves to be seen on the biggest screen possible.
But as much as the film succeeds with what we all want to see, Godzilla vs. Kong is more than just the fight scenes and on balance, it is a very average film. On the one had you have these colossal, action scenes with cities being destroyed that will leave you with a huge grin on your face but on the other hand, the film does very little to convince you to care about anything else going on in it.
Godzilla vs. Kong is available to rent on digital platforms from Thursday April 1st.