'Godzilla Vs. Kong' Review: Big Lizard Wrestles Big Gorilla On The Big Screen
Smash smash, crush crush, punch punch, talk talk. That is MonsterVerse's newest instalment Godzilla Vs. Kong truly in its very essence as the two giant titans go head to head multiple times in order to establish which one comes out on top at the end. The beginning on the other hand sets up quite a few building blocks before the two titular characters come across each other; Kong is being observed at Skull Island by Monarch's scientists Nathan Lind (Alexander Skårsgard) and Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall) while he forms a connection with Ilene's adopted daughter Jia (Kaylee Hottle), Godzilla is on a rampage and Apex' devious CEO Walter Simmons (Demián Bichir) is on a mission to build the mightiest titan of all, the Mechagodzilla.
There's about five more things to follow as well but you're there to watch big things fight big and that's certainly what you get, that havoc is rather fun while everything on ground level is mostly stale.
Major improvement from the franchise's last film 'Godzilla: King Of The Monsters' to this one is that the build-ups to action are much stronger so the fun really comes through in them more. Plot stuff with human characters is slightly faster and trimmed down, therefore we don't feel as stuck in the exposition (most of the dialogue is still that, though). When we finally get to the action, the visual effects work is spectacular considering the scale of the film as there really isn't a single part that feels less than others, even the daylight sequences work which is always impressive. From those human characters, only one really stands out and that is Hottle's Jia and it's a real shame that director Adam Wingard doesn't form the movie around her because she makes the film feel grounded and something we can connect to as an audience. It's also Hottle's first role which is remarkable.
Other characters are much more inconsequential and especially the subplot where we follow Madison (Millie Bobby Brown), Josh (Julian Dennison) and Bernie (Brian Tyree Henry) is so disengaging that it hurts. Just the amount of people we need to know really makes the plot unnecessarily convoluted, plus the weird technological advancement (this is only five years after KOTM) that the characters constantly need to explain doesn't help either. Due to insignificant humans and buildings as well as the sci-fi expeditions, we're really missing the terror aspect the monsters bring to the Earth.
That also affects the cinematography in the film as Kong and Godzilla aren't framed like giants they are, the VFX shots are way more expansive than the typical set ones, clearest in that Madison/Josh/Bernie subplot that is shot like a 2002 music video with awkward movement and what looks like completely different lenses. ''GvK'' is a return to more fun monster action but it is still held down by mostly corny characters and plotting.
Smileys: Pacing, VFX
Frowneys: Characterisation, cinematography, story
''But dad, Godzilla was like super nice to me that one time so who cares about the destruction, haha.''