Movie Review: Godzilla vs Kong

Originally set to release last year, Godzilla vs. Kong became one of the most anticipated releases of 2021. This film was made for the big screen. Like all blockbusters, it has epic fights, extraordinary visuals, and incredible sound. 

I was lucky to have seen it in theaters, which is the preferred way to watch it. It’s been a year since movie theaters closed due to the pandemic. Here in Los Angeles, some theaters only began reopening on March 19 at a limited capacity with strict preventative measures. As we slowly move towards the new normal, attending a movie in a theater is a luxury that many of us, particularly movie fans, have been anxiously anticipating — and who better than Godzilla vs. Kong to help lead the way? It delivers what the trailer promised, plus the distraction we all desperately need.

But don’t feel pressured to go to a theater if you’re not ready to do so. This movie will always be there (It’s also available on HBO Max for a limited time), so please prioritize your health and safety.

We begin the film roughly where Kong: Skull Island (2017) leaves off, with King Kong still on the island, or so we’re led to think. Then Walter Simmons (Demián Bichir, Chaos Walking) introduces the audience to Apex Cybernetics. After Godzilla attacks the Apex facility and its surroundings, the monster-watch group Monarch and other people invested in these titans become concerned. So Madison (Millie Bobby Brown, returning from 2019’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters), her friend Josh (Julian Dennison, Deadpool 2) and podcaster and conspiracy theorist Bernie (Brian Tyree Henry, TV’s Atlanta) go on a mission to discover the true reason behind Godzilla’s recent attacks. 

In the meantime, Simmons seeks information and a possible alliance with Dr. Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgård, TV’s The Stand) to find a way to stop Godzilla by any means. Lind has been studying the Hollow Earth, a location in the center of the Earth believed to be the birthplace of all titans. In an attempt to find further answers, he visits Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall, Professor Marston & the Wonder Women), who is caring for Kong, in the hopes that Kong can lead them to the exact location within the Earth. Only a titan can lead them there. As for Kong, he’s developed a bond with Jia (newcomer Kaylee Hottle), the only survivor of the native people who lived on Skull Island. Ilene has taken the girl under her wing as well.

Kaylee Hottle (photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment)

Godzilla vs. Kong has a straightforward narrative, nothing too complex, but it’s a monster film, so it’s expected. The human story is its weakest link. Even the star-studded cast can’t save some of the characters’ questionable decisions, cheesy dialogue, and jokes that fall completely flat. But I must give kudos to Bichir and Eiza González (I Care a Lot) for representing us Latinos, even though they’re villains. Bichir seems to be having a blast with his character. 

However, it’s Hottle’s Jia that runs with this film. She’s the emotional anchor that makes this film bearable for viewing in terms of the human narrative. The rest of the cast does what they can with what they’re given which really is setting the stage for the title matchup.  

Two titans going at it. Kong fighting lizard monsters. Some gross but cool killings — this movie is worth viewing for the visuals and epic fights alone. 

7/10