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Monday, March 29, 2021

[Review] ‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ Delivers on Bombastic Kaiju Spectacle

Legendary’s MonsterVerse reintroduced iconic monster titans Godzilla and King Kong as loners turned begrudging heroes of humanity in just three films. Two of those three saw Godzilla battle his way through numerous foes, with the help of Mothra and a few human characters, to become the king of all monsters. Kong’s more self-contained introduction marked his teenage years as an endangered species longing for connection while perpetually defending Skull Island from destruction. The only indication that these two were destined for a knock-out battle for the ages came in the form of cave paintings during the end credits of Godzilla: King of the Monsters.

Godzilla vs. Kong flounders in its attempts to explain this crossover event, but its breathtaking visual spectacle and commitment to monster mayhem bring some welcome balance.

Before the two titans clash, Godzilla vs. Kong takes time to set the stage for both sides of the ring. In Kong’s corner is protector Dr. Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall) and her adoptive daughter Jia (Kaylee Hottle), an orphan with a unique bond to the giant ape. In Godzilla’s corner is returning player Madison Russell (Millie Bobby Brown), one of Godzilla’s last remaining advocates in a world that’s primarily decided Godzilla isn’t a savior after all. She teams up with pal Josh Valentine (Julian Dennison) and conspiracy theorist Bernie (Brian Tyree Henry) to uncover a plot against the apex monster led by Apex CEO Walter (Demian Bichir). All plot threads eventually converge to unveil the heavyweight championship battle for the ages.

The screenplay by Eric Pearson (Thor: Ragnarok) and MonsterVerse writer Max Borenstein throws a lot at its audience from the jump, never stopping to take a breath. There’s a lot of ground to cover, none of it with much depth. There’s no satisfying reason for the grudge match between the iconic beasts, just general allusions to biological instinct between apex predators. Instead, Kong’s longtime reputation as one of cinema’s most sympathetic monsters gets played up to its fullest, with a moving storyline meant to ensure audience allegiance belongs to this big-hearted beast looking for a home. Complete with affecting music swells from the score. Godzilla’s uninterested in humanity and gets much less of a spotlight here as his human faction devolves into a sort of comedic-heist plotline meant to drive the overarching narrative forward. However, they fare the worst with painful dialogue and contrived storytelling that will test your limits for suspension of disbelief at parts.

It’s understood that the audiences are here for the Kaiju mayhem, so little time is spent on developing the humans or the increasingly convoluted storytelling. Yet, they’re given the bulk of the screen time here. Luckily, director Adam Wingard commits fully to the action and adventure. Combined with the sophisticated technology at his disposal, Godzilla vs. Kong delivers every bit of the awe and monster mayhem you hoped for. The main event comes late, but Wingard makes that wait worth it with thrilling set pieces and pure entertaining destruction. The filmmaker made good on his promise to ensure one titan emerges victorious, too, though how that plays out is predictable if you’ve been paying attention.

This bombastic crossover packs as much as possible into its roughly two-hour runtime, from densely ambitious yet simple storylines to blockbuster Kaiju action. So much happens that the runtime barely feels long enough to contain it all. The cast is stacked, yet none of these talented actors can rise above the material they’re given. Still, Wingard knows what type of movie this is and what audiences came for. The rapid pacing makes it all fly by, and the visuals easily make this the best-looking entry yet in the MonsterVerse. It’s outlandish and sometimes very dumb, but it more than delivers what it promises. With immaculate thrills and spectacle, who cares why the lizard and ape decided to duke it out; we’re the real winners here.

Godzilla vs. Kong smashes its way into theaters and HBO Max on March 31, 2021.



source https://bloody-disgusting.com/reviews/3657898/review-godzilla-vs-kong-delivers-bombastic-kaiju-spectacle/

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