Under Review: “Godzilla vs. Kong”

Louis Faillace, Staff Writer

For decades, people have lined up to experience the giant monsters, mindless fun and destructive battles that come with an action movie. Godzilla vs. Kong delivers all of that, but it struggles to create engaging human characters.

In 2014, Godzilla, directed by Gareth Edwards, was released. Similarly to the Marvel Cinematic Universe format, Godzilla set up an expanded universe that would contain a group of films which would eventually culminate in Godzilla vs. Kong. These films were Kong: Skull Island and Godzilla: King of the Monsters, both of which expanded viewers’ knowledge of Godzilla and Kong and their respective stories.

Godzilla vs. Kong follows a group of scientists’ quest to follow King Kong to his home, The Hollow Earth. They aim to harness its energy to create a superweapon capable of defeating Godzilla, who has turned on the humans.

Godzilla vs. Kong contains two continuous subplots that converge at the end of the film. The first revolves around King Kong and the group of researchers on their journey to find the entrance to The Hollow Earth, while simultaneously defending themselves from the attacks of Godzilla. The second subplot is about uncovering the mystery of Godzilla’s sudden attacks and the true intentions of the researchers behind the superweapon.

This structure reminded me of the third season of Stranger Things, which contains three subplots that culminate in an epic final episode. In Stranger Things, each subplot is equally well-thought-out, entertaining and still manages to feel unique. In Godzilla vs. Kong, this is not the case. I found myself falling into a sleep-inducing coma every time the movie switched from the subplot containing King Kong and Godzilla to the less interesting detective and conspiracy subplot. Almost everything between King Kong and Godzilla is fun and exciting, while everything in the mystery subplot is mind-numbingly bland.

Godzilla vs. Kong offers several visually impressive fights between the two icons, each taking place in a new and interesting location. No place is safe as Godzilla and King Kong wreak havoc everywhere from the top of an aircraft carrier to Pensacola. My favorite scene was an epic duel between the two in Hong Kong.

While the monster battles in this film are entertaining and plentiful, they do not make up for the poor performances of the human characters. A few characters, such as Dr. Nathan Lind, played by Alexander Skarsgård, stand out as better than the rest. Skarsgård portrays a scientist who offers information about the two characters and their mythologies, providing context for the movie in general. However, the acting and line delivery from the majority of actors fall mostly flat. At times I would cringe at the line delivery of the actors, and this issue was exacerbated by a poorly written script. Any attempt at humor fell short, and at no point did I find myself laughing.  

Overall, it is hard for me to be disappointed because I knew exactly what I was getting myself into. Keep your expectations in check and know that this movie does not succeed at doing much besides massive fights.

Bottom line — if you watch this movie expecting giant monster fights and explosions, you’ll be happy. But if you expect thoughtful storytelling coupled with good acting and writing, you will find yourself disappointed with the film.

Final score: 6/10