By Ryan Stetz (HBO)
2021 roars into action with the release of the highly anticipated action blockbuster: “Godzilla vs. Kong”
Three years after Godzilla heroically defended humanity from King Ghidorah, the relative peace is broken when the Alpha Titan turns his atomic breath on the very people he fought to protect. Godzilla’s rampage at an Apex Cybernetics site in Pensacola Florida sends the world into panic. Apex Cybernetics, spearheaded by CEO Walter Simmons (Demián Bichir), announces plans to build a superweapon capable of defeating Godzilla.
Simmons commissions an expedition into the Primordial Realm, the hollow center of the earth believed to be where the Titans originated, to find an energy source strong enough to power the superweapon. Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgård), a discredited expert on the Primordial Realm, is tasked with leading the expedition. Lind seeks the help of his former colleague, Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall), a lead scientist at the Kong Containment Facility on Skull Island. The team forcefully enlists the help of Kong, believing he will be able to lead them through the unexplored realm.
Meanwhile, Mark Russell’s daughter, Madison Russell (Millie Bobby Brown), teams up with a little-known conspiracy theorist podcaster, Bernie Hayes (Brian Tyree Henry) to find out the true intentions behind Apex’s secret operations.
With Kong leaving the safety of Skull Island, the two Titans are bound on a collision course destined to reignite their ancient rivalry.
“Godzilla vs. Kong” is an enjoyable action-packed movie filled with moments of beautiful cinematography and character growth. However, in order to realize the basic premise of the movie, a showdown between Kong and Godzilla, retcons and inconsistencies were added to strengthen and weaken Godzilla depending on what the plot demanded at a given moment in time. Godzilla’s atomic breath was not only inconsistent with previous movies in the Monsterverse, but it was also inconsistent within the film itself. The more frequent use of it turned a spine-chilling weapon of destruction into a rapid-fire machine gun with no dramatic effect.
In contrast, Kong remained consistent throughout the movie. His increase in power directly connected to the main plot in an enjoyable and intriguing way. Kong carried the film, providing the majority of the poster-worthy cinematic shots, as well as being the main conduit for driving the Monsterverse’s lore forward. The time dedicated to Kong’s development with mankind and what home means for him provided meaningful breaks between blockbuster action scenes. In many ways, this film was more a sequel to “Kong: Skull Island” than a crossover event between Godzilla and Kong.
The human characters largely revolved around Madison Russell’s group, attempting to unmask Apex and Lind’s expedition with Kong. The former plays the role of comedic relief, to varying success, while unraveling clues that feed into the movie’s concluding act. The latter largely acts as a supporting cast for Kong, deeping his connection to humanity.
Once the end credits run and the movie is over, “Godzilla vs. Kong” has been able to provide a satisfying ending that paves the way for more adventures into the Monsterverse. While it has its flaws, the movie is able to meet two important expectations: It expands the lore of the Monsterverse, and provides viewers the chance to see multiple blockbuster fight scenes where a 300-foot primate goes ape on a nuked-up atomic-breathing dinosaur.