GODZILLA VS. KONG
(director: Adam Wingard; screenwriters: Eric Pearson/Max Borenstein/story by Terry Rossio, Michael Dougherty, Zach Shields, based on the character “Godzilla,” owned and created by Toho; cinematographer: Ben Seresin; editor: Josh Schaeffer; music: Tom Holkenborg; cast: Alexander Skarsgård (Nathan Lind), Millie Bobby Brown (Madison Russell), Rebecca Hall (Dr. Ilene Andrews), Brian Tyree Henry (Bernie Hayes), Shun Oguri (Ren Serizawa), Eiza González (Maya Simmons), Demián Bichir (Walter Simmons), Julian Dennison (Josh Valentine), Lance Reddick (Monarch Director), Kaylee Hottle (Jia), Kyle Chandler (Mark Russell), Hakeem Kae-Kazim (Admiral Wilcox), Ronny Chieng (Jay Wayne); Runtime: 113; MPAA Rating: PG-13 producers: Mary Parent, Alex Garcia, Eric McLeod, Jon Jashni, Thomas Tull, Brian Rogers; Warner Bros./HBO Max; 2021)
“Not to be taken too seriously action movie, that’s on IMAX. ”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Adam Wingard (“You’re Next”/”Autoerotic”) directs this not to be taken too seriously action movie, that’s on IMAX. The ultimate big brawl kaiju (monster) film is about the titled classic giants battling each other for the world championship of ‘who is the toughest bad-assed monster around.’ The film is more interested in the brawl than the humans or its ridiculous story. The less powerful Kong (introduced as the King Kong in the 1933 film with Fay Wray) is the underdog to the super-charged, with a sledgehammer tail, lizard (a 1954 Toho creation), in their expected climax fight.
Kong gets all the love in this film for being so sensitive and willing to make contact with humans. The gorilla has a friendship with a deaf young orphan native Iwi girl named Jia (Kaylee Hottle), communicating with Kong by sign language. She’s the last of the natives, whose guardian is the kind-hearted scientist, Dr. Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall). Ilene works for the peacekeeping Monarch Organization, and is on a government contract. She’s an anthropology researcher who tries to keep the gorilla secure in an enclosure and sated so he won’t leave Skull Island. The busy lady has no time to get romantic with any of her fellow Monarch scientists, like the author Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgard). The less than sensitive academic quack, who is ethically compromised by his involvement with the corrupt corporate big-wig of Apex Cybernetics, Walter Simmons (Demián Bichir). The Apex head smoothie hires Nathan to lead an expedition to Hollow Earth, the center of the world and the place thought to be the birthplace of the ancient giant creatures called Titans.
This is the fourth episode in a franchise called the MonsterVerse, that includes the following films that began in 2014 with the reboot “Godzilla,” the best film in the series. What followed were two duller sequels, like “Kong: Skull Island” and “Godzilla King of the Monsters.” The purpose of those films was to set the stage in the future for the gorilla going up against the lizard in an epic battle to save the world. Its B- film trashy material is uplifted only by its CGI-created creatures, who look better than a million bucks on the screen. Though a cheesy film it deserves, just for the fights, to be seen in theaters on the Big Screen.
The story is by Terry Rossio, Michael Dougherty and Zach Shields. The screenwriters are tasked with making some sense out of this brawl are Marvel writer Eric Pearson and the MonsterVerse rep Max Borenstein. They invoke myths and legends along with other matters in pseudo science to promote this hokum.
The story turns on the company run by the corporate egocentrically inclined villain, Walter Simmons. His massive Apex research facility, located mostly underground in the capital of Florabama — Pensacolais, promotes advancements in technology above all other considerations. For some reason the facility will be attacked by Godzilla in the first act, after the researchers at the facility awaken the beast from its sleep in the underground. The world soon turns on the lizard because of its violent rampage as a foe rather than as previously being the world protector. Thereby the Skull Island resident, Kong, is recruited to take on Godzilla and save the world from being destroyed by the monster.
Godzilla fan boy, the podcaster Bernie Hayes (Brian Tyree), a conspiracy theory nut, has gone undercover to reveal the truth about what is taking place in that secretive facility, while the nervous Monarch Corp. scientist bureaucrat, Mark Russell (Kyle Chandler), plays the absentee father of the teenage girl Madison Russell (Millie Bobby Brown), and doesn’t know that she’s with her annoying nerdy boyfriend (Julian Dennison) and the foolish Bernie on the Apex facility site.
When the giants fight, it’s at sea and on the streets of Hong Kong.
If I was a betting man, I’d bet this gorgeously shot vacuous crowd-pleasing monster film, despite being artless, has a really big box-office as it delivers all the visceral thrills expected of the genre.
REVIEWED ON 4/3/2021 GRADE: B-