(director: Adam Wingard; screenwriters: Terry Rossio, Simon Barrett, Jeremy Slater; cinematographer: Ben Seresin; editor: Josh Schaeffer; music: Tom Holkenborg, Antonio Di Lorio; cast: Rebecca Hall (Ilene Andrews), Brian Tyree Henry (Bernie Hayes), Dan Stevens (Trapper), Kaylee Hottle (Jia), Alex Ferns (Mikael), Fala Chen (Iwi Queen), Rachel House (Hampton), Ron Smyck (Harris), Chantelle Jamieson (Jayne), Greg Hatton (Lewis); Runtime: 115; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Mar Parent, Alex Garcia, Eric McLeod, Thomas Tull, Brian Rogers; Warner Bros.; 2024)

“A forgettable B-film with a giant budget and a small story.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Adam Wingard (“Death Note”/”The Guest”) directs this overloaded special effects sequel to the 2020’s Godzilla vs. Kong, which is not better or worse than the others in the MonsterVerse franchise (this being the fifth entry, while Kong and Godzilla must have made at least 50 films).

The nonsensical script is written by three writers-Terry Rossio, Simon Barrett, and Jeremy Slater, who provide set pieces, nonstop fighting among the giant creatures, and gives us a brainless but fun conclusion of the featured giant foes teaming up to fight a threatening giant monster.

It opens with a lonely King Kong residing beneath the earth’s surface at Hollow Earth (the center of the planet), while Kong’s foe Godzilla, after smashing-up Rome, takes a snooze in the Roman Colosseum.

The job of tracking Godzilla around the world and Kong at Hollow Earth, goes to the scientist Dr. Andrews (Rebecca Hall). Things are going well in the world when Kong and Godzilla are kept apart. But there’s no such luck that the peace between them will last. Trouble arises when the brutish giant ape, Skar King, is discovered in Hollow Earth as the leader of Kong’s missing family of apes. The evil ape threatens the world and neither Kong or Godzilla can fight him alone.

Sensing trouble brewing in Hollow Earth, Dr. Andrews assembles her peace-keeper team to look in on Kong at his residence. The team includes Kong’s kaiju-handling veteran dentist Trapper (Dan Stevens) and the conspiracy theory podcaster Bernie Hayes (Brian Tyree Henry). The team uncover that Kong and Godzilla are to join forces against their common enemy Skar King.

The science team’s purpose seems to be to clear up details for the viewer in the lightweight story by spewing pseudo-science nonsense and giving us comic relief when they verbally spar with each other.

The subplot tells of Andrews’ adopted deaf daughter Jia (Kaylee Hottle), the sole Iwi tribe survivor on Skull Island, use her telepathic ability to connect to the lost tribe at Hollow Earth. She also uses sign language to communicate with Kong. Wingard, in his second MonsterVerse pic, is ok at using his big budget for the set designs, visuals and the CGIs needed for the many Titan fight scenes.

The escapist film, however, makes no sense, and it failed to get me to care for any of the giant monsters or human characters. It’s a forgettable B-film with a giant budget and a small story, but if you’re into seeing giant monsters fight or destroy cities around the world, this film has the spectacle to deliver the goods.