GODZILLA VS. KONG Review; "A Borderline Unwatchable Bore Of A Movie Whenever The Titans Aren't On Screen"

GODZILLA VS. KONG Review; "A Borderline Unwatchable Bore Of A Movie Whenever The Titans Aren't On Screen"

Godzilla vs. Kong arrives on HBO Max today, but is it worth subscribing to the streaming service for this battle of the Titans? While the fights don't disappoint, it's a shame that everything else does...

Godzilla vs. Kong is, without a doubt, a movie that should be watched on the biggest screen possible. That's easier said than done right now, of course, and while this crossover event certainly manages to bring the cinematic experience to your front room (courtesy of HBO Max), that doesn't necessarily mean it's a good experience. 

With only a few superfluous ties to previous movies like Kong: Skull Island and Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Eric Pearson and Max Borenstein's screenplay does little to build on the mythology of this "MonsterVerse" despite adding a few new ideas here and there. Their script does deliver a movie that, beyond the monster fights, is a chore to watch and impossible to recommend.

For better or worse, this franchise has fully embraced sci-fi with Godzilla vs. Kong, and while that's not a bad thing - there's nothing here any more unrealistic than what we regularly see in the Marvel Cinematic Universe - the problem is that this isn't smart sci-fi. It's used as a lazy way to justify what's playing out on screen, whether we're talking about Kong's enclosure on Skull Island, the spaceship-style vehicles the movie's lead human characters zip about in, or the nonsensical creation of Mecha-Godzilla (which is admittedly awesome to see in action). It's honestly laughable at times, but so too are this movie's forced moments of peril, including one character on a ship that's being attacked locking herself in a small room, and then acting surprised when it quickly starts filling with water and she can't get out. 

Ultimately, Godzilla vs. Kong's biggest issue is its human characters. There are those who will argue that, like the plot, the humans don't matter. Well, when it takes 40 minutes for there to be any significant monster action and you're forced to spend that much time with these guys, believe us when we say it definitely matters. Whether it's the awful conspiracy theory subplot or the irritating group we're forced to follow into the Hollow Earth, they're a chore to spend time with and all have vastly more screentime than Godzilla and Kong. To say that the humans aren't the point of a movie like this one is ridiculous, especially when the action revolves around them and those highly anticipated fights take up maybe only 25 - 30 minutes of the two-hour runtime. 
 

The cast really doesn't help matters, though Rebecca Hall and the young Kaylee Hottle do their best (the latter is definitely a talent worth keeping an eye on). Brian Tyree Henry tries and fails to make his cringe-worthy dialogue amusing, while Eiza González manages to deliver a career-worst performance (yes, even worse than Bloodshot). Kyle Chandler is a non-factor, and the usually reliable Millie Bobby Brown is awful. That's not much of a surprise, though, as the same could be said for what we saw from her in Godzilla: King of the Monsters. Alexander Skarsgård isn't really worth mentioning (he's neither terrible nor particularly memorable), but Julian Dennison is perhaps the biggest disappointment. Clearly added to Godzilla vs. Kong to provide some laughs, the humor falls flat, and if Hollywood is going to try and force The Hunt for the Wilderpeople standout into roles like this one, his career might not last long. Oh, and as villains go, Demián Bichir is beyond forgettable. 

On the plus side, director Adam Wingard delivers some killer visuals in Godzilla vs. Kong. This is a great-looking movie, and there are some stunning moments here that would be awe-inspiring to witness on an IMAX screen. The fights never disappoint, and whether it's seeing the two title behemoths go to war at sea or in neon-lit Hong Kong, you should walk away satisfied with action at the very least.

Kong is very much positioned as the hero and receives the majority of screentime. Unfortunately, that makes Godzilla something of a one-note baddie, and it feels like Wingard couldn't quite crack giving him an arc or personality. When the fists start flying and the Atomic Breath is burning, though, this is an action-packed spectacle that MonsterVerse fans will love. Ultimately, this might be a movie meant just for them, but those human moments will be a struggle for anyone to get through. Had Godzilla vs. Kong given us 30 minutes less of them and 30 minutes more monster fights, it could have been truly great. As it stands, it's a bad movie with some bloody brilliant action. 

Godzilla vs. Kong may deliver on the promise of its title with some jaw-dropping battles, but whenever the Titans aren't on screen, it devolves into a jumbled, borderline unwatchable bore of a movie. 

Pennywise1

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