“Godzilla vs. Kong” is the latest installment of the monster-verse movie franchise, this time pitting two titans of the screen against each other as they vie for dominance.
Con – needlessly complex
“Godzilla vs. Kong” should be a film that has no mystery. The filmmakers know what their audience expects, and the audience knows that the filmmakers are going to deliver; namely giant monsters smashing each other and a city in the process. It is a simple, yet enjoyable, formula for popcorn fare.
Why this movie feels the need to become needlessly complex is an unfortunate mystery. “Godzilla vs. Kong” bounces all over the place, veering wildly from slapstick comedy to conspiratorial allegory to action set pieces. Besides being needlessly complex, the logic of the movie is silly at best. Characters act with seemingly impulsive and foolish behavior that even in the short time we know them seems to make no sense. Decisions are made clearly to further the plot rather than from any semblance of intelligent adult decision making. It is so preposterous as to completely knock the audience out of the film as they shake their head and simply ask out loud, “really?!”
Pro – Come a long way
On the plus side, “Godzilla vs. Kong” delivers in a big way on the visuals side. Those keen to watch a couple giant kaiju smash up Hong Kong are in for a visual treat. The monsters look amazing, and the fight scenes are suitably visceral and destructive. The sound is a fitting companion for the feast of visuals that assault the audience. To be clear, this type of thing is the main pull for most people to this film, and “Godzilla vs. Kong” won’t disappoint. Of note is an outstanding sequence out at sea where the film shifts from ominous to exhilarating in the blink of an eye. At a sub-two-hour runtime, the visuals alone make the film worth viewing to any fan of the Kaiju genre.
Con – Where’s the fun at?
Ultimately, the biggest disappointment of “Godzilla vs. Kong” is that it just isn’t that fun. This is a movie that should be unabashedly about fun and “high-fiving” moments. Instead, it gets bogged down in silliness and over-complication. It certainly has fun moments, but even those lack a level of creativity that one might hope for. For example, the Hong Kong scene looks amazing and is exciting, but the city serves as little more than a crash pad. Two of the most iconic kaiju monsters in history fighting in a major city should produce multiple, “did you see that?” moments, and “Godzilla vs. Kong” fails to deliver one.
“Godzilla vs. Kong” is an amazing visual treat. It’s a testament to how far filmmaking has come from the days of two guys dressed up as monsters fighting on a model city set. Unfortunately, the film does not lean into its strengths and instead gets bogged down in complicated side plots and jarring character decisions. It is a movie that could have worked well half-baked, if the filmmakers had baked the right half. Instead, it is clunky, over-complicated, and worst of all, just not that fun. If you love Kaiju movies, you’ll find something to enjoy, but if not, stomp over the Fridley Palms Theatres and find something else to watch.