It feels like that for as long as cinema has been around, the cinematic powerhouses of King Kong and Godzilla have roared and stomped their way to establish themselves as iconic pop culture titans. Titans that in years gone by, would have no problems drawing massive crowds into packed cinemas across the world. While the former made his first big screen appearance in 1933, and the latter in 1954, their first on screen meeting came in 1962. Yet, ever since the wheels of the MonsterVerse were first put back in motion in 2014, it feels like the franchise has been building towards another clash between these two legendary monsters. Nearly half a century after their first meeting, and armed with the wonders that modern CGI can produce, these two cinematic behemoths are once again, scrapping it out for titan supremacy in GODZILLA VS KONG (2021).
GODZILLA VS KONG picks up a number of years since the events of GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS (2019). In that time, the Monarch corporation has been observing Kong at his home on Skull Island. A team of scientists led by Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgard) and Illene Andrews (Rebecca Hall) are seeking to locate what they believe to be some kind of unique power source that supposedly can be found in a mythical location, somewhere on the planet. For this mission to succeed, they believe that Kong is best placed to guide them to this mystical location. However, before they can get started with their mission, they cross paths with Godzilla who is seemingly being provoked into hurting people, which may or may not be connected to something another sinister corporation’s mysterious activities. when these two cross paths, a gargantuan clash between two of cinema’s greatest titans erupts.
When it comes to these films, the audience is there for one thing, and that is to see giant monsters beat the crap out of each other. To their credit, all of the films have had their satisfying moments with these enormous showdowns, though admittedly some have done it better than others. With GODILLA VS KONG, the battle scenes depicted here are potentially some of the best that this franchise has ever produced, as they are extremely entertaining to watch, and the work that is done by the visual effects artists is extraordinary. With these monster movies, you need to feel the size and the scale of these monsters, and with the enthralling showdowns that the film gives us, they succeed whilst making us humans feel like teeny ants by comparison.
For all the fun and exhilaration that the gargantuan showdowns, this franchise has (with the odd exception) had a difficult ability to craft human characters that are well developed and to really make the audience care about them. Once again, for the most part, the human characters have the most minimal amount of development. They are very expendable and exist in this franchise to mainly serve up exposition to the audience. This is especially frustrating when you consider the talent of the actors involved, and that they have the potential to be so much more. While the overwhelming majority of the human characters here, both old and new, are once again serviceable to the plot at best, the one exception to this is the connection that Kong has with Jia, a young deaf girl. Her character arc ensures that she is, by far and away, one of the most well-developed human characters this franchise has produced.
The plot concerning the human characters is extremely silly, and one can definitely question whether any aspect of the screenplay makes one iota of sense. However, that isn’t strictly necessary when it comes to a film that features a giant ape and a giant lizard squaring off against one another. You come to watch two cinematic titans having a good old scrap, and that is exactly what this film delivers. Furthermore, in a year that has been turbulent for the big screen experience, this is the sort of film that audiences need to just sit back, relax and enjoy the carnage that is depicted on screen. As Ishirō Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) said way back in GODZILLA (2014) said, “Let them fight,” and watch the monster mayhem unfold in all of its glory.