If it’s immense visuals, honey-to-the-ear soundtrack, fantastical plot and 60-foot “stars” aren’t enough to sell you that ‘cinema’s back in session’, you’re clearly on Apple’s payroll.
The latest entry in Warner Bros’ and Legendary Pictures’ Monsterverse series – following “Godzilla”, “Kong Skull Island” and “Godzilla : King of the Monsters”- is a campy, B-movie in designer garb.
It’s unintelligent, the humans are hot props, and the plot is as messy as a cat breeder’s laundry, but “Kong vs. Godzilla” is also one of the most visually arresting and undeniably fun monster movies since the days of Jack Arnold and Larry Cohen. Second, like most of Spielberg’s back catalogue, this is a film that deserves to unspool not on a device but on a theatre platter.
Kong – who we haven’t seen since 2017’s “Kong Skull Island” – is now incarnated in a prison on Skull Island. Thanks to regular company from squat young pal, Jia (Kaylee Hottle), an orphan who has taught the big guy sign language, it doesn’t seem to bother him.
Godzilla, meanwhile, is chasing waves in Miami. Here’s re-emerged to take down a cybernetics organization on the East Coast – suggesting the scaly sea-creature knows something the audience doesn’t.
On team Godzilla, and too convinced that there’s some shady goings on, podcaster Bernie Hayes (Brian Tyree Henry) and local teens, Madison Russell (Millie Bobby Brown), who appeared in the last film, and her pal, Josh (Julian Dennison). The trio break into the facility to get some answers, and find much more than they bargained for.
Seeing as Godzilla and Kong are long-time enemies, the scientist’s on Skull Island decide it’s best to pack the big monkey off to somewhere safer. Unfortunately, the only place Alexander Skarsgard’s freethinking doc Nathan Lind can suggest is some mythical interior world, full of all sorts of creatures, located in the earth’s crust. A “Journey to the Center of the World”-style expedition follows.
Just as Kong settles into his new ‘home’, watery warrior Godzilla tracks him down — and Michael Buffer enters the picture (well, not really…) to cry ‘Let’s get Ready to Rumbllllllllle’!
What follows is a spectacular third-quarter that’s lit like a “Blade Runner” set and moves like a junkie at a disco exhibit – it’s a hoot!
Eric Pearson and Max Borenstein’s script focuses solely on making the title characters look good – with the human characters only there to drive the plot along, but not dishing up anything worthy of their show reels – and that’s to be expected. The bouts they’ve constructed, coupled with director Adam Wingard’s campy, well-lit showdowns, are the movie’s expected highlights.
One might’ve hoped Wingard, an indie auteur known for his brutal, bloody horror movies (like “You’re Next” and “The Guest”), had gone balls-to-to-the-wall nuts here, but in doing so, he would’ve alienated a large chunk of the youth audience – one who also deserve to be treated to an immensely fun theatrical experience after sitting on the couch, watching everything on their devices, for a year.