In the United States and Canada the film achieved the best opening day figure of the pandemic, so there seems to be a lot of interest in the movie, but how does it compare to the previous MonsterVerse movies from Legendary, which have all been leading up to this moment?
GODZILLA VS KONG is certainly a big punch ’em up production, crammed with a neon-lit deluge of eye candy monster effects. It delivers on the promise of its title, with the titular creatures duking it out with themselves and others. From a plot perspective it certainly doesn’t attempt to inject the serious tone of 2014’s GODZILLA and is much more aligned with GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS (2019), where the focus was on creating set-ups to allow for a series a kaiju battles. That said, the 2019 film still attempted to balance the human drama with the scenes of spectacle more evenly than GODZILLA VS KONG, which definitely puts the emphasis on the grand FX moments.
The fantastical elements, like the trip to the Hollow Earth and Kong utilising a powered-up giant axe, are dealt with pretty briskly in this film, and perhaps this is the best way to handle such things – so viewers aren’t given too much time to ponder the logic of it all!
The Hollow Earth sequences offer cool vistas and the opportunity to introduce some secondary creatures, though I wasn’t quite sure why the reverse gravitational effect seemed to make entering the Hollow Earth a much more dangerous manoeuvre compared to exiting the zone.
The final smackdown battle takes place in Hong Kong, allowing for gorgeous-looking neon vistas that make the night time action easy to follow and see. I have to say I do wonder what the bodycount must have been for this fight as a LOT of skyscrapers get demolished! Maybe aware of this, the film never features any characters commenting on casualties.
Ultimately, if you go into this just for the spectacle there’s lots to like, including an updated version of the Kong airlift featured in Toho’s KING KONG VS GODZILLA, but there are quite a few things you can pick apart with GVK and I, personally, much prefer KONG: SKULL ISLAND, which was a more pleasing mix of pulp action and monster madness.