REVIEW: Godzilla vs. King Kong

Nathan Lokenvitz, Multimedia Manager

Directed by Adam Wingard, “Godzilla vs. King Kong” was released on March 31, 2021 in theatres and on the streaming platform HBO Max. The heavyweight bout saw success at the box office as the first real blockbuster of the pandemic era to hit theatres. Prior to this film, most movies released within the past year have taken the alternative route and released strictly on streaming platforms. 

The long awaited film is the fourth installment of Warner Bros. and Legendary’s “Monsterverse,” which began with the 2014 film “Godzilla” and the 2017 film “Kong: Skull Island.” This is the first time the two legendary monsters have been pitted against each other since the Japanese-produced “King Kong vs. Godzilla” was released in 1962.

The plot itself loosely picks up after the 2019 movie “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” and begins by following Kong on his journey to the mythical Hollow Earth. During this trip he is accompanied by an entourage of well-equipped humans including Dr. Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgård), Dr. Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall) and Jia (Kaylee Hottle). 

Throughout the film Kong develops strong relationships with Jia and Andrews, and he is one of the few characters to have a dynamic character arc. Jia was the last living human native to Kong’s home Skull Island, and the two are able to communicate with each other through sign language. Kong expert Dr. Ilene Andrews adopted Jia in a previous storyline, and throughout this movie Kong develops strong feelings of wanting to protect the pair as he considers them his family. 

This title sets aside the usual movie patterns such as character development and human drama to focus on monstrous battles and jaw-dropping special effects. Action is conveyed brilliantly to the audience through the pacing of the film, as there are rarely any slow moments without any heart-pounding action scenes. 

Director Adam Wingard took on the difficult task of pleasing both fiercely devoted fan bases by managed to do a splendid job by giving each of the colossal forces their own moments to shine. Between Godzilla’s signature atomic breath attack and Kong’s giant energy-absorbing battle axe, there were many moments that had fans in utter awe and excitement. 

Wingard succeeded in creating a film that not only satisfied both rival audiences but also created an atmosphere of camaraderie between the two dueling sides by introducing a common enemy in a rogue Mecha-Godzilla. Apex Labs created the machine in an attempt to slingshot the human race to the top of the food chain, but the situation quickly turned disastrous when Mecha-Godzilla gained the ability to act on its own accord. 

While the film may have lacked in character development and adequate writing, the jaw-dropping CGI and larger-than-life epic smackdowns more than made up for the downfalls of the movie. The creators knew their audience all too well, and executed the highly-anticipated film exquisitely with this visually pleasing cinematic experience.