I can hear Bruce Buffer’s voice right now.
Fans have been waiting years — ever since it was teased — at the prospect of having the two most popular titans in cinema history go head to head in an ultimate winner takes all fight.
In the first corner, we have Godzilla, the grandaddy of all kaijus — Japanese monsters capable of taking down entire cities with their feet. Equipped with atomic breath and a tail covered in razor-sharp spikes, Godzilla is king of all monsters and reigning champion after taking down the space-dragon Ghidorah in 2019’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters.
In the other corner — the Eighth Wonder of the World and the first of all titans, King Kong from Skull Island. Now, bigger and better than ever, Kong has been under the watch and protection of Monarch. Apparently, Godzilla has been acting erratically and out of character. Attacking human installations without warning, he’s also been waiting for an opportunity to end an ancient rivalry with Kong.
On the ground level, Apex engineer and human Bernie Hayes believes his company is up to something terrible, and his suspicions are confirmed when Godzilla attacks his location. Hayes discovers an unidentified technological object, which turns out to be connected to the Ghidorah skull purchased at the end of the King of Monsters movie.
Apex has been busy. In addition to working on some potentially nefarious projects, they’re out recruiting scientists like Nathan Lind — a researcher whose book on the Hollow Earth theory has brought him pain and ridicule. A recent trip to the center of the Earth killed his brother when gravity flipped and crushed the travelers. With Apex’s help and tech, Lind enlists a team of humans and Kong to find access to energy source residing in Earth’s hollow center that can help all humans and stop Godzilla’s reign of terror.
The movie is entertaining mess that requires not one, but two giant monsters, to suspend your disbelief.
When Godzilla attacks the ships carrying Kong to Antarctica, the humans trick him into leaving by turning off all their power. Seriously — that’s all it takes for Godzilla to stop beating up on Kong. It only makes sense if Godzilla had the same limiting capabilities as the dinosaurs from Jurassic Park who can’t see what’s not moving, but we’re talking about a semi-intelligent species whose killer instinct doesn’t stop at, “Is my foe on his back?”
And later, when Godzilla realizes his nemesis is alive and well and hanging out at their ancestral home in the center of the planet, he draws his breath and uses it create a tunnel. Maybe it’s a riff on the old joke that digging through the Earth would take one to China, but in this case, Godzilla starts off in Hong Kong and opens a direct pathway for Kong and the humans to meet him for the main event.
Nevermind the time and energy it would take — or the radiation — but it’s one way of keeping this movie to less than two hours. Kong hurries up the tunnel with his newfound axe made from a ‘Zilla scale, and the two fight in an epic battle that makes Man of Steel’s Metropolis devastation look pale in comparison. Like two wrestlers throwing each other onto tables and into ring posts, Godzilla and Kong go ham on each other in a no-holds barred battle that results in Godzilla maintaining his status as champion.
As far as action scenes go, it’s brilliant and rousing. If you can forget all that science-y stuff and keep your eyes on the combatants, Godzilla vs. Kong is a better way to spend your money than some of those Jake Paul vs. X celebrity boxing matches. The back and forth, fit for a Summer Slam, takes a toll on both of the titans, but that’s not the end of the movie.
Apex’s true machinations are revealed when Mechagodzilla — of course! — is unveiled. Powered by hollow Earth’s energy source signatures and controlled by Ghidorah’s DNA, the mech version takes on the scaly one and almost wins. That’s when the team-up between our two favorite movie monsters makes for an interesting combination worthy of its own Wrestlemania pay-per-view.
This is the summer blockbuster starter we all needed, except that we’re still in the middle of a pandemic.
But whether you’re at home or fortunate to be in a theater where the virus is under control, expect to be entertained as long as you can ignore all the human bits.
Godzilla vs. Kong (2021)
Directed by: Adam Wingard
Screenplay by: Eric Pearson and Max Borenstein
Starring: Alexander Skarsgård, Millie Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry, Shun Oguri, Eiza González, Julian Dennison, Lance Reddick, Kyle Chandler, Demián Bichir, Kaylee Hottle, Hakeem Kae-Kazim, and Ronny Chieng