A USA streaming or even cinema release represents the monster clunker GODZILLA VS. KONG still in the stars so far. In the US you can now watch the CGI spectacle on HBO Max, while the battle between the two giants is already breaking screen records in other parts of the world. We’ll reveal more about this and of course the question of how the film turned out in our review.
Godzilla vs. Kong (USA/AUS/CAN/IND 2021)
Since the events of San Francisco and Skull Island, humanity has known that it is not alone on Earth. Gigantic creatures linger among them – including the giant ape Kong, who is kept in a reserve far from civilization. The scientist Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall) once took on the giant monster and feels responsible for Kong. Just like her protégé Jia (Kaylee Hottle), a young orphan girl who can communicate with the great ape. Maybe it’s even the key to defeating Godzilla. When one day an attack by the supposedly defeated giant lizard is imminent, Ilene is confronted with the request to make “her” Kong available to some strangers as a kind of super weapon. Above all, they seem to want to save themselves and the earth’s population. But the fight between an angry Godzilla and the far from intimidated Kong takes on unforeseen proportions, leading deep into the interior of the earth and revealing new, previously undiscovered worlds…
“One Will Fall” – “One Will Fall” is promisingly emblazoned on the colorful film poster for Adam Wingard’s monster crossover “Godzilla vs. Kong”. As a film fan, you can figure out that there probably isn’t that much to it if you look at the gigantic armada of film monster lovers that have been there since 2014 – when Gareth Edwards opened the Warner Monsterverse with his controversial blockbuster “Godzilla “ – hopes for a meeting between the two colossi Godzilla and Kong. Some in #TeamKong, others in #TeamGodzilla. It goes without saying that a major film studio will hardly (and can) be persuaded to actually “drop” one of its two monster protagonists. The starting point is not much different than in the case of the DC super duel “Batman v Superman – Dawn of Justice”. Without anticipating the outcome of “Godzilla vs. Kong” in detail, the parallels in how the filmmakers answer the question of the outcome of the duel are astonishing. Nevertheless, both films have their own individual strengths and – especially “Batman v Superman” – weaknesses. And about whether it’s damn courageous not To decide on a final winner, or whether the exact opposite is the case, monster movie fans can now rack their brains about it.
Little Jia (Kaylee Hottle) has a special relationship with Kong.
Likewise about whether the screenwriters Eric Pearson (“Thor: Day of Decision”) and Max Borenstein (“Kong: Skull Island”) With its narrative structure, perhaps it doesn’t interfere a little too much with the distribution of sympathies. The film title “Godzilla vs. Kong” clearly highlights the fight at the giants (just as in their individual adventures “Godzilla”, “Kong: Skull Island” and “Godzilla II: King of the Monsters” the exact monster that the film is primarily about was always mentioned in the title, even if still various other gigantic fantasy creatures were allowed to get involved in the plot), but a large part of the film develops from the perspective of Kong and his companions. It is striking that the giant ape can claim both the very first shot and the very last scene as his own. And between these 100 minutes, what plays a particularly important role is how Kong whisperer and scientist Ilene Andrews worries about the well-being of her protégé. Godzilla, who only strikes his first big blow against his ape opponent after around 40 minutes, is portrayed as an antagonist most of the time. Nevertheless, the script repeatedly sprinkles in isolated statements about Godzilla’s motivation, so it doesn’t just leave it with a “He’s attacking us, so he must be the bad guy!” stigmatization and especially in view of the events in “Godzilla II: King of the Monsters”, it becomes apparent early on that “Godzilla vs. Kong” could also be heading towards its very own, individual “Martha moment”. This much can be revealed in advance: There is a comparable moment, but this one is nowhere near so stupid that it is still suitable for malicious memes years later.
“A large part of the film develops from the perspective of Kong and his companions. It is striking that the giant ape can claim both the very first shot and the very last scene as his own. And between these 100 minutes or so, what matters most is how Kong whisperer and scientist Ilene Andrews cares about the well-being of her protégé.”
On the other hand, the changes in the countless set pieces, which were presented almost like a punchline at the beginning, are completely different. In the first half hour, the story jumps briskly back and forth between different companies, countries and continents – each change of scene is introduced by neon-colored writing running across the screen. This is the case with a director like Adam Wingard who is always self-referentially jumping around in the genres he uses (“Blair Witch”) While it can be assumed that these exalted scene changes are meant to be somewhat tongue in cheek (how often has blockbuster cinema not jumped around between various set pieces that are suitable for the big screen just because a scene in country X looks hotter than in country Y), they also raise awareness of one the major weaknesses of “Godzilla vs. Kong”. While the predecessors had to listen again and again to the accusation of diluting the exuberant monster fights with interpersonal banter between largely uninteresting characters, the latest Monsterverse entry establishes a whole series again in an almost defiant way more Human figures – each less interesting than the other. While Rebecca Hall (“The Gift”) The narrative construct at least holds together solidly, although we don’t learn anything about her character, the scientist Ilene Andrews, that doesn’t have to do with her passion for the giant ape, that of Brian Tyree Henry develops (“Widows”) Played podcast host Bernie Hayes became a highly contentious individual. Especially in current times, it is very questionable whether the character of an avowed conspiracy theorist, who believes in various other hypotheses in addition to the Lizard Man and Hollow Earth theories, should really be suitable as an identification figure, especially since he is involved in “Godzilla vs. Kong”. his crazy ideas will be proven right. What remains is an aftertaste (certainly colored by the current zeitgeist).
Scientist Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall) and Professor Lind (Alexander Skarsgård) discuss Jia’s importance in the fight against the monsters.
But even though it feels like there are significantly more people in “Godzilla vs. Kong” than in the previous films combined, which were sharply criticized for precisely this decision – alongside Rebecca Hall and Brian Tyree Henry, Alexander Skarsgård, among others, also plays (“Legend of Tarzan”)Millie Bobbie Brown (“Enola Holmes”)Julian Dennison (“Deadpool 2”)Demian Bichir (“The Hateful 8”) and Kyle Chandler (“Heading to the Moon”) important roles in the monster escort – this time the focus is primarily on that monster clash. The first physical encounter only takes place after around 40 minutes (and only leaves it after that a further, no less expansive ones to follow), developed against the panoramic backdrop of an oversized aircraft carrier – but above all in bright sunlight! – but a tremendous force. In contrast to “Godzilla II: King of the Monsters,” which takes place primarily at night, it pays off in “Godzilla vs. Kong” that large parts of the already extremely opulent action scenes were staged and filmed with a lot of clarity. In contrast to its predecessor, a sense of how the balance of power between Kong and Godzilla is distributed, who is currently “leading” and who may have already lost the fight remains until the end. And if it gets darker – for example because the final fight, which can already be seen in part in the trailer, partly takes place at night – cameraman Ben Seresin takes care of it (“Pain & Gain”) for a varied imagery that draws its visual appeal from the abilities and peculiarities that the monsters attacking each other here have. “Godzilla vs. Kong” is also audiovisually focused on its monsters.
“Completely different from “Godzilla II: King of the Monsters,” which primarily takes place at night, “Godzilla vs. Kong” pays off in that large parts of the already extensive action scenes were staged and filmed with a lot of clarity.”
For director Adam Wingard, “Godzilla vs. Kong” is the first big-budget film project of his career. After demonstrating his knowledge of the mechanics of horror cinema in the genre films “You’re Next,” “The Guest” and “Blair Witch.” (and thus quite offensive), his adaptation of the graphic novel “Death Note”, which was criticized by the audience, caused him to briefly withdraw from the public eye as a filmmaker and permanently from social networks. Wingard is unlikely to fear death threats from “haters” who have lost any level of politeness and common sense when he returns to directing. On the contrary: For “Godzilla vs. Kong,” the Tennessee-born filmmaker puts himself entirely at the service of his monsters and monster lovers. Not only by taking the same approach in the home stretch as his predecessor Michael Dougherty and giving guest appearances to some new and old acquaintances from the Monsterverse. But also because his feeling for (digital) visual power shows how much Wingard knows about the potential of the ever-growing film universe here. When the end credits roll, you are suddenly very sure that many more films from the monster universe will have their right to exist.
Conclusion: Fewer old weaknesses, more new strengths and a lot of monster action – after the pleasantly reserved Monsterverse opener “Godzilla”, “Godzilla vs. Kong” is by far the strongest sequel in the ever-growing blockbuster series, whose biggest omission continues to be the uninteresting (human) characters remain.
“Godzilla vs. Kong” can be seen in USA cinemas from July 1st.