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Review: ‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ is a Spectacular Showdown of Appropriately Epic Proportions

March 30, 2021Ben MK

Like any good showdown, part of the fun of Legendary's MonsterVerse has always been the buildup, something the creative minds behind 2014's Godzilla and its followups, Kong: Skull Island, and Godzilla: King of the Monsters, have consistently excelled at as the series ventured more and more towards the pure spectacle of Toho's original franchise. And now, with Godzilla vs. Kong, audiences are finally getting to reap the payoff, as Earth's most formidable Titans collide in a no holds barred battle royal that easily lays the smackdown on everything that's come before.

Set a half-decade after Godzilla's defeat of the three-headed dragon known as King Ghidorah, the sequel finds the world reeling in the wake of its former savior's attack on an Apex Cybernetics facility near the coast of Pensacola, Florida. But although the media is quick to label the rampage as unprovoked, one man — a conspiracy podcaster named Bernie (Brian Tyree Henry) — believes there might be more to the story than what Apex CEO Walter Simmons (Demián Bichir) is letting on. And while Walter enlists the help of scientists Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgård) and Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall) to travel to the Hollow Earth in search of a power source for his own mechanical savior, Bernie teams up with teenager Madison Russell (Millie Bobby Brown) and her friend Josh (Julian Dennison), as this unlikely trio embarks on a journey of their own to uncover the truth.

Directed by Adam Wingard (You're Next, The Guest) and written by Eric Pearson and Max Borenstein, the film sees Kong transported from his home on Skull Island and ferried across the ocean by battleship to Apex's Hollow Earth Launch Station in Antartica, where Walter's no-nonsense daughter Maya (Eiza González) and their company's Hollow Earth Aerial Vehicles (or H.E.A.V., for short) are ready and waiting to follow Kong deep into the planet's core. Meanwhile, Bernie, Madison and Josh somehow manage to infiltrate Apex's operations and unwittingly end up in Hong Kong, where they come face to face with a couple of old enemies and the ultimate weapon in Walter and Apex CTO Ren Serizawa's (Shun Oguri) very Pacific Rim-like plan to deal with the Titan threat.

The perfect culmination of seven long years of big screen teasing, what follows is blockbuster moviemaking at its crowd-pleasing best, with Godzilla vs. Kong delivering not just one epic battle between its titular combatants but a pair of spectacular brawls, not to mention a bonus tag team tournament against a Toho fan favorite thrown in for good measure. And although the film is significantly less serious than its predescessors — a quality that will no doubt remind viewers of Michael Bay's Transformers series (the good ones, at least) and the aforementioned Pacific Rim franchise — there's certainly no shortage of eye-popping visuals and bombastic sound design to make audiences completely forget how ridiculous the movie's premise actually is.

Suffice to say, it all adds up to a must-see for die-hard Kong and Godzilla fans — a master class in franchise synergy and cinematic world-building that gives the Marvel Cinematic Universe a run for its money, while also making 1962's King Kong vs. Godzilla look like little more than a child's homemade recreation. It's certainly no small feat, but who better to do it than the King of the Monsters and the Eighth Wonder of the World.

Godzilla vs. Kong releases March 31st, 2021 from Warner Bros. Pictures. The film has an MPAA rating of PG-13 for intense sequences of creature violence/destruction and brief language. Its runtime is 1 hr. 53 min.

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