After 49 years and so many delays due to reshoots and COVID-19 the wait is finally over! Godzilla vs Kong is finally in theaters and on HBO Max for 31 days. Ever since pre-production, director Adam Wingard has promised there will be a winner in this rematch. Even the movie's tagline "ONE WILL FALL" promises this movie will have a winner. I will say that if you have been expecting an epic rematch between two iconic titans in cinema history then this movie delivers. However, there are some issues Godzilla vs Kong that could have easily been fixed to make the story a bit more enjoyable.
Starting off with the pros, the action scenes and choreography were a lot better this time. In previous two Godzilla movies (Godzilla and Godzilla: King of the Monsters), one of the biggest complaints was not being able to see any of the fights due to the movie being too dark and not enough fights in the day time. In Godzilla vs Kong, you can see every bit of the action and the lighting is just perfect. You want to see Godzilla fight in the day time? You got it. Want the fight scenes in the night time to be brighter? Your wish is my command.
What I also love is how you can feel the weight each punch was thrown or every time Godzilla used his atomic breath. The choreography of the fights really felt like there was weight put into every hit thrown.
The fight I really loved was the Godzilla and Kong vs MechaGodzilla fight. This team up fight has been expected and parodied thanks to Batman V Superman, but it is not like Godzilla hasn't been in a 2 vs 1 fight before. Godzilla has been in many team up fights like this one. Honestly, it reminded me of the fight from the original Godzilla vs MechaGodzilla movie from 1974. The original MechaGodzilla proved to be fierce and powerful enough to take on two monsters at once, but Godzilla and his partner, King Caesar, were able to take it down together. Godzilla vs Kong really harkens back to that movie showing that despite how clunky this version of MechaGodzilla looked, it still proved to be very powerful.
Godzilla is still the same Godzilla from King of the Monsters in design, but since he has turned heel in this movie there is so much more emotion displayed from him every time he is on screen. He can look cold and menacing or intimidating or can even display a worried emotion. Any emotion he displays just makes this Godzilla look so much different from the previous movies where he was the good guy.
Kong, on the other hand, had a massive design overhaul ever since we last saw him in Kong: Skull Island. He looks withered down and aged, but is also built very muscular like he has been hitting the gym. Last time, Kong was only an adolescent. In this movie, he is now a full grown adult and the new design really shows just how much Kong has aged.
The movie's soundtrack was conducted by Tom Holdenborg (aka Junkie XL) and I found it to be okay at best. It didn't amaze me like Bear McCreary's soundtrack for Godzilla: King of the Monsters, but it did the job in setting the tone for the movie. I understand that McCreary's soundtrack would've been difficult to top because that soundtrack was beautifully made. To be honest, the soundtrack for Godzilla vs Kong sounded lazy and generic. About half way through the movie, I was so invested in the movie that I forgot the movie even had music playing. It is a real shame since he did a whole hour breaking down Godzilla's theme and explaining what types of music he was inspired by and what instruments were used and I could hear all of it when broken down. When it is broken down, Godzilla's theme sounds good. Somehow, the final version of the soundtrack when it is all put together just did not sound as good and was forgettable.
When it comes down to the story, it's a hit and miss. There are some things I liked about the story and some parts that could have used some more work. There are two stories happening at the same time, but I didn't mind that this movie was more of a Kong movie than a Godzilla movie. In fact, I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. I love the story of trying to find Kong a new home because Godzilla and Kong are the only two titans left standing and Godzilla will eventually come searching for him. As for Godzilla's story, he has been on a rampage targeting APEX facilities and Madison (played by Millie Bobby Brown) feels there is some sort of conspiracy where Godzilla was provoked somehow. So she along with Josh (Julian Dennison) and Bernie (Brian Tyree Henry) investigate APEX to find out what they have been hiding that aggravated Godzilla.
Millie Bobby Brown, Julian Dennison, Brian Tyree Henry, Alexander Skarsgard, Rebecca Hall, and Kaylee Hottle (the mute girl that played Jia) all put on a good performance. All of them had a balanced chemistry in their respective story. Yet, I can't say the same for Kyle Chandler and Shun Oguri since they were hardly in the movie.
Kyle Chandler plays Millie Bobby Brown's on screen father, Mark Russell, who was the main character in Godzilla: King of the Monsters. In Godzilla vs Kong, Mark is now the director of Monarch, the organization that specializes in studying and containing the monsters through out this series. Mark's only role just shows him stressed out over Godzilla's sudden personality change and his constant attack on cities. That is about it. He does worry about Madison, but only because she has not been answering her text messages. I would like to have seen him more involved in the movie like the hardships of being a single parent since his ex-wife, Emma (Vera Farmiga), died in the last movie.
Shun Oguri plays Ren Serizawa, the son of Ken Watanabe's character, Dr. Ishiro Serizawa. When Oguri was announced to play the role of Ren, my first guess was that this is going to be a revenge story. I thought it would be about Ren wanting revenge on Godzilla for taking his father away from him and his family. What I got instead was so very disappointing that it should be considered criminal. Ren Serizawa had no backstory nor had any type of character development what-so-ever. Ren may as well have been a random toadie that worked for APEX and nobody would have cared. If Ren was given more time to develop as a character then I think he would have left a big impact on this movie to make me care more. Telling Ren's story was a BIG missed opportunity. He had no reason to be there just like how Ghidorah's skull had no reason either. Which brings me to my next critique.
MechaGodzilla dominated the screen as soon as he appeared and it was amazing to watch. I loved how after the big reveal MechaGodzilla could only operate at 40% of its power making it look clunky. Then once APEX had the energy MechaGodzilla needed to fully operate it goes haywire. However, I think MechaGodzilla could have been implemented better without using the whole Ghidorah's essence possessed MechaGodzilla scene. With Shun Oguri piloting MechaGodzilla, the movie could have showed his character using the robot for revenge. If you take Ghidorah out of the equation, then the skull is practically useless and unnecessary. The same could be said if Shun Oguri's character was just a random toadie that worked for APEX rather than being the son of Dr. Serizawa then his character would be forgettable and nobody would have cared. Which is why I think a revenge story would have had more of an impact than Ghidorah possessing MechaGodzilla.
Godzilla vs Kong delivers what it promises: an epic rematch for this generation with a definitive winner. The movie made a lot improvements