“Godzilla vs. Kong” is a wild ride worth taking.

Godzilla+and+Kong+exchange+blows+on+the+high+seas+while+surfing+naval+battleships.

Promotional Material courtesy of HBO/Warner Brothers

Godzilla and Kong exchange blows on the high seas while surfing naval battleships.

“Godzilla vs. Kong,” released on Mar. 31, 2021, thrills the audience with fist-pumping action scenes, and stunning special effects, ultimately including something for everyone. Monsters, zombie robots, sci-fi rocket ships, maritime vessels, reptiles, animal-human communication, and fictional worlds at the center of the Earth are all served up buffet-style. While sometimes shallow in plot, the movie does a good job of feeding the viewers’ interests with quick cuts to action-packed scenes, keeping it a light crowd pleaser.  

Directed by Adam Wingard, this movie is the fourth iteration by Legendary’s MonsterVerse and is a sequel to “Godzilla” (2014), “Kong: Skull Island” (2017), and “Godzilla: King of Monsters” (2019). As of Apr. 18, 2021, “Godzilla vs. Kong” has grossed 390.4 million dollars worldwide.

The movie opens with a Skull Island looking habitat where Kong has been placed because his home, the fictitious Skull Island located in the Indian Ocean, has been destroyed by storms. Kong is monitored by scientists and anthropological linguist, Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall). Andrews adopted Jia, a deaf orphan from Skull Island’s Iwi tribe, who has a special relationship with Kong that allows her to secretly communicate with him through sign language. 

To introduce Godzilla, the movie transitions to Pensacola, Florida where he attacks the tech company, APEX Cybernetics. Godzilla attacks as he feels an ominous pull to the area. Blowing fire from his mouth, he wreaks havoc. Research facility workers flee in terror as the APEX CEO escapes to find Hollow Earth expert, scientist Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgård). Hollow Earth is the birthplace of all Kaiju, who are titans like Godzilla and Kong. Lind will help APEX lead an expedition to Hollow Earth to find the ultimate power source which is seen as humanity’s last stand against beasts like Godzilla. 

Lind and Andrews team up to travel to Hollow Earth by following Kong. Jia convinces Kong to go with an endearing sign-language exchange. The juxtaposition between Kong and Jia showcases, yet again, the sensational special effects. The ultimate reward for the viewer is the explosion of an “Avatar”-like colorful world as Kong explores his long lost home. 

The acting overall, which features a few well known names like Millie Bobby Brown (of “Stranger Things”) and Kyle Chandler (of “Friday Night Lights”), plays a secondary role to Kong and Godzilla, rightly so. The real acting is made by the visual effects team in how they showed emotion on the faces of both Kong, as the protagonist, and Godzilla, as the antagonist. You see Kong’s emotional recognition of pain, self-doubt and fear throughout the film. I found myself cheering for Kong because of this, whispering to myself for him to get up and keep fighting. It’s difficult to show emotion on the face of a giant lizard, however, the special effects focused on Godzilla’s eyes to convey his superiority.  

The final battle between Kong and Godzilla features impeccable CGI. Seeing who will prevail the apex predator in the nighttime streets of Hong Kong is a sensory overload of CGI.  

With the inclusion of fantastic special effects, dynamic battle scenes and mind-blowing visuals it is easy to appreciate the film. Even though no Academy Awards will be given to the actors, this one hour and 52 minute blockbuster is thrilling. For these reasons and many others, I give the film four out of five stars.

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