By Megan Bianco
When Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla (2014) debuted, it was given intriguing and effective marketing, yet received a lukewarm reception from viewers. Jordan Vogt-Roberts’ Kong: Skull Island (2017) received a similar response, although instead of being accused of being boring, it was just a little too schlocky.
Now, following Michael Dougherty’s Godzilla: King of Monsters, does Warner Bros’ “MonsterVerse” finally take off with Adam Wingard’s Godzilla vs. Kong?
Back on Skull Island, geologist Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgård) and linguist Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall) are studying King Kong’s behavior and origins with the unexpected help of Ilene’s deaf adolescent adopted daughter, Jia (Kaylee Hottle), who appears to have a special connection with the colossal ape.
On the other side of the world, paranoid podcaster Bernie Hayes (Brian Tyree Henry), and high schoolers Madison Russell (Millie Bobby Brown) and Josh Valentine (Julian Dennison) team up to track down what they believe is a genocidal plot involving Godzilla, led by shady tech company head Walter Simmons (Demián Bichir).
The most common complaint about the new Kong and Godzilla flicks is that the excitement of the action is brought down by the dull subplots involving the humans. Well, Godzilla vs. Kong is a possible case of “be careful what you wish for,” because this is officially a 113-minute non-stop action sequence with no character development or arcs in sight.
The chase and battle sequences are eye candy for all with impressive and vibrant special effects. The cast members themselves are fine, though basically just good-looking, uninteresting roles only to lead the monsters along the way.
I will say, out of all the MonsterVerse efforts so far, Wingard really nailed the tone and atmosphere of a traditional action-adventure blockbuster from the 1980-1990s. This, as well as Wingard knowing how to craft and make the action scenes entertaining, have the visuals of Godzilla vs. Kong almost make up for the lack of interesting characters or plot.