Cert – 12, Run-time – 1 hour 53 minutes, Director – Adam Wingard
While trying to get King Kong to Hollow Earth a group of scientists and researchers encounter Godzilla, reawakening an ancient rivalry between the two titans.
If there’s one place you perhaps wouldn’t expect a battle of the titans to begin it’s possibly with King Kong casually going about his morning routine to gentle music. It’s an amusing enough concept, and entirely different to the delight felt as he lands the first almighty punch of his handful of fights with Godzilla. During this moment time seems to slow down, a wide smile gradually forms, as he lamps the iconic lizard in the middle of the ocean. Not much context is given to why the pair instantly go on the attack, apart from mention of an “ancient rivalry”, yet as the fights begin that doesn’t really seem to matter as the scale of the action takes hold. Action which was undeniably made for a titan sized screen.
The reason for the two titans meeting in the first place is something of a chance encounter. Kong is taken away from a replication of his former home Skull Island, by the scientists and researchers who are keeping him there, when the fear of having more than one titan on Earth grows, especially after a number of seemingly random attacks from Godzilla – who has once again had a change of heart and is causing random destruction again. Thus Kong is being taken to Hollow Earth, where it is believed he came from. What little exposition there is for the rivalry seems to have all gone into the various human characters we meet throughout the film.
For the most part we see the narrative through the eyes of Rebecca Hall’s Ilene Andrews, who, alongside Alexander Skarsgård’s Nathan Lind, leads the project to get Kong, and humanity, to safety. However, we also find ourselves following Millie Bobby Brown and Julian Dennison as two teenagers who meet conspiracy theorist and podcast host Brian Tyree Henry (always a welcome presence), trying to infiltrate the Apex Corporation, who it is believed are provoking monster-related attacks. There are various other minor characters that we see play a part in the narrative, or have an effect on those that are more prominent in the piece. Yet, with so many players it almost feels at some points as if Godzilla is only there as a minor figure. At least Kong kind of gets something to do as we explore his world in Hollow Earth, even if through someone else’s eyes, brought to life through effective and great CGI – which when it comes to the fight scenes really makes an impact.
Because of the heavy exposition and various human angles we do often spend little time with the titular monsters – a trend in the last month appears to be that of title characters acting as supports in what is otherwise believed to be their own film. In fact, it takes 40 minutes for them to finally meet, before waiting a long time to finally re-encounter each other. The action may be worth it, it’s definitely exciting to watch a giant gorilla and lizard smash each others heads into skyscrapers – one thing’s for sure the film doesn’t take itself too seriously when it comes to such fight scenes, it knows that the audience are there for not entirely dumb monster clobber – it just takes a while to get to all of this. The human aspects certainly show the film’s run-time, alongside giving it a busy feel. However, the action is certainly on a big enough, destructive scale to be worthwhile – and would likely have an even large impact on a bigger screen.
The destructive fights are exactly what you would hope for, in-between the large amount of, not always developed, expositional human characters that take up most of Godzilla Vs. Kong’s run-time.