Godzilla vs. Kong offers some great CGI, but not much else


The very highly anticipated Godzilla vs. Kong was released in theaters and on HBO Max on March 31. The ultimate showdown between the two ancient rivals was first presented in the 1963 film King Kong vs. Godzilla. However, with film technology making spectacular advances in the time span between the two films, the difference between the hand puppets and actors in costumes in the 1963 release to the highly realistic CGI in the 2021 version is more than noteworthy.

The 2021 feature brings together characters from the prior movies of the genre such as Godzilla: King of the Monsters and Kong: Skull Island, including Millie Bobby Brown and Kyle Chandler reprising their roles as Madison Russell and Mark Russell. It also introduces us to some new important characters such as the determined explorer Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgård), the comedic conspiracist Bernie Hayes (Brian Tyree Henry),  Madison Russel’s friend Josh Valentine (Julian Dennison), and the villains of the story in Walter Simmons (Demián Bichir), Maya Simmons (Eiza González), and Ren Serizawa (Shun Oguri). 

*Spoilers Ahead!*

Godzilla vs. Kong provides some amazing CGI fight scenes between the giant lizard and the big ape, but that’s about it.

No one is expecting Godzilla vs. Kong (GvK) to win an Academy Award for Best Picture or set ratings records at the Rotten Tomatoes website. In fact, the movie still feels like a remake of the awful Batman vs. Superman except with giant monsters instead of superheroes. Viewers are fed the story of two rivals who were previously heroes, fighting in the ultimate showdown…but wait, a bigger threat (Mechagodzilla) shows up and clobbers the heroes until they decide to work together and defeat that bigger threat. Just replace a few characters here and there, and there you go. The End.

However, unlike Batman vs Superman, GvK does have its upsides. It provides viewers comic relief through the characters of Madison, Bernie and Josh, as well as a storyline that stays consistent.  Viewers are also treated to high quality CGI that makes Kong and Godzilla look believable and provide for some very fantastic CGI fights that look real. Disappointingly, Mechagodzilla looks a little like a toy that was just photoshopped to look bigger. 

The film’s other downsides are its lack of character development for both the heroes and villains of the story. It is understood that most viewers only watch the movie to see a big ape fight a  giant lizard – and possibly a robot too – but they could have put effort into the characters. After watching the movie, the viewer will have no reason to remember the names of the main characters.

One other thing that is disappointing is the way that Godzilla and Kong beat Mechagodzilla. It would’ve been great to see the two titans tag team the robot until it crumbled into pieces, but they only threw a few punches before Madison, Bernie and Josh hacked the password of Mechagodzilla and remotely shut him down. They did save a huge amount of money by shortening the fight, but again, most fans only came to see the movie for the fight scenes and shortening the final battle was not a great idea.