REVIEW: “Godzilla vs. Kong” is the giant monster movie that’s well worth the price of its HBO Max subscription

Whether you’re Team Kong or Team Godzilla, only one victor will be crowned King of the Monsters.


Photo courtesy of Legendary Pictures.

Daniel Pineiro, Staff Writer

When an exploration team discovers a power source hidden in the center of the Earth, only Kong, a giant ape-like creature, can guide them there. However, an ancient rivalry reignites when Godzilla, an enormous reptilian-like creature, emerges to challenge Kong. Mankind is forced to watch amidst the rubble as these two titans brawl it out to find out who can be crowned king.

“Godzilla vs. Kong” is an Action/Sci-Fi film directed by Adam Wingard whose previous works include “You’re Next”(2014) and “Death Note” (2017). Marking itself as the fourth installment set in Legendary Pictures “Monsterverse.”

Two of the biggest icons in cinematic history meet once again for a long-overdue rematch since their original debut fight in 1962’s “King Kong vs. Godzilla.”

Make no mistake, this is undeniably a Kong-centered film as it heavily delves into the “Monsterverse” mythos of where Kong’s species came from and if he truly is the last of his kind.

The heart of this film is Kong’s relationship with Jia (Kaylee Hottle), a young deaf girl who’s the sole survivor amongst her native people on Skull Island. Watching the two of them interact with one another is one of the film’s biggest highlights, something that previous “Monsterverse” films in the franchise failed to achieve within their human-centric plot lines.

Not only does this help to make viewers easily empathize with Kong and his search for family, but it also does an excellent job in villainizing Godzilla in his conquest of becoming Earth’s true alpha.

The subtle characteristics of these two monsters are expertly told by the visual effects team. Godzilla himself is more worn down and enraged by mankind’s gross involvement in the natural order. This perfectly emulates that of a tired dad coming home from work only to find his kids’ broke the T.V.

While the film does an excellent job of showing these two legendary icons battling it out in a grandiose city-level boxing match, it is bogged down by a multitude of questionable writing.

One issue at hand is just how far technology has progressed since Godzilla’s reappearance in Gareth Edwards, “Godzilla” (2014). The 2014 film served as a much more grounded reboot that helped to bring Godzilla back to the Western world after the failed “Godzilla” (1998) film.

However, that same world in continuity becomes drastically unfamiliar with magically convenient hover vehicles and spider-droids that can digitally copy and paste new energy resources.

Another criticism that viewers are sure to universally agree upon is the subplot of Madison Russell (Millie Bobby Brown) and friends. Brown’s minor storyline acts as a driving force in discovering the truth behind Godzilla’s rampages against an unsurprising evil corporation. In actuality, this plotline ends up being the film’s biggest grievance with no payoff whatsoever.

Besides these ever prevalent issues, the cinematography alone more than makes up for it. Nearly every sequence in the film is a jaw-dropping iconic shot that’s filled to the brim with gorgeous special effects and creative camerawork.

The film’s climactic nighttime confrontation in Hong Kong is perhaps one of the most beautiful sequences in cinematic history. Hong Kong’s night skyline’s hazy illuminance of neon purple and blue casting upon Kong’s fur as he dukes it out against Godzilla’s colorfully signature atomic breath makes this a film that will make audience members wish they had seen it in theaters.

Through all of its plot holes and all of its grievances, lies a film that succeeds in bringing out childlike reactions from audience members as they watch two of the biggest cinematic monsters in history duke it out on the silver screen. Answering that age-old question of who would win in a fight. That alone is well worth the price of admission.

Daniel Pineiro is a staff writer for the University Press. For more information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or @Danny_x101 on Instagram.