So many studios have tried the “universe” thing and good God it doesn’t always work out. The “Dark Universe” is perhaps the biggest failure in recent memory, but the “Legendary MonsterVerse” is incredibly muddled as well. You have the polarizing Godzilla from seven years ago, the mostly well-received Skull Island, the even more polarizing King of the Monsters, and now, Godzilla vs. Kong. All under different directors!
I mean, even if you skipped around with the aforementioned flicks, you’re probably going to be showing up for the latest fix. The name sells itself. And you wouldn’t be wasting your time.
Within 10 minutes or so we get Godzilla doing their thing, wrecking shop. It’s a good sign. And although it’s another half hour or so of table setting to get to the first round between Godzilla and Kong, it’s worth the wait. Why it took so long to give people an easy to follow, knockout bout like this between two characters we actually care about is beyond me. It seems like a winning formula the MonsterVerse could have been doing the entire time, but finally just got around to after nearly a decade.
There are still multiple human storylines, but smartly, they often directly interact with the titular monsters and influence the bouts instead of annoyingly interrupting scenes. The added bonus of those some arcs not being nearly as insufferable as most of the storylines in King of Monsters is a huge bonus: a low bar, but a benefit nonetheless.
There’s plenty of room for improvement though. While the actors are more likable this time, Godzilla vs. Kong still meanders a lot. You know the feeling: when you’re waiting for what feels like an eternity for two narratives to converge? And in the end, they don’t mesh as well as you’d hoped? This film does that. Sometimes you’ll completely forget that someone exists! Alexander Skarsgård and Brian Tyree Henry are the only actors that command the scenes they’re in.
Plus, at this point, I really don’t care about the “lore” of the MonsterVerse, despite the best attempts from its architects to sell me on it. There are a lot of loose threads and weak payoffs, all meant to shuffle IP into your face. I can’t help but think of the lost potential. At the very least, this round is entertaining. If you’re remotely interested in Godzilla and/or King Kong, this new project is worth one watch. There’s giant monsters on screen fighting each other, and for a lot of people, that’s enough.