It’s bad enough that there’s never in the history of forever been a good Godzilla movie or a good King Kong movie… seriously, why are these still a thing? Watching two titans trying to kill each other while killing millions of innocent lives in the process can only be so entertaining for so long. Eventually you just get bored from seeing the exact same thing happening over and over, but people somehow just keep going for more. It’s like a drug. So consequently, just think about how many people are going to be even more desensitized by the violence, and how many kids will want to re-enact whatever they see in Godzilla vs. Kong, where they think fighting and rivalries are cool, and that they shouldn’t give a hoot if an entire city’s worth of people are killed at a time.
When this showdown of a film begins, King Kong is seen in his home, where the 1950s song, “Over the Mountain, Across the Sea” song plays as he wakes up and walks while scratching his butt. Except plot twist: it’s not his home at all, it’s an artificial environment similar to the Truman Show keeping him there because there can’t be two alpha titans. But the way this information is conveyed isn’t by conflict, but mere exposition. That’s how everything is conveyed here: by characters who aren’t even characters but just templates for pushing things forward.
It's sad, Kong has the most personality of all the characters, and the only one who has any sort of development. The only person who’s remotely human is the deaf girl, for you honestly grasp a bit of humanity in her when she makes a doll out of Kong and shows it to him in the intro. You can tell without a word spoken what she has been through and how her experience has been similar to the giant ape, harkening to a bond similar to real humans and gorillas, complete with the way Kong uses the ASL sign for “home.” Everything should have been seen and heard from the little girl’s point of view all the way through, but instead, she’s only there to make communication between the humans and giant monkey easier. It also would have been better if more time were spent in this artificial home for Kong, and if the plot centered around this relationship that is almost like the original King Kong’s bond with Fay Wray.
But instead, we just get sound effects that are so loud that even the music is inaudible, along with an ugly underlit neon-black battlefield for the titans’ final showdown in Hong Kong, where, you know, the whole city is destroyed. I also should mention that pretty much every single character in this movie suffers from the loss of loved ones, but you appropriately never know how the trauma affects any of them, because you aren’t made to even notice how many people literally die in every rampage by the monsters.
To try and gain control over these titans, the humans decide to travel to and harness the power of the earth’s core, a place called “Hollow Earth,” because you know, people can totally just do that. Forget what the army does to protect us, average everyday people can play god and control the center of the earth! Although it does have a cool dramatic epileptic entrance into the center of the earth that is like entering a wormhole, and into a world where there’s two sides of gravity; it feels like some real Stanley Kubrick-level of surrealism that has plenty of potential. Too bad that potential is never met, because the ridiculous nonexistence of any logic ruins any sense of surrealism this film could have achieved.
I mean really, Godzilla’s laser reaches this “Hollow Earth” in a matter of seconds! And that’s far from the dumbest part… a ship in one scene is upside down underwater like the whole “up is down” scene in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. No matter how expressive these CGI creations can be, no matter how much it proves how many new opportunities in cinematic storytelling have been opened up since CGI has come into film and has continued to grow over the years, the stupid moments that take up 95% of the film’s runtime make the few good moments a waste of talent.
And boy does it get bad when it uses modern filmmaking techniques, particularly the slow motion used when Godzilla blasts his laser for the first time—it makes the movie feel slower and the journey of these characters more tedious. But the pace picks up when Kong takes down these flying reptiles of Hollow Earth, rips off one of their heads, and eats the insides, it’s actually really awesome to watch, and the absolute peak of the action in the film. It is cool to see these monsters in this new world, and it’s awesome to see just what Kong can do, with something a little sickening to watch for a little extra kick. But then the pace slows right back down again once that little fight is over.
The tiresome pace is also of no thanks to the countless titles for every single location visited. It’s also said that Godzilla is no longer a titan savior… even though he never was one originally, after he destroyed entire cities in the past and all. It doesn’t help either that Godzilla is first introduced in this movie by him going on a rampage in the middle of the ocean and destroying everything in his path. In fact, this film just wants to cater to what teenage boys want to see, complete by throwing in a horrible actress for the purpose of being a YouTube thumbnail girl.
So in a time when everybody takes sides and turns every little subject into an “us vs. them” debate, is getting all fired up for a showdown between two gigantic monsters really what we need right now? We don’t need the way Godzilla vs. Kong wrongly thinks we should be free from the laws of society, nature, and literally anything else that counts as restrictive. What we need is to invest in films that celebrate what humanity has potential for, not ones that want us to cheer on a fight that causes a death toll beyond 9/11 or even Holocaust proportions.