Like so many, I watched it in the comfort of my own home compliments of HBO Max. While it would've been grand to see all of its pretty visuals up on the silver screen, I just didn't all that compelled at the time; there were other features -- less blustery, less boisterous, more character-driven -- that drew my interest. Consequently, I passed on seeing it at the multiplexes.
Because I was asked recently, I thought I'd pen a really quick thought on the movie to summarize my thoughts on it, and it essentially boils down to a single idea: Godzilla Vs. Kong illustrates the devolution of the species for this franchise so far as I'm concerned.
Godzilla (2014), Kong: Skull Island (2017), and Godzilla: King Of The Monsters (2019) preceded this big budget showdown (for those who were unawares), and each of them kinda/sorta notched a little bit less artistic storytelling along the way. The Godzilla reboot I found to be the highwater mark, trying to in many ways emulate the ideas of the original Godzilla by pitting the big beast as much against man as much as it was against a few of the lesser Titans. Then, starting with Kong: Skull Island and progressing to King Of The Monsters, the films grew less relevant and more pre-packaged, highlighting the hyper-quick and slick pace filmmakers felt necessary to assault the senses of the audience. With Godzilla Vs. Kong, the franchise pretty much de-evolved to the point wherein the feature embraced the formula of any run-of-the-mill summer blockbuster: make it big, dumb, fun, and loud, insuring the biggest bang for the biggest buck. Insert any big lumbering monster into the formula (i.e. Pacific Rim, Rampage, Emma Stone, etc.) and you'll get the same result.
When the script lacks the smarts to differentiate itself from anything else the Hollywood mill churns out, the audience inevitably loses, though the box office may win. I've long maintained that all I want from a great Superman film is to watch big blue beat the snot out of some giant-sized man-eating robots; yet that doesn't mean I'll forfeit other messaging and/or nuances that go hand-in-hand with quality storytelling. Godzilla Vs. Kong's plot felt like it could picked up and inserted into any giant monster movie, and that was a huge (if not giant) miss. Audiences want to connect with the monster -- it's the spine of any monster movie -- but this one just felt bland. It had moments, just not enough to distinguish it from the routine.
Sadly, the showdown really brought nothing new to the arena of storytelling, though the shiny MechaGodzilla help until the final act was a nice touch. The human characters added absolutely nothing new, essentially clearing the way for the world's biggest UFC showdown ever. In that respect, I suppose it delivered exactly what it promised -- bruises, blows, and bang-ups like never before seen. But subtlety? Grace? Poise? Meh. Methinks the storytellers thought those ideas were overrated.
I didn't dislike the film. Though it's fair to say I never had a dog in the fight, I'll admit I've always cheered more for Godzilla than I did Kong. This match-up was no different. How can brawn ever defeat pure reptillian mass augmented with those radiation-powered bleches? It was truly no contest, if you ask me, but I've read that most folks favored Kong anyway so it's probably best I kept my mouth shut.
Besides, the big budget extravaganza just didn't seem like it had enough story for me to respond to. Regular readers in this space know what I've said many times about conflict: there needs to be something meaty at the heart of a film in order for me to attach myself to it intellectually enough to figure out something to say about it. I'd read a lot of what's out there on the web, and, frankly, I couldn't figure out anything worthy to add. Some tales just hit me that way; as a consequence, I end up letting others do their worst and keep my brain power for other exercises.
In any event, the film is worth a view. Unlike the other three, though, I've absolutely no desire to rewatch it, nor will I most likely. It's an entertaining bout for a one-off film; and that's all I have to say about that.
As always, thanks for reading ... and live long and prosper!