Godzilla vs Kong. (12A.)
Directed by Adam Wingard.
Starring Alexander Skarsgård, Millie Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry, Kyle Chandler and Demian Bechir. Available on-demand now. 113 mins.
Well, I can't tell you the result but I can say that, while neither fighter quite reached their previous peaks, this was a very satisfying bout, probably as good as we could reasonably expect of two tired old sluggers who have been in the game too long. As ever with these kinds of heavyweight matchups, there were too many middlemen cluttering up the events with their demands for a slice of the action, but ultimately the two stars came through on the big stage. Pity then that viewers in the UK will only be able to see it on pay-per-view.
The Legendary Entertainment's MonsterVerse series hasn't been one of the movie's great undertakings but it's mostly been fun. Granted the previous episode Godzilla: King of Monsters was such a bland and featureless splodge of ceegeeye mush I gave up on it before halfway but the first Godzilla was a bold if incoherent spectacle while Kong Skull Island had enough bits of wacky fun to get by. Plus they did us the decency of building up to the main feature, not jumping straight into it like Batman Vs Superman. GvK is never gonna live up to the hype because just like BvS, I don't think there is a movie that could conceivably meet all those expectations.
This has too many humans running around. The plot is divided between a team escorting Kong around the place (including Hall as the Kong Diane Fossey) and a pair of kids led by a conspiracy blogger (Henry) who are on a mission to get into the villain's lair. What Kyle Chandler brings to the film is unclear other than boldly asserting his agent's tenacity in making sure his client got a cut of the sequel to the film (Godzilla: King Of Monsters) he was the lead of. But, this infestation of not-quite stars doesn't hold up the film. Mostly there are all quite pleasant and don't get to overstay their welcome; they're just there to oil the wheels and keep the plot moving.
The plot is agreeably silly and even takes in a trip to the earth's interior. This At The Earth's Core diversion is childishly thrilling but I did worry that this would deprive us of the suitable finale where the two monsters level a major city. Not to worry, the major city is flattened and their choice of battleground, though obvious, is I think the one you would've chosen. Big cities being stomped on by oversized monsters is really what the cinema was made for and these reminders of human frailty are oddly comforting. There's a moment when an unsteady Godzilla lurches into a couple of skyscrapers and as he falls back into them he looks like he's casually reclining on some pillows.
The old timers put on a good show, including a halitosis-off, each roaring in the other's face. It's all done with ceegee but it's mostly high-end ceegee and some of it is pretty spectacular. So why the hell can't we see it on the big screen?
Difficult as it has been going 12 months without any big-screen experiences to review – in the last year I have been to the cinema three times – it was reassuring that the studios were holding back their big films and holding them dear, unwilling to toss them away without a theatrical release. It was a bit aggravating though when poxy little domestic dramas - perfectly nice, perfectly decent but perfectly tiny films – kept insisting they have their releases put back too. Where's the sense in Godzilla vs Kong being pissed away onto streaming while itsy bitsy little films like Herself and Supernova, films that would have to puff out their chests to fill a TV screen, are holding out for their day in the cinema?
The film is a victim of the streaming war and Warners decision to try and wrestle a share of the market from Disney +, Netflix and Amazon Prime. But it's also partly down to the fact that plagueland USA now has most of its cinemas open. Seems reckless but maybe the thinking is that this might be a good way to cull the numbers of Freedummies. A judicious re-release of The Temptation Of The Christ could ensure there's never have a Republican president again.
So, is GvK any good? I'd say that it seemed fine to me, but without seeing it properly, that's just an educated guess.