The fourth film of the MonsterVerse is almost here! Godzilla vs. Kong features the two Titans clashing in an epic battle (and we recently learned why exactly these two beasts are fighting). Following Godzilla, Kong: Skull Island, and Godzilla: King Of The Monsters, the organization Monarch embarks on a perilous mission into uncharted territory, discovering clues to the Titans' very origins, while a human conspiracy threatens to wipe the creatures, both good and bad, from the face of the earth forever. The blockbuster is directed by Adam Wingard and features Alexander Skarsgård, Millie Bobby Brown, Kyle Chandler, Rebecca Hall, and Brian Tyree Henry.
Godzilla vs. Kong is already off to a roaring start in China, but doesn't debut in the U.S. until March 31, when it will be available both in theaters and on HBO Max. While people in the industry already shared their reactions to the monster movie on social media, critics have now begun sharing their first reviews.
Eric Eisenberg saw the monstrous film for the home team, and rated it a 3.5 out of 5 stars. He enjoyed the film overall, but admits that it has its issues, the most significant one being the balance of the human characters with the monsters, because the Kaijus are (of course) so much more interesting. He notes that the story of the film is silly, no doubt about it, but "it's hard not to just lean back and enjoy it," because the action and design are absolutely fantastic. Eisenberg continued:
The film still has to spend its entire first act introducing brand new heroes and villains and all varieties of plot points. It’s an aspect of Godzilla vs. Kong that may disappoint fans who were hoping for more impactful usage of the canon, and it also results in the beginning of the story being way more of a slog than you’d hope for – but it’s also a film that sees a sputtering start turn into a fun ride stocked with some spectacular monster action, silly-but-enjoyable narratives, and wonderful design.
Entertainment Weekly's Leah Greenblatt was less positive and also criticized the use of the human characters, saying "the human stuff is just extra." She notes that some characters, like Brian Tyree Henry and Julian Dennison, were utterly wasted, and that the humans were just used to fling nonsense story exposition that doesn't actually help move along the plot of this "hectic" film. But Greenblatt admits that the monster film delivers on its promise of monstrous action. She said:
Director Adam Wingard (Death Note, The Guest) understands his call to duty; the maximus monster smackdown. And on that the movie more or less delivers.
David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter also commented on the roles of the human characters in Godzilla vs. Kong (I'm sensing a pattern here). He notes there’s a lack of character development and logic throughout the “dizzying” speed of the chaos of the film. Rooney also enjoyed the action and design like previous critics, commending the CG work on Kong, especially. While he notes that the plot is “eye-rolling” at times, he enjoyed what the title of the film promises: epic action between the two Titans. Rooney said:
The good news is that even if the convoluted kaiju mythology tends to trip over itself in a plot that only barely makes sense, the Monsterverse face-off delivers plenty of visceral excitement.
IndieWire’s Kate Erbland also praised the action and design work of the monster film (wow, what a shocker), and appreciated that it’s literally easier to see what’s going on in Godzilla vs. Kong than in Michael Dougherty’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters, in which the battles took place in too-dark (and wet) settings. She also commended the evolution of the Titans throughout the MonsterVerse films, but admits that human character evolution is somewhat of a miss (yep, definitely sensing a pattern here). Overall, Erbland enjoyed the epic battles, noting that Wingard establishes some of the franchise’s best in this film. She said:
The tantalizing final frames hint at more to come, but Godzilla vs. Kong does something rare: It offers a satisfying story that can stand alone, even when its monstrous heroes demand more exploration.
Matt Donato from WhatToWatch has similar critiques to those mentioned above. He notes that Godzilla vs. Kong under-develops its “fleshy characters” and abandons any “grounded” plot points. But again, like we’ve seen before, he praised the “smashy-flashy Kaiju throwdown” for its epic action. Donato said:
Kong wields gigantic ancient weapons, Godzilla’s menace reaches new heights, and while more time could—maybe should—have been spent empowering ant-sized characters beyond fundamental subgenre roles, Godzilla vs. Kong still makes a seismic impact in terms of no-holds-barred animalistic action that looks pretty darn impressive in terms of computer-generated chaos.
Well, there you have it. It would seem that audiences will at least be satisfied with the epic clash of the Titans in Godzilla vs. Kong though it seems like there are pros and cons to the movie overall. While we wait for the monster film to release in theaters domestically and on HBO Max on March 31, use CinemaBlend's 2021 movie release guide to plan your next trip to the theater (or to your couch).