After several years of relative peace, Godzilla has risen once again and has begun attacking humanity. Desperate to prevent further destruction, Kong expert Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall) is recruited along with her adopted daughter Jia (Kaylee Hottle) and scientist Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgard) to help bring Kong to the Hollow Earth where they can find a power source that will help save humanity...
Had we seen this in a cinema, there's a good chance this would probably be a three-and-a-half or even a four star review.
There's no way that you can watch a movie like this in your home. It doesn't matter how good your sound system is, how big your TV is, how many pixels it's got. None of it matters. 'Godzilla vs. Kong' is a movie made for multiplex cinemas. It's meant to be enjoyed on a Saturday evening with an overpriced bag of popcorn in your lap, surrounded by a large number of people, all of them enjoying the same experience of seeing a monkey beat the shit out of a lizard. Circumstances dictate that you must watch in your home. Know that you're watching it in the worst way possible.
A movie like 'Godzilla vs. Kong' only serves as a painful reminder of what we're all missing, and how ultimately inferior the home experience is when watching blockbuster movies. It's not the just the size of the screen, but the sense of communal experience. Everybody saw the same craziness as you just did, and everyone - more or less - feels the same excitement. We all get a buzz off of it. Watching it on a couch just doesn't cut it.
As you'd expect, emotional stakes and dramatic performances have no business being discussed in a movie like this. Rebecca Hall, Alexander Skarsgard, Brian Tyree Henry - these are all fine, competent actors who can and often do star in exceptionally nuanced, intriguing movies. Here, however, Adam Wingard sidelines them to exposition duties and saves the big, splashy moments for Godzilla and Kong battling it out. Compared to the first movie, this time it feels like there's a real sense of engaging with the ridiculousness rather than trying to fight it. After all, it's Godzilla and Kong throwing shapes in Hong Kong where every building is lined with neon lights and florescent lights. Godzilla headbutts Kong from out of the oceans. Kong jumps off an aircraft carrier and mimics a certain flat-foot in a vest as he does so. How can any of this be taken seriously?
Adam Wingard, who previously directed cult favourite 'The Guest', knows how to pace and block a fight sequence, and when to pull it back and let the dust settle - in this case, literal dust from all of the buildings that have been crushed. Another great moment in this - Kong pops his arm back into place by knocking it off a building.
'Godzilla vs. Kong' is a movie that is, ultimately, a diverting spectacle. You'll watch it, you'll enjoy it, you'll get up and go about your day and never give it another thought. When you're watching it, though, you're in it. It won't stay with you for days afterwards. It's not some quiet prayer of a movie, confronting social dilemmas with exacting performances. It's a big, dumb blockbuster. It can't be both, nor should it be at all.
Cinemas can't reopen fast enough, because movies like 'Godzilla vs. Kong' just don't work without them, and we're all missing out on lizard-on-monkey action.