Our Take: 4 Stars
Last year, due to COVID-19, movie theatres across the country were forced to close their doors. But, in early 2021, as vaccines rolled out and life began to return to normal, the future of movie theatres still remained uncertain.
Classic adrenaline-fuelled monster movie “Godzilla vs. Kong” changed all that, and may have just saved the theatre industry.
“Godzilla vs. Kong” was released on Mar. 31 to theatres to HBO Max simultaneously. The fourth installment in Legendary’s MonsterVerse, the film is a sequel to 2019’s “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” and 2017’s “Kong: Skull Island.”
Unlike many franchise films today, the MonsterVerse requires no prior knowledge of previous films.
“Godzilla vs. Kong” is a delightful watch even without context; something that was most likely purposeful.
This is the 36th Godzilla film, a Japanese Kaiju monster that dates back to 1954. Originally, Godzilla, a nuclear abomination, was laced with political and social undertones, addressing issues that plagued a post-WWII Japan.
Seventy years later, “Godzilla vs. Kong” is nothing but two very large, very powerful monsters duking it out and destroying cities left and right.
That does not mean it is not enjoyable or a good movie, however. There is a reason the sequel has essentially re-opened movie theatres.
Pitting two well known monsters against each other is a tacky plot, and director Adam Wingard (“V/H/S”) seems to know that. While there is some questionable and confusing exposition about ancient enemies with millena-long rivalries and a whole hollow earth plot that is something straight out of 2008’s “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” Wingard knows that his viewers are here for action — and he provides.
That being said, the movie runs a little too long. Coming in at a watch time of about 2 hours, the movie feels a little plot heavy.
The long, nonsensical and seemingly inconsequential side plot where a teen girl (Millie Bobby Brown, “Stranger Things”), her best friend and a crazy middle-aged conspiracy podcaster (Brian Tyree Henry, “If Beale Street Could Talk”) take an Elon Muskian-like hyperloop from Florida to Hong Kong could have easily been left out.
Since its release two weeks ago, “Godzilla vs. Kong” has already made $358 million world wide, $70 million of that domestically. Compared to another pandemic-era box office release that tried to reopen theatres with arguably more valuable intellectual property, Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet,” “Godzilla” has hit it out of the park. “Tenet” was released only into theatres on Aug. 12, 2020 and only made $50 million domestically over a period of three months.
The success of “Godzilla vs. Kong” has seemed to change the trajectory of movie theatres across the country. The largest chain, AMC, which in January of this year reported that it was going to run out of cash and close down, has seen a resurgence in stock prices. The weekend after “Godzilla vs. Kong” opened AMC’s stock prices soared from round $7 a share to $13. They now rest at about $10.
Whether you stream “Godzilla vs. Kong” or are one of the brave to return to movie theatres, give it a watch, it’s nothing but a good time.