Godzilla vs Kong Early Reviews Praise Monster Fights But Not Human Characters

Early reviews are in for Godzilla vs. Kong ahead of the film’s highly anticipated release in theaters and on HBO Max on March 31.

Early reviews are in for Godzilla vs Kong. The film is set to bring together the two Titans on screen for the first time since 1962 and culminates several years of storytelling. Legendary kick off the MonsterVerse with 2014’s Godzilla directed by Gareth Edwards. Kong: Skull Island introduced the new version of Kong to the franchise in 2017, and Godzilla: King of the Monsters brought back Gojira for an epic battle. Now, the two are set to face off against each other when Godzilla vs Kong hits HBO Max and theaters on March 31.

Godzilla vs Kong already broke box office records with its international debut. The film earned $70 million in China alone on its way to a cumulative total of $122 million for the entire weekend. The film’s box office take will look a bit different in the US, with theaters still operating under strict safety protocols. Godzilla vs Kong is also available on HBO Max. Still, early reactions to the film indicated that Godzilla vs Kong deserves to be seen on the biggest screen possible, and hardcore fans may make the trek to their local cinema to see the film in as big of a format as possible.

The review embargo has been lifted on Godzilla vs Kong, and it looks like most critics are saying the same. The latest MonsterVerse entry delivers the franchise’s best action in years, with many praising director Adam Wingard’s handling of the film’s CGI centerpieces. Like the early reactions, critics find the human drama lacking, but most emphasize that is beside the point anyway. Critics seem to agree that Godzilla vs Kong succeeds where it needs to: the epic battles between the two monsters at the center of the film. Check out some of the reactions below and click through to read the critic’s full thoughts:

Mae Abdulbaki, SR

When it comes to the monster lore and the fight sequences, Godzilla vs. Kong truly delivers. Godzilla’s appearances are incredibly threatening and work to ramp up the perceived ancient tension between him and King Kong. The battle scenes are fantastic, with Godzilla and King Kong truly giving it all they’ve got when defending themselves against the other. There is, of course, plenty of destruction, with Godzilla vs. Kong taking the time to focus mainly on the creatures during their fight.

Kate Erbland, IndieWire

In the end, though, it’s all about the battles, and Wingard’s film offers some of the franchise’s best. That ocean-set face-off is a master class in coherent CGI extravaganzas that a) take place at dusk and b) often underwater. The action-packed final act is crammed with plenty of fan catnip — what is a Godzilla film without a nighttime battle set in a neon-colored city? — that maintains momentum and furthers the story with every big-pawed swipe. 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.

Bob Mondello, NPR

Let it be said that the special effects are decently special — and frequently in broad daylight this time, as opposed to in the Monsterverse’s last installment, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, in which nearly everything took place either at night or under water. In Godzilla vs. Kong, you can always see what’s going on, whether its in daylight or neon-drenched night — even if it’s a little disengaged from anything we’d normally regard as reality.

Peter Debruge, Variety

While stunning, the footage has that hyperreal-to-the-point-of-fake look, where everything is either moodily twilit or smothered in magic-hour honey. Granted, that’s an improvement over both Godzilla’s and Kong’s hokey lo-fi origins. Just because Warner Bros. is treating the adversaries as bona fide A-listers doesn’t mean the rock-’em-sock-’em extravaganza amounts to anything more than a dumb-fun B-movie. Nor should it. Considering the havoc a microscopic virus has wreaked on the past year, being caught between two 400-foot titans doesn’t seem so bad.

Leah Greenblatt, EW

Though the eccentric soundtrack choices—Elvis, Judas Priest, and The Hollies all pop up at different points throughout the film—and the creative use of neon light to illuminate the final battle scenes give Godzilla Vs. Kong a distinctive personality, the script is as generically overstuffed as you might expect from a blockbuster of this size. In terms of delivering the pseudoscientific exposition and snappy jokes, Godzilla Vs. Kong has an advantage over its overly serious predecessor in that the cast seems to have gotten the memo that what they are saying is very silly, and that that’s part of the fun.

  • Godzilla vs. Kong (2021)Release date: Mar 31, 2021

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