Godzilla Vs. Kong, My Rambling Review

Dave Gutteridge
My Rambling Reviews
7 min readMay 5, 2021


Godzilla faces off with King Kong in Hong Kong.
Last time I was in Hong Kong, I don’t remember it looking like a set from the movie Tron. This does look rad, though. (All images used in this article are copyright Warner Bros., Toho, and/or some other massive conglomerate media empire. Used without permission, please don’t sue me.)

(No spoilers that could impact anything, partly because this movie is so devoid of any meaningful structure that it’s not really possible to spoil anything.)

Did I miss something? Were there a bunch of other movies made in this cinematic universe that I didn’t see?

A chart showing different monsters that Godzilla has defeated.

Right off the top, in the opening credits, there’s this chart that shows that both Godzilla and Kong have defeated a bunch of other monsters so that each of them is the lead in their division or something. It’s weirdly reminiscent of sports. But, more than that, seeing that graph makes me think I’d rather watch those fights than be told they happened.

Even if you don’t like the Marvel cinematic universe, you have to give them credit for putting in the years and laying the ground work. Even though many of the movies weren’t that good, nonetheless, when the main characters in the final Avengers movies step on screen, they have a presence that’s earned. It’s not just the backstory they carry with them, it’s the weight of the success that each character’s individual movie series had.

In this movie, whoever made it seems to be leaning on Godzilla’s and Kong’s general presence in pop culture to give them credibility as two heavy weight contenders. But that just isn’t enough. I know who Godzilla and Kong are, but I don’t know their specifics in this particular cinematic universe. And I need that specificity in order to care about what’s happening here and now in this particular telling of their mythology. Don’t just tell me they’re the strongest, show them earning that title.

I had to go look up on the internet to not only check and see if there were other movies I missed, but also which ones exactly were part of this universe and which ones weren’t. With Kong, it seems that the only previous movie that leads into this is Kong: Skull Island, which was made recently, but in-universe it’s set roughly 50 years previous to the events of this movie. 50 years is a long time to just skip over between movies.

The little girl who is Kong’s friend holds up a Kong doll.
The movie’s only compelling human character.

We’re told in about three lines of throwaway dialog that the people on Kong’s home island, Skull Island, have all been wiped out, in a storm or something. Kong is being kept in some massive virtual reality bunker, which seems like a massive quantum leap from when we last saw him. There’s one little girl left from the people of Skull Island, and she has a connection to Kong and speaks to him through sign language. That’s an interesting relationship. Would’ve been nice to see that develop instead of being told it happened. But… nope.

With Godzilla, there were two movies recently enough, but only one of them had Millie Bobby Brown in it, so I think that might be the only one that directly connects to this one. Maybe I’m wrong, but it doesn’t matter. It’s clear that nothing about any previous movie matters enough to impact how you understand this movie. Or, more accurately, how you won’t understand it.

For example, someone in this movie mentions that Godzilla is thought of as “the savior of humanity.” But, that’s is a really weird interpretation to have of a monster who only seems to want to beat up or kill other monsters in order to assert dominance, and in the process kills countless innocent city dwelling people. Maybe it would make sense if we saw how that understanding developed. But… nope.

In any case, Godzilla clearly makes a much better villain than any kind of hero. To be more accurate, she’s an antagonist…

At one point Godzilla looks straight into the camera and laughs, and it’s really, really weird.

Yeah, I’m going with “she” because in at least one Japanese movie, and the forgettable American made Godzilla movie with Mathew Brodrick, Godzilla had laid eggs. So she’s a female. Though possibly a hermaphrodite, or other biology at work.

Anyway… In the same way that hurricanes or volcanoes have no malice, but are still massive problems, Godzilla makes the most sense as being a force of nature that humans fear and respect, and hope to never see. It feels like the attempt to label Godzilla as a “savior” of mankind is to make her a hero, but that solves a problem no one is having. Godzilla works best when she’s out there crushing other monsters, doing her own thing for her own reasons, and humans just kind of have to deal with her.

Alright, whatever. What’s the story here?

To call the sequence of happenstance events in this movie a “story” is to undermine the value of the word. A bunch of people are running around carrying out largely meaningless tasks in order to fill you in on background information that doesn’t matter so that there’s some kind of context for a big monster fight that doesn’t need any background to be understood.

A hologram of the hollow interior of the earth.
The earth is hollow, and full of monsters, which is a fun premise.

This is a problem that has always plagued the big monster movies since the start. When I was a kid being granted special permission to stay up a little past bed time to watch the Japanese Godzilla movies that made it to the west, I was always just hanging on through endlessly boring scenes of people running around doing whatever, and talking about the big monsters, and hinting at how and when the monsters will finally show up and do stuff. Short scenes of monsters were teased early in the movie to keep reminding you that eventually the monsters would come. Then finally the last act of the movie would involve monsters doing stuff.

Some random human characters from the movie just standing around.
These people are in this movie.

When I was eight or so, I assumed there was a purpose to these stories in between monster fights, but I figured I was just too young to appreciate them. As I got older, I realized that the movie makers were just doing all they could to fill run time between super expensive special effects scenes.

Now we’re in an age where a movie can be pretty much nothing but special effects. So without the constraint of avoiding showing the monsters, there’s all the potential to really focus on them, not have to attach separate side stories.

Consider the little deaf girl I mentioned earlier. The one who speaks to Kong with sign language. She’s by far the most compelling human in this movie. No, she’s the only compelling character. And her connection to Kong is direct, not merely on the periphery like it is for everyone else running around. What’s her deal? How did they meet? Why isn’t she scared of Kong? Why does he trust her? Follow that story.

Godzilla and Kong fight on top of an aircraft carrier.
Personally, I think Godzilla would have too much advantage here, because she can breathe under water.

Even though most of the events when humans are on screen are just gibberish that you can fast forward through, I do recommend you check out the fight scenes. There are two that matter.

One is when Kong is being transported across the ocean with an armada of military ships, and Godzilla attacks. The ending of the fight is dumb and makes no sense, but it’s kind of cool the way Kong has to jump ship to ship to try and avoid Godzilla, who’s swimming around underneath.

The other fight, the big finale, which spans most of the third act, takes place in Hong Kong. And boy howdy, they beat the shit out of Hong Kong. Like, I’ve seen lots of movies where lots of cities get destroyed, but this was really something else. Even in big disaster movies where an asteroid wipes out a continent, or alien invasions where they blow up whole cities with lasers from outer space or whatever, they’re all just so sterile compared to watching a city get dismantled building by building, one enormous punch after another gargantuan punch. In this day and age of computer effects that can do anything, it’s a notable feat to make a spectacle that is visually impressive and entertaining.

It’s pretty great.

Godzilla and Kong fight in Hong Kong.
You gotta give it to ’em, this fight is really awesome.

And I’m not mentioning the spoiler that’s kind of obvious when you first see a component of a secret construction project by an evil corporation somewhere around the end of the first act. Well, it’s obvious enough if you’re a fan of past Godzilla movies. All I’ll say is that it pays off pretty well in the middle of the main event.

So on that level, this movie was a success to some degree. I mean, that’s at the core of what you want from a movie like this. It’s all about the wanton and primal destruction on a grand scale. The kid in me who used to watch old Godzilla movies, and even the super old timey Kong films, is finally satisfied with the monster battle I always wanted to see.

King Kong standing inside the hollow inside of the earth.
If the interior of the earth is a sphere, then why is the opposite side so close? Just another detail that no one who made this movie cared about.

But, really, that just isn’t enough. I’m not looking for monster movies to blow my mind with some artfully nuanced plot, but I also don’t want my intelligence insulted every five minutes. I felt like I had to sit through so much stupidity that I was being punished for wanting to have a little fun.

It’s possible to be simple without being stupid, and that’s all I ask for. To do that, though, the people making the movie have to care about storytelling, and I don’t think anyone responsible for this movie did.



Dave Gutteridge
My Rambling Reviews

I don't post often because I think about what I write. Topics include ethics, relationships, and philosophy.