Godzilla vs. Kong First Reviews: Come for the Giant Monster Fights, Stay for the Giant Monster Fights

Early reviews from international critics say the film delivers on the promise of its title in spectacular fashion but doesn't quite hit the mark in its quieter moments.

by | March 25, 2021 | Comments

This is the showdown we’ve all been waiting for, whether it’s been for the 59 years since the release of the cheesy old King Kong vs. Godzilla movie, through the three previous installments of the MonsterVerse franchise (particularly the divisive Godzilla: King of the Monsters), or just over the past year, hoping for a big blockbuster spectacle again.

Does Godzilla vs. Kong live up to expectations? For the most part, yes, according to the first reviews tied to the movie’s international release. It delivers on its title, and if you expect more than that, you probably shouldn’t. Still, this crossover sequel is said to pay off with great-looking action, if the cost is just a goofy plot and uninteresting scenes with puny humans.

Here’s what critics are saying about Godzilla vs. Kong:

Do you get what you came for?

When it comes to the promise of its title, Godzilla vs Kong delivers immensely.
– Kshitij Rawat, The Indian Express

If you’re going into this movie to watch Godzilla and Kong exchange blows and public property be destroyed in creative ways, you will get your money’s worth.
– Prahlad Srihari, Firstpost

The kind of gloriously silly blockbuster we haven’t seen in over a year, Godzilla vs. Kong revels in its own outlandish premise and delivers everything you paid for.
– Doug Jamieson, The Jam Report

[It’s] the best monster movie in years… It is everything you would want in this face-off.
– Jonathan Roberts, The New Paper

With its entertainment factor turned up to 11, Godzilla vs. Kong lives up to its promise of a monster good time.
– Matthew Pejkovic, Matt’s Movie Reviews

[It] never cuts loose the way a film titled Godzilla vs Kong should.
– Anthony Morris, It’s Better in the Dark

How are the fight scenes?

The two Titans cross paths several times in this chaotic spectacle and the results are nothing short of breathtaking… Its action and thrills are immaculate.
Doug Jamieson, The Jam Report

[It] will appeal to anyone who knows how much joy can be sparked watching a giant monkey lay the boot into an enormous, laser-breathing lizard.
Anthony O’Connor, FILMINK

Once the two CGI titans take their swings on one another – the sequence itself is glorious in its stupidity.
Peter Gray, The AU Review

The final clash (which takes place in an urban setting) could have had a bit more variety as far as the visuals go.
Anthony Morris, It’s Better in the Dark

Godzilla vs. Kong

(Photo by Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures)

So the action is better than in the last movie?

Unlike in King of the Monsters, the colors here don’t overwhelm the frame to such an extent it becomes hard to see the action… It features some of the most seamless mayhem there ever was.
Prahlad Srihari, Firstpost

Unlike the previous Godzilla film, the action sequences aren’t hidden by a haze of clouds, smoke, or dust. Wingard showcases every move in the open.
Doug Jamieson, The Jam Report

Responding to earlier criticisms, Godzilla vs. Kong is stuffed with inventively staged action, most of which now takes place in broad daylight.
James Marsh, South China Morning Post

But what if I liked King of the Monsters?

If King of the Monsters tickled you, then this monstrous battle should suffice. If not, and you want your mindless action to have a little more ironic intelligence, this is one fight not worth the spectator fee.
Peter Gray, The AU Review

The storyline’s silliness might be a deal-breaker for those who appreciated the 2014 iteration’s more sombre storytelling.
Harris Dang, Impulse Gamer

How is Adam Wingard as director?

Wingard proves to be the right director for the job. He clearly knows what the fans and audiences alike want and for that, he delivers.
Casey Chong, Casey’s Movie Mania

Adam Wingard knows exactly what you came to Godzilla vs. Kong to see and he’s happy to serve it up in absolute spades.
Doug Jamieson, The Jam Report

Director Adam Wingard… treats Godzilla and Kong as action stars.
Jonathan Roberts, The New Paper

He has solid timing regarding being sincere and tongue-in-cheek with the story. It makes the time spent on the cast increasingly palatable.
Harris Dang, Impulse Gamer

Wingard has previously focused on smaller scale horror, which may explain why this really lacks the (occasional) sense of awe the earlier films had for these giant monsters.
Anthony Morris, It’s Better in the Dark

There will be fans of director Adam Wingard’s all-action, total-carnage approach, but I certainly wasn’t one of them.
James Croot,

Adam Wingard and Brian Tyree Henry

(Photo by Vince Valitutti/©Legendary and Warner Bros. Entertainment)

How does the movie look overall?

One of the most visually spectacular films of the year.
Doug Jamieson, The Jam Report

What did catch me off-guard was how richly cinematic the film looks and how spatialized the action feels.
Luke Buckmaster,

Visually, there’s really nothing here that we haven’t seen before.
Jim Schembri,

The bright lighting robs the VFX of heft.
Jamie Graham, Total Film

How is the writing?

The plot takes a turn for the better (and weirder)… [and] it gets even more bull goose loony in the third act.
Anthony O’Connor, FILMINK

Godzilla vs. Kong is an incredibly illogical yet unashamedly gonzo piece of work… that bring[s] the lore to new heights of ridiculousness and delirium that is truly entertaining.
Harris Dang, Impulse Gamer

The plot is unnecessarily complicated… Best to turn your brain off and ignore the temptation to apply logic and reason to such a piece of cinema.
Doug Jamieson, The Jam Report

If you’re going to hype such a film as Godzilla vs. Kong as the battle of all battles, you better not waste our time with overblown exposition.
Peter Gray, The AU Review

There are hints of a more intriguing film. One (literal) deep-dive into hard science-fiction world-building is a welcome shot of weirdness, if never fully explored.
John Nugent, Empire Magazine

So much is going on that the film’s running time feels scarcely enough to contain its threads.
John Lui, The Straits Times

Kaylee Hottle in Godzilla vs. Kong

(Photo by Chuck Zlotnick/©Legendary and Warner Bros. Entertainment)

And the human characters?

The film’s human characters… are an upgrade compared to previous films.
Matthew Pejkovic, Matt’s Movie Reviews

Finally, they have realized we do not care about humans… we thankfully do not have to spend much time with their problems and feelings.
Jonathan Roberts, The New Paper

They are enjoyably broad enough for the cast to play with and they are all game and know exactly the movie in which they are participating.
Harris Dang, Impulse Gamer

Any time the monsters are not on screen, in fact, is draining. Every MonsterVerse movie… has struggled to know what to do with the human characters on the ground, and in some ways, this is the worst offender yet for it
John Nugent, Empire Magazine

Unfortunately well over half the movie focuses on the humans, who are either boring, comedy relief, an occasional infodump, [or] utterly irrelevant.
Anthony Morris, It’s Better in the Dark

Does anyone stand out?

Jia is the one human who makes the film an emotional, sincere, and rousing spectacle. She is played beautifully by Kaylee Hottle.
Harris Dang, Impulse Gamer

The star human is Kaylee Hottle as Jia, the young girl who has a connection to the giant gorilla, which gives this movie the right amount of heart.
Jonathan Roberts, The New Paper

Hottle steals focus at every turn with her mute performance that’s the film true heart.
Rob Hunter, Film School Rejects

Godzilla vs. Kong

(Photo by Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures)

How is Godzilla in the movie?

Godzilla is reduced to a rampaging reptile for much of the film that feels out of step with his characterization in earlier movies.
James Marsh, South China Morning Post

When it comes to the acting showdown, there’s no contest… [Godzilla] has the voice, and the presence, but he doesn’t have the range.
Jake Wilson, The Age

Godzilla fans may feel irked that Kong gets more screen time.
Jonathan Roberts, The New Paper

The film dissolves Godzilla’s presence through its allegiance to Kong.
Harris Dang, Impulse Gamer

What about Kong?

Kong isn’t quite rendered as sensitively as Andy Serkis’s mo-cap version in the Peter Jackson film. But his eyes still convey so much emotion.
Prahlad Srihari, Firstpost

Aside from a few early scenes that really stress his size, he’s nothing to be afraid of.
Anthony Morris, It’s Better in the Dark

Godzilla vs. Kong

(Photo by Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures)

Will fans of both characters leave satisfied?

No matter which Titan you wanted to win, you would likely feel satisfied with the outcome.
Kshitij Rawat, The Indian Express

Those involved have clearly thought — a lot — about how to end things in a way that’s going to keep everyone happy.
Anthony Morris, It’s Better in the Dark

Godzilla vs. Kong releases in the U.S. in theaters and on HBO Max on March 31, 2021.

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