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‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ stuns with imagery, epic monster action

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“Godzilla vs. Kong” is not a movie. It’s a heavyweight bout, a titanic clash between the two most famous monsters in kaiju cinema history. After being pushed back several times by the studio, it’s finally here. Was it worth the wait?

For the most part, yes. Yes, it was.

“GvK” is the latest installment of Warner Bros. Monsterverse and finds the world in relative peace, with no one having seen or heard from Godzilla in years. Suddenly, Godzilla attacks a technology corporation, seemingly unprovoked.

Meanwhile, our human characters set off on a quest to the theoretical place Titans, like Kong and ‘Zilla, originate from in hopes of capturing special energy that they can use against Godzilla. Also, possibly for more nefarious ends. If that seems like a summary that’s full of holes, it’s because that’s the best I can do without spoiling the whole movie.

This movie is full of side plots that don’t go anywhere and feel unfinished and characters you don’t really care about. Apart from the two title characters, the only characters that you feel any empathy for are Madison (Milly Bobbie Brown), who is a carry-over from the last film, and Jia (Kaylee Hottle), a young girl who shares a bond of trust with Kong.

The rest of the characters are mostly there to spout exposition, like Rebecca Hall’s Ilene Andrews and Alexander Skarsgard‘s Nathan Lind, or be monster fodder. The side plot involving Madison, her friend Josh (Julian Dennison) and podcaster Bernie (Brian Tyree Henry) turns up a few tidbits that could have cool ramifications on the MonsterVerse if it continues, but it ends pretty much where you figure it will end. Worse, the subplot involving Madison’s dad, Mark, only seems to be there so we can get a few scenes with Kyle Chandler in the movie.

So, the acting is nothing special, the writing is no better than okay and the story is a bit of a mess. But you don’t go to a movie like “GvK” for any of that stuff. You go for monster fighting. And this movie totally delivers on the monster fighting.

The battles between Kong and Godzilla are epic, from the throwdown that takes place aboard battleships in the middle of the ocean to the knock-down-drag-out that serves as the film’s climax. That fight takes place in Hong Kong amid towering skyscrapers and colorful neon lights, giving the scene a bit of a surreal feel.

There’s also the quest to Kong’s real home. It’s packed with a sequence that recalls “2001: A Space Odyssey” and landscape that look torn from ’70s progressive rock album art. It’s a visual treat that deserves a movie of its own.

If you go into “Godzilla vs. Kong” expecting great storytelling or awards-worthy acting, you’re bound to be disappointed. But if you want some great monster-on-monster battles, with a lot of cool fantasy scenery on top, then “Godzilla vs. Kong” won’t let you down.

In addition to playing in theaters, “Godzilla vs. Kong” is also available to stream on HBO Max.

3 ½ Indy Fedoras out of 5

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Thanks to Fat Cats in Rexburg for providing screenings for movie reviews on EastIdahoNews.com.

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