Long-Awaited Godzilla vs. Kong Match Up Stomps Where Marvel Fears To Tread After a year spent battling a tiny virus you can't see, audiences may well appreciate a title bout featuring antagonists of a certain size — as Godzilla and Kong finally get their playdate.
NPR logo

In A Long-Awaited Matchup, Godzilla And Kong Stomp Where Marvel Fears To Tread

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/982255140/982805763" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
In A Long-Awaited Matchup, Godzilla And Kong Stomp Where Marvel Fears To Tread

Review

Movie Reviews

In A Long-Awaited Matchup, Godzilla And Kong Stomp Where Marvel Fears To Tread

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/982255140/982805763" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

The pandemic has had most of Hollywood cowering for the last year or so. Even Marvel superheroes have pushed back their openings. But nothing intimidates a titan, and critic Bob Mondello says two titans will clash starting tomorrow on any screen that will have them - "Godzilla Vs. Kong."

BOB MONDELLO, BYLINE: Credit where it's due - Kong knows how to make an entrance.

(SOUNDBITE OF KING KONG GROWLING)

MONDELLO: He announces himself by grabbing a tree and tossing it in the air hard enough to punch a hole in the sky.

(SOUNDBITE OF GLASS SHATTERING)

MONDELLO: I don't mean that metaphorically - an actual hole. He shattered the containment dome over his island that's been cleverly camouflaged by his keepers.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "GODZILLA VS. KONG")

CHRIS CHALK: (As Ben) We need to start thinking about off-site solutions.

REBECCA HALL: (As Dr. Ilene Andrews) The island is the one thing that's kept him isolated. If he leaves, Godzilla will come for him. There can't be two alpha titans. The whole theory of an ancient rivalry stems...

MONDELLO: I'll spare you the whole theory, suffice it to say that letting him out would be nuts. So that's what they do. Before long, while the good guys and some less-good guys are talking energy sources and a hollow earth that owes a little something to Jules Verne, Kong is using an aircraft carrier as a surfboard. That's what you came for, right? Off on the side, there's a fearless podcaster taking on a fearsome corporation.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "GODZILLA VS. KONG")

BRIAN TYREE HENRY: (As Bernie Hayes) Something bad is going on here. I don't know what it is, but I'm about to walk in and download hard evidence.

MONDELLO: But that's mostly to get us to Hong Kong, where there are buildings that can splinter prettily as our leading titans finally get their play date.

(SOUNDBITE OF GODZILLA SCREECHING)

MONDELLO: I may have imagined this, but at one point, I think Kong the skyscraper's revolving restaurant as a frisbee. Scale is everything here, and let it be said that the special effects are decently special and frequently in broad daylight this time even if they're a little disengaged from anything we'd normally regard as reality or from people.

Back in college, I had a geology prof who, whenever he drew a volcano on the blackboard, also drew a village at its base, his way of giving us a rooting interest when the lava started flowing. Director Adam Wingard and his digitizers don't bother. "Godzilla Vs. Kong" rarely has bystanders to speak of, not even just screamers and runners. I kept waiting for someone to say, oh, my God, there are 7 million people in Hong Kong. But the eighth wonder of the world and the king of the monsters might as well be throwing punches in the wilderness. Kong has a mean right hook, by the way.

(SOUNDBITE OF DEBRIS THUDDING)

MONDELLO: Not sure I needed almost two hours of throwing punches, even accompanied by collapsing skyscrapers. But after a year spent battling a tiny virus you can't see, audiences may well appreciate a title bout featuring antagonists of a certain size.

I'm Bob Mondello.

(SOUNDBITE OF TOM HOLKENBORG'S "SKULL ISLAND")

Copyright © 2021 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.