If Godzilla vs. Kong was anything but enormous and deafening, it would have been a disappointment.
The promise of an aggressive, gargantuan monster clash on the biggest screen you can find is exactly the kind of big, dumb and loud entertainment that’s been sorely missing.
Of course, we love a thoughtful, nuanced and gripping drama, but there’s definitely room for mindless distractions and Godzilla vs. Kong is the first blockbuster release in a year in which you can completely switch off and not care about the fact that it’s also a convoluted, total mess.
But it doesn’t even matter that it’s defying its own internal logic or that the filmmakers thought the monster league of the UFC wasn’t enough it also decided to pay homage to Tron.
Because all that’s important is that it does what’s advertised: Smash, smash, bang, bang. And then it smash, smash, bang, bangs some more.
All your senses will be so overwhelmed by the visceral action and the forceful, metallic synth score that trying to make sense of the idiotic story is about 74th down your priority list.
But there is a story and it’s set three years after Godzilla: King Of The Monsters and roughly five decades after Kong: Skull Island.
After leaving humanity in peace, Godzilla attacks the Florida base of Apex, a cybertech company with Demian Bichir’s Walter Simmons as the big boss.
Everyone is freaking out because the attack is seemingly unprovoked, so Walter enlists the help of a discredited scientist named Dr Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgard) to help him find a way to Hollow Earth, a theoretical world in the Earth’s core where titans such as Godzilla and Kong are from.
The psychedelic journey to the centre of the Earth is a perilous one involving some kind of special aircraft that can fight the gravity inversion that’s supposed to kill you instantly. But they still need a guide and Lind approaches Dr Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall), the so-called Kong whisperer who’s stationed on Skull Island.
Elsewhere, not everyone is convinced the Godzilla attack is as unprovoked as claimed, especially whistle-blower and podcaster Bernie (Brian Tyree Henry) who witnesses something the night of the attack.
Madison Russell (Millie Bobby Brown, reprising her role from Godzilla: King Of The Monsters) also believes there’s something else afoot so she and reluctant friend Josh (Julian Dennison) seek out Bernie. The trio find themselves in the middle of a dangerous conspiracy.
There are loads of exposition dumps you can safely ignore because half of it either doesn’t make sense or it sounds so ludicrous coming out of the mouths of respected actors such as Hall and Bichir that the only reaction is to snigger.
You don’t have to wait too long before the first Kong versus Godzilla smash-up, which is a watery bout with as many missiles and warships as there are big-fisted punches.
Because the previous films in this burgeoning cinematic universe have sought to empathise both creatures, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where you’re comfortable watching the CGI monsters wallop on each other. So in Godzilla vs. Kong, we find Kong set up as the hero of the narrative – so you have someone to barrack for.
It also helps that it’s much easier for director Adam Wingard to anthropomorphise a giant ape with emotions than a scaley reptile.
In case you think you’re going to become emotionally conflicted about the damage wrought by two titans using the densely populated metropolis of Hong Kong as a boxing ring – and they’re not observing the Queensberry rules – not a drop of human blood is spilt on screen.
Some humans are exploded and crushed and definitely drowned but there aren’t errant limbs flying about. It’s relatively sanitised.
This isn’t the kind of movie that stops to reflect on the collateral damage despite that being a driving force for Kyle Chandler’s character in Godzilla: King Of The Monsters. Chandler returns for what equates to a cameo here.
Make no mistake about what kind of movie you’re in for with Godzilla vs. Kong. It’s people ominously declaring “Kong bows to no one”, it’s the CNN news bulletin leading its chyron with “no longer titan saviour” and it’s a roaring vibe that is so over-the-top it could function as a two-hour video clip to a death metal band’s catalogue.
Australians are lucky that Godzilla vs. Kong is being released nationally only into cinemas. Watching this at home or, heavens forfend, on a mobile phone would be pointless.
The soaring scenes through Hollow Earth risks looking staid on a TV while the ultimate monster punch-ups will probably underwhelm without the scale of a cinema screen.
Godzilla vs. Kong may be frequently stupid and unapologetically overblown, but it also happens to be one hell of a ride.
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Godzilla v Kong is in cinemas from Thursday, March 25