ICONIC MOVIE MONSTERS DO BATTLE IN SPECTACULAR SET PIECES, BUT THE FLIMSY PLOT CAN’T SUPPORT THEIR WEIGHT
GODZILLA VS KONG (12A) ★★☆☆☆
BILLED as the ultimate showdown between behemoth brawlers from Godzilla: King Of The Monsters and Kong: Skull Island, director Adam Wingard’s overblown monstermashing smackdown is a ridiculously one-sided affair.
Logic, not a quality cherished by screenwriters Eric Pearson and Max Borenstein, dictates the outcome when a reptilian contender with atomic breath that cuts through metal like a hot knife through butter rumbles with a chest-beating rival armed with banana breath.
“There can’t be two alpha titans,” prophesises anthropologist Dr Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall).
It takes almost two hours of fistpummelling fury to prove her wrong.
Dr Andrews works for secret scientific organisation Monarch on Skull Island, safely containing Kong inside a hi-tech dome where her deaf ward Jia (Kaylee Hottle) secretly communicates with the prize specimen using sign language.
Former Monarch scientist Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgard), labelled
“a sci-fi quack trading in fringe physics”, implores Ilene to let him transport Kong to Antarctica to prove his crackpot theory about a hollow earth ecosystem at our planet’s core.
The mission is bank-rolled by Walter Simmons (Demian Bichir), chief executive of Apex Cybernetics, who believes this hidden world could unlock a power source to protect mankind from future titan threats.
Needless to say, his motives are not as altruistic as the ramshackle script begs us to believe.
Meanwhile in a superfluous subplot, spunky teenager Madison Russell (Stranger Things’ Millie Bobby Brown), daughter of Monarch’s deputy director of special projects (Kyle Chandler), unravels the Apex conspiracy with a wise-cracking classmate (Julian Dennison) and conspiracy theorist podcaster (Brian Tyree Henry).
Bombastic action sequences, choreographed in luscious slowmotion, bludgeon character development and plausible plotting into submission.
The titular death match is conducted as two eye-popping bouts on sea and land roughly an hour apart, one of which cheerfully asks us to believe that a US Navy aircraft carrier could support the combined weight of the title fighters rampaging on its deck.
Godzilla Vs Kong has just one emotional string to its bow, the bond between cherubic Jia and the ape, and scriptwriters Pearson and Borenstein pluck it frantically between set pieces.
The introduction of a third challenger for a tag team finale among Hong Kong’s tumbling skyscrapers cranks up the wanton devastation to 11.
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