Last Wednesday, Godzilla vs. Kong arrived to not only save the moviegoing business, but also to show us what happens when an ancient lizard and an ancient primate are trying to kill each other. After watching the apex predators bash each other across Hong Kong—and also travel to the center of the earth?—the Ringer staff divulged their thoughts on what turned out to be an apex blockbuster.
1. What is your tweet-length review of Godzilla vs. Kong?
Charles Holmes: The monkey vs. lizard discourse bows to no one.
Miles Surrey: God > Kong.
Lex Pryor: How do I get on Brian Tyree Henry’s podcast?
Justin Sayles: Can’t believe I sat through two hours in an IMAX for a truce.
Jomi Adeniran: It was a fun movie but um … is Hong Kong going to be OK?
Andrew Gruttadaro: Me watching all of the monster fights:
Me watching the rest of the movie:
2. What was the best moment of the film?
David Lara: Easily the battle between Kong and Godzilla in Hong Kong. Aside from all of the destruction, the way the city lights hit the two monsters trying to kill each other, it was actually a gorgeous sequence.
Surrey: When Kong, after being revived by the world’s largest makeshift defibrillator, uses a building to pop his shoulder back into place. What an absolute … king.
Adeniran: Godzilla beating the hell out of King Kong twice was great for me, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t squeal with excitement when Kong used a FREAKING BUILDING to put his shoulder back in place.
Gruttadaro: The cover star of Scientific Future—the woman that same magazine dubbed “The Kong Whisperer”—not realizing that a primate can probably learn sign language.
Pryor: Kong tracing his 23andMe all the way back to Hollow Earth. Call me a sucker for a homecoming but it truly warmed my heart to see my guy chilling on his rediscovered throne, finding and recharging that ax made out of Godzilla’s scale (?), and just generally vibing in his ape-palace.
Sayles: When Kong and Godzilla screamed in each other’s faces and it seemed, for a second, that they might kiss.
3. What was your least-favorite part of the movie?
Pryor: When Godzilla beat the shit out of Kong.
Sayles: We need to have a conversation about how terribly Kong is treated. They left my dude out in the rain all night before dumping him in Antarctica. If you’re cold, he’s cold. Let him inside!
Holmes: Brian Tyree Henry surviving the destruction of Hong Kong and immediately asking Kyle Chandler if he’d appear on his podcast was a cringeworthy moment. Of all the things Godzilla vs. Kong gets wrong about podcasting, a host shamelessly plugging his podcast to a bewildered Kyle Chandler is very accurate.
Gruttadaro: No shots but why is Millie Bobby Brown in this movie? While that side plot does give us Brian Tyree Henry as a conspiracy podcaster, it’s otherwise unnecessary and inexplicable. Why not replace it with more monster fights—or, ya know, cut it, and bring in the running time at a brisk 90 minutes?
Adeniran: The Stranger Things crew’s only contribution to the film was pouring whiskey on a computer panel to slightly hinder Mechagodzilla. I would’ve rather spent that time watching King Kong shower.
Lara: Kyle Chandler was in like two to three scenes and was just confused the entire time. I was hoping he’d tell Kong, “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose” but maybe they’re saving that for the next one.
Surrey: That I had to find out through Google that the guy telepathically operating Mechagodzilla was supposed to be the Ken “Let Them Fight” Watanabe character’s son. I mean, what?!
4. Grade Godzilla and Kong’s performances in combat.
Sayles: Godzilla moves quicker than I’d expect, given his awkward proportions. Meanwhile, Kong’s supposed to be the smart one, but he brought an ax to an atomic-breath-ray fight. Kong’s my guy, but gotta give the edge to the big, dumb lizard.
Holmes: Godzilla: ruthless, always up for a fight, anyone could catch these lizard hands (and atomic breath), didn’t need an ax. Grade: A-.
King Kong: unmotivated, soft as Charmin, left body wide open, needed an ax. Grade: D+.
King Kong is 0-3 in my book— Oluwajomiloju (@JomiAdeniran) April 4, 2021
1st fight: Godzilla won even though it was him vs. Kong AND the military
2nd fight: Kong needed a mystical axe and still ended up lying on the concrete
3rd fight: Godzilla carried Kong against LeMickeyGodzilla #GodzillavsKong
Lara: Godzilla is without a doubt the best and strongest fighter of the two (he gets an A), but Kong was thrust into battle for no reason, had to fight Godzilla over water, and he held his own. He gets an A+.
Pryor: Listen, I wanted Kong to win as much as anyone but there’s no other way to describe his performance than to call it an utter failure. He was literally killed by Godzilla. Dead. Heart stopped. Needed a defibrillator. Vanquished by a nuclear iguana. There’s no other way of analyzing it: Godzilla simply—unequivocally—washed him. Yes, I saw how valuable Kong was during the Mechagodzilla fight, but being a great tag team fighter has nothing to do with being prepared, in any way, to go solo. Godzilla was simply a pro’s pro.
Surrey: Godzilla gets an A—he absolutely wrecked Kong’s shit. Kong gets a B for wielding a cool ax, killing Mechagodzilla, and trying his best against the reptilian equivalent of a nuclear bomb. Also, while Godzilla is the undisputed King of the Monsters, Kong was effectively the protagonist of this movie, which feels like a win for the big primate.
Gruttadaro: Kong thought his fighting days were over. He was retired, sleeping in, basically a monster-sized version of Jay Cutler. It feels unfair to grade him in a fight he was thrown into. That said, the guy got destroyed—Kong gets a C; Godzilla gets an A. The only reason Kong isn’t dead is because Godzilla let him live (and before that, because a super high-tech ship exploded on his heart).
5. Who is the MVH (Most Valuable Human) in Godzilla vs. Kong?
Adeniran: Oh right, there were humans in this movie! Alexander Skarsgård was excellent as the guy calling the winner of each round, Rebecca Hall reprised her role of Maya Hansen from Iron Man 3, but the true MVH of the film was Jia (Kaylee Hottle). In a movie that could have just been two titans punching each other for 90 minutes, she brought ethos and actual meaning.
Sayles: If you’re expecting me to say the podcaster because Spotify writes my checks, you’re wrong. (It’s the little girl.)
Pryor: There’s no other answer but Jia right? She had been chatting it up with Kong for lord knows how long, saved his life by noticing his heart was stopping, and even reminded Kong that Godzilla wasn’t his enemy before they teamed up in the end. Her distrust of everyone besides the giant ape was sorely needed in a film brimming with both naivete and (depending on how much you care about things like dialogue) zero logic.
Holmes: This award has to go to Jia for being the youngest person in a room of supposedly brilliant scientists and still being the only one to notice that Kong was smart enough to communicate.
Gruttadaro: The only correct answer is Jia, but if I’m forcing myself to look elsewhere: Alexander Skarsgård’s Dr. Nathan Lind. He was right about Hollow Earth, he wasn’t rude to Kong, he successfully—and with no training whatsoever—flew a state-of-the-art, never-before-seen aircraft through the Earth, and he revived a dying Kong. Every other human was the dumbest human I’d ever seen in a movie.
Surrey: Nobody understood their assignment better than Demián Bichir, who spends nearly all of his screentime holding a glass of whiskey and saying “Godzilla” in an almost sensual way.
6. If you had the ability to communicate with Kong, what would you say to him?
Surrey: Don’t trust any humans unless their name is Jane Goodall.
Holmes: Don’t bring an ax to an atomic death fight.
Adeniran: You have opposable thumbs, how are you getting worked by a lizard? Be better.
Lara: I’d ask him if he needs a social media manager. There’s money to be made, man. Let’s get it.
Sayles: I would do the only sensible thing: rap him Jay-Z’s verse on “Monster.”
Gruttadaro: Stop helping these fucking humans, bro.
Pryor: Do you have any ideas on how I can get on Brian Tyree Henry’s podcast?
7. Is that podcast filling your head with garbage?
Gruttadaro: Absolutely. I should be at school right now.
Holmes: Yeah, but that’s kind of the point of podcasts.
Surrey: That’s exactly what Big Brother wants you to think. Kyle Chandler is just another sheep mindlessly following the flock. Keep your third eye open and always take showers with bleach.
Pryor: I’m offended at the suggestion.
Adeniran: It’s a personal rule of mine to not listen to podcasts that are hosted by people who make their own hand sanitizer.
Sayles: Godzilla vs. Kong made me realize Bill Cooper would’ve had the most lit podcast imaginable.
Lara: No. In fact, I’m working on bringing the Titan Truth Podcast to The Ringer right now.
8. What is your biggest question about Hollow Earth?
Sayles: I have several! Where’s the sun? Who built the steps in the throne room? How did Godzilla sense Kong thousands of miles away and inside of the earth when he couldn’t sense him in the Superdome? What do the real-life Hollow Earth Truthers think of it?
Lara: Is there pollen? Because this earth’s pollen is kicking my ass and I’d be willing to move to Hollow Earth if pollen isn’t there.
Holmes: Are the big monkeys in Hollow Earth good at masonry? Are we meant to believe that massive gorillas can build a throne room? Who is Hollow Earth’s resident contractor and what’s her preferred method of payment?
Gruttadaro: How did they know that there was breathable air down there? Because for real, those humans sure did charge out of those aircraft, helmets off, like a bunch of idiots.
Pryor: I don’t understand where the light is coming from. I’ve tried to make it make sense but it just doesn’t.
Adeniran: How does anything work? Light, gravity—how would anything survive in the EARTH’S CORE? I know it’s my fault for thinking too hard about the lizard vs. monkey movie, but this nearly took me out of it.
Surrey: How soon until Hollow Earth is commercialized with fast food chains, hotels, and a Kong safari exhibit?
9. Who should Kong and/or Godzilla fight next?
Gruttadaro: The patriarchy.
Sayles: Zack Snyder stans.
Surrey: If the MonsterVerse doesn’t bring Pacific Rim mechas into the fold (in a movie specifically directed by Guillermo del Toro), we riot.
Lara: Student loan debt.
Adeniran: I say we continue the MCU-ification of Hollywood. In Godzilla’s next film, I’d have Kong show up for 15 minutes at the start. They kick some titan butt, do a secret handshake, and we’re left wondering why Kong is gone for the rest of the movie. Then, in Godzilla vs. Kong 2, we find out Kong was in space trying to reach his ancestors—but what’s the thing that comes back with him? SPACE GODZILLA.
Holmes: I need Dominic Toretto and the Fast Family to battle some alpha titans with only their cars, their “mi familia” spirit, and some post-apocalypse Coronas.