By Laurie Coker

Rating: A

I still get a chuckle when I think about watching old-school Godzilla movies and the rubbery creature stomping around with people screaming “Godzilla” lips not matching sound. Great stuff! The giant lizard has graced the screen countless times in several different forms, but CGI experts have gone above and amazingly beyond expectations in the newest battle – this one in Godzilla vs. Kong. Weaving together human and humane stories with the beasts, director Adam Wingard and crew create a visually perfect, seamless monster conflict that goes farther than crashing through cities and actually giving emotions and personality to more than just the humans.  Godzilla vs. King Kong is a creature-feature sequel to 2017’s seriously cool, Kong: Skull Island and 2019’s not so perfect Godzilla: King of the Monsters and it is extraordinarily fun and engaging to watch.

Tricked by APEX, a tech company that manages to control Godzilla, Kong’s handlers take Kong on a journey to find his home. Kong has built an intense bond with a young deaf girl named Jia (Kaylee Hottle) whose foster mother, Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall) works with Kong. Ilene partner’s with Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgård) to travel to middle earth, but both have been convinced by Walter Simmons (Demián Bichir) and his daughter Maya (Eiza González) to believe the trip will stop Godzilla’s destruction. Meanwhile, Madison Russell (Millie Bobby Brown), Bernie Hayes (Brian Tyree Henry) and Josh Valentine (Julian Dennison) race to prove that APEX controls Godzilla.

The true stars of Godzilla vs Kong are the monsters and the CGI visual artists. Kong actually comes off as loveable, while Godzilla wreaks havoc and even though Madison would argue alternatively, he is not the likable antagonist. Their battles are spectacular – exciting, explosive, and elevating. Young Hottle, who was born deaf, in her first big movie role, brings innocence and sensitivity that aids in making King Kong more relatable. Her role solidifies the human aspect of the film. Seeing this tiny face to face and finger to finger with the colossal Kong in vivid clarity and amazing color demonstrates the creators’ exceptional skills. Godzilla vs. Kong is a family pleaser and an excellent addition to the franchise. It earns an A in my grade book. Even with all the predictability the imagery and battle sequences make it a super fun ride.

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