You'd think at a certain point Hollywood itself would grow sick of ignoring new ideas and/or cinematic properties hitting the big screen (and, thanks to COVID-19, the small screen), but when it comes to Godzilla vs. Kong, we'll just direct you to a text from a friend who also watched this thing on HBO Max over the weekend: "This movie feels like it was written by a MadLib."

Some spoilers follow, but it doesn't really matter.

Indeed, when we rejoin King Kong following 2017's Kong: Skull Island, he's now living it up in some corner of the island paradise, only, uh-oh—it's actually a super-advanced simulation program a la Star Trek's holodeck. But he knows it, so he smashes stuff. He also has a tight butt for some reason. Anyway, turns out Kong built up an affinity for a little girl from the island who has been teaching him sign language like he's Amy from Congo. Like MadLibs, the ultimate narrative of the piece feels pointless; like MadLibs, the end product feels like a joke.

Elsewhere, Godzilla is kicking it in the ocean, but decides to attack humanity, even though he was buddy-buddy with humans in 2019's King of the Monsters. He particularly likes Millie Bobby Brown of Stranger Things, who doesn't buy the attack and wonders aloud why he would "flash an intimidation display," as if she's some kind of giant lizard behavioral specialist. Spoiler alert: The Apex corporation tricked Godzilla, and Brown's character joins forces with a podcast host who works for said corporation (but only to dig up dirt; Brian Tyree Henry) and a friend from New Zealand to whom she's very mean (Julian Dennison).

And so it comes to pass that the humans decide Kong is their friend, that Godzilla needs to get real and that it's vital to get that great ape to the center of the planet where, for some other baffling reason, there's a whole stinking ecosystem full of fantastic beasts (and, somehow, a sun-like light source). See, that's where Kong is from and that's where he keeps this totally bitchin' weapon he made from Godzilla spines or something. Good lord.

You may be enticed, during the heat of a Kong/Godzilla slug-fest, to think about how this movie isn't so bad. Fight that feeling, because no matter how many cities they level or sci-fi things they engage with or Godzilla spine weapons they brandish, even the least studious film fan simply must feel on an instinctual level that this is trash of the highest caliber.

This is the movie that gets made when some glad-handing focus group schmuck pulls together a group of complete assholes in a middle America mall someplace to ask what they think should -happen. No slick CGI or neon-festooned streets of Hong Kong or callbacks to the yesteryear characters from the Godzilla periphery can save this dreck. Stoned folks will probably really feel it. Everyone else should just pop on 2016's Shin Godzilla to see how it's really done.

2

+This one cool shot from inside a jet

-Tedious; absurd but not in a fun way

Godzilla vs. Kong

Directed by Adam Wingard

With Godzilla, Kong, Brown, Henry and Dennison