A movie like Godzilla vs. Kong isn’t about humans, it’s about giant monsters fighting each other — and yet, Godzilla vs. Kong is jam-packed with non-kaiju characters. Some of them are crucial to the plot, providing key information that makes more of those fights possible while others are, well, less crucial, as they appear with little to no consequence or just tag along for the ride.
What follows is a ranking of those characters (just the 11 “main” ones for brevity) based on their usefulness in the Adam Wingard film: from most useful to completely useless.
1. Jia played by Kaylee Hottle
Jia honestly doesn’t have a ton to do in the movie but her ability to communicate with Kong is absolutely essential to the plot and emotion of the film. Their connection gives the story a heart and though she doesn’t do a lot, it’s quality over quantity. The communication alone is by far the most useful thing anyone does in the film.
Godzilla vs. Kong has been out for nearly a week at this point, but even then, you were likely enough to have already gotten glimpses of the film’s “twist” well beforehand — and not through leaks, but in either keeping up with the film’s marketing or walking down a toy...Read more
2. Nathan Lind played by Alexander Skarsgård
Considering Nathan is the main character, it makes sense that he’s useful. But just how useful? Well, he wrote a book on Hollow Earth, explains gravitational inversion, and eventually leads the mission to get there. He also makes many suggestions that end up forwarding the plot, such as the ships playing dead to get rid of Godzilla, flying Kong to Antarctica, and getting Kong to enter Hollow Earth. Later he flies the ship out of Hollow Earth and sets a charge on Kong to wake him up. It’s in bits and pieces but, overall, he’s very useful — absurdly so, considering out of nowhere he goes from crackpot university professor no one wants to listen to at the start of the movie, to ultimate high-flying action hero by its climax.
3. Ilene Andrews played by Rebecca Hall
For a doctor, Ilene doesn’t really do much, but it’s still more than other characters in the film. As the Kong expert, she acts as his surrogate, agreeing to Nathan’s theories. As Jia’s guardian, she helps communicate some of her ideas. She also suggests the depth charges that save Kong in his first battle with Godzilla, explains that Kong’s ax is drawing energy from the core, and gives Nathan the idea to shock Kong at the end. Not completely essential, but useful.
4. Madison Russell played by Millie Bobby Brown
Madison’s main usefulness in the film is suggesting that Godzilla is mad because he’s being provoked somehow, and being obsessed with a conspiracy podcast. That’s it. She explains that early on then spends the rest of the movie trying to prove it. Which she does. Everything else she accomplishes, like finding the podcaster Bernie and tagging along with him to solve the mystery, only works so she’s in Hong Kong to be like “See? I was right.” It adds little else but it’s something.
Oh, Madison does have a superhuman ability to open doors in highly secure facilities with very little effort. Which helps.
This week, Godzilla vs. Kong stomped into theatres to pit two of cinema’s most beloved giant monsters against each other (while some very annoying humans get in the way). It’s not the first time they’ve fought of course — and likely not the last. But the first time these titans...Read more
6. Bernie Hayes played by Brian Tyree Henry
Bernie has been working at Apex for five years and podcasting about it secretly. However, it’s obvious nothing has really come of that because the film begins with him stealing files in his biggest mission yet. Those files give him the information about sub-level 33, and that something is being shipped to Hong Kong — it’s information that’s significant to the plot, but not super-crucial. He also points out that the Ghidorah head is like a supercomputer. However, his most useful moment is having the booze that’s used to short out Mechagodzilla — shutting off its connection to an orbiting satellite that somehow stops the now-sentient mecha — but he’s not the one who has that idea or physically does it.
6. Walter Simmons played by Demian Bichir
He’s the head of Apex and creates much of the technology in the film, such as the HEAV’s (which stands for Hollow Earth Aerial Vehicle, of course) and Mechagodzilla. He believes he doing those things so that humanity can become superior to Titans like Kong and Godzilla. That’s a key piece of the plot as it sets up the conflict but instead of getting his hands dirty, he mostly stands around and brags about it, only to be promptly killed when Mechagodzilla goes rogue. That makes him kind of important but kind of not, hence middle of the pack.
7. Ren Serizawa played by Shun Oguri
Ren is Apex’s Chief Technology Officer which means two things; One, he has a hologram that explains the magnetism around Hollow Earth, and later he connects to and pilots Mechagodzilla for about five seconds. However, he loses that power almost immediately, making him totally useless.
8. Josh Valentine played by Julian Dennison
Josh’s role is to do four things, only one of which is crucial: 1.) Provide the van for Madison to get to Bernie, 2.) Pay for the bribe to find Bernie, 3.) Points out “That’s Mechagodzilla” instead of “Robogodzilla” and, crucially, 4.) Pour Bernie’s booze on Mechagodzilla’s computer. For a person who is on screen so much, that’s not a lot of usefulness.
9. Maia Simmons played by Eiza Gonzalez
The first time we meet Maia, the daughter of Walter Simmons, she admits she’s “just there to babysit” on the trip to recover Kong and use him as a guideway to the Hollow Earth. Besides explaining that the HEAV’s are expensive, she basically sits around and reacts to stuff. Eventually, she tells her team to extract a sample of the Hollow Earth energy. That’s her big moment, and it’s carried out by a robot, not her. She then betrays everyone and is crushed by Kong. The fact she’s related to Walter adds nothing, and everything she does could’ve been done by someone else.
10. Guillermin played by Lance Reddick
Guillermin is so useless in Godzilla vs. Kong you probably wouldn’t remember he’s in the movie if it wasn’t Lance Goddamn Reddick. He doesn’t appear until an hour and 15 minutes in and explains that he gave the order to evacuate Hong Kong before the big battle. That sounds important but it’s not in terms of the overall plot. That’s it. That’s all he does.
11. Mark Russell played by Kyle Chandler
Mark is primarily in Godzilla vs. Kong to remind you there was a movie before this (Godzilla: King of the Monsters, in which he has a much more significant role) and to hypothetically add some tension to the fact he can’t find his daughter, Madison. Beyond that, we’re told he’s giving aid to people after the Florida attack that opens the film, but we don’t see it. He’s also in the room when we find out Godzilla is going to Hong Kong and he texts his daughter a few times. His big moment is hugging his daughter at the end after appearing in about three short scenes. He’s the most useless of the overall very useless humans in this movie.
Monster movies often ride or die by their over-the-top action. One can be willing to forgive failures elsewhere — many of them, even — as long as the bits where the monsters punch the bejesus out of each other are satisfying. But Godzilla vs Kong has a problem: its titanic...Read more