The hugely enjoyable second entry doesn’t lift the franchise to new artistic heights, a la The Empire Strikes Back, but Part II is every bit as good and scary as its predecessor, and the characters, especially the kids, go to deeper and braver places.
Despite being a She-Hulk who’s seemingly impervious to physical pain, Jolie turns in her best performance in a while — arguably in over a decade. She’s relaxed, determined and maternal here, and connects well with Little, who is a big talent.
Crystal, for what it’s worth, stays genuine through the increasingly viscous plot. He still has that warmth beneath his zingers that you don’t find in the frigid comedians of today. Nonetheless, we resent his movie’s aggressive efforts to force us into crying with strained, untruthful moments by the bucketful.
Harp’s mix of old-school masculinity, love of animals and innate paternal instincts suits Elba perfectly. And unlike Nomadland, which also brought together real citizens with a Hollywood star (Frances McDormand), Elba fits easily and naturally into this group and their environment. It’s like a rider meeting the perfect horse.
This time, ‘Zilla and Kong face off in ginormous Hong Kong — a destruction junkie’s dream battlefield. Neon, chrome and oversize animals clobbering each other. Also around is another adversary whose reveal will have fans drooling. See Godzilla vs. Kong on the big screen if you can.