TThe last two months of raging meme-spawning ridiculous targeting the absurdity of Godzilla vs Kong’s very existence had set us all up for an auction rather than an actual movie, something to poke fun at rather than amuse ourselves. It wasn’t just his inherent Happy Meal stupidity, but also an awareness of what had happened before, a young Warner Brothers cinematic universe built precariously on shoddy foundations. Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla 2014 might have boasted a couple of visually bold sequences, but it was mostly an unacceptably boring and disconcertingly serious reboot. It was at least cohesive, something that Michael Dougherty’s noisy 2018 sequel Godzilla: King of the Monsters couldn’t even handle, an unwieldy mess that was embarrassingly outweighed by a crafty marketing campaign.
Between the two, there was more to recommend in Jordan Vogt-Roberts’ Kong: Skull Island in 2017, which was uneven but mostly quite entertaining and surprisingly off-putting, bolstered by a sharper awareness of the tone that a B-movie like. is. at least a little work. The movies had tried to lay the groundwork for an interconnected world of crushing monsters from cities controlled by Monarch, a shadow scientific organization, but the cork board’s intricate connection of dots took us further away from the good: watching giant creatures destroy things. The commercial failure of Godzilla: King of the Monsters, a film that barely covered its budget and worldwide marketing costs, was certainly enough to make Warner guess its expensive and outlandish MonsterVerse, especially after a bullish decision to shoot. Godzilla vs Kong before its predecessor. it has even been released.
Tea leaves did not offer much hope, further clouded by the pandemic, a movie designed for the largest possible screen that is modestly displayed for many of us at home (in the US it will be available on HBO Max and in theaters). and in the UK it is a premium rental). But perhaps this unlikely underdog positioning has finally come to the rescue of Godzilla vs Kong because what was initially seen as a bloated and unwanted boardroom product has now become a small competitor, fighting its way from far too long. below sea level to the surface, triumphantly. landing on both feet, the surprising spring surprise neither of us had expected.
After the overloaded and subscribed jumble of Godzilla: King of the Monsters, which ties directly into the plot here, it’s a treat to see horror director Adam Wingard’s more confident hand leap over any similarly soapy setting (he quickly realizes that he just we give the slightest curse on humans) and jump right into action, which then barely gives in for the next nearly two hours of runtime. Not that Godzilla vs Kong isn’t too crowded, but overall it’s a more graceful beast, hopping from plot thread to plot thread with speed and agility, a proudly defined B-movie that chooses silliness over weird serious pretentiousness. . that smothered the Godzillas that came before. The plot is, of course, just a frenzied way of justifying why the two titans would come to blows (both had been positioned as protectors of humanity in previous films) and their issue stems from a mysterious threat that is somehow related to Apex Industries. , a company whose headquarters is attacked by a previously inactive Godzilla in the first act. His destructive reappearance leads to worldwide concern that he may now be more of an enemy than a friend, so Kong, who lives in a controlled tech simulation inside Skull Island, is recruited to help lead a group of humans on a dive. deep in the core of the Earth. , the details of which are too silly to go into and also less interesting than the main question most readers will have: what are those fight scenes like?
While the deceptively gorgeous trailers for Godzilla: King of the Monsters showcased immersive action movie and overwhelming surreal beauty, the movie itself featured confusing choreography, ugly editing, and an inability to turn a single stunning image into a sequence. of note. Despite the inexperience of the genre, You’re Next and Death Note director Wingard quickly grasps the mechanics of the action much faster and with each of the many, many pieces to come, he can keep us grounded while we are. amidst the chaos, allowing us to continue and feel part of the manic crushes and crashes (something the first Pacific Rim struggled to do as well). Highly publicized battles deliver the dizzying thrills we demand, but in times when the couple is not at war, there is also an astonishingly well-built and extensive universe to explore and one that has hardly been teased in the trailers we’ve seen. . Journey to the Core of the Earth is a movie unto itself and while the visual touches come from the Star Wars and Tron franchises, the whole thing is so remarkably beautiful it’s hard to complain.
Humans are obviously of minimal importance (the ending in particular is astonishingly insensitive in its destruction of an entire city and its inhabitants) but the script, from Marvel writer Eric Pearson and MonsterVerse stalwart Max Borenstein, primarily uses the set of the movie. well, they propel things without dragging them down. There is no time for romance between Rebecca Hall’s anthropological linguist and Alexander Skarsgård’s geologist or between teenage Godzilla fanatic Millie Bobby Brown and her friend Julian Dennison, and although Brian Tyree Henry’s conspiracy theorist podcaster receives comedic prop, it’s relaxed enough not to be annoying. . The most shocking human character is played by deaf actress Kaylee Hottle, playing a young girl who shares a bond with Kong, whose scenes come closest to giving the film some kind of heart.
But ultimately it works best when operating on the largest scale imaginable and while there is a bittersweet tinge to those of us who watch it at home, it already serves as a reminder why the big screen experience never will disappear. This past week, set a world box office record for a film released during the pandemic (in many territories where movie going has returned to a semblance of normalcy, it is getting a standard theatrical release), a welcome boost for an industry suffering from an existential crisis. So while, yes, Hollywood and Warner Brothers may end up being the biggest winners in the Godzilla vs Kong battle, it’s a real surprise to report that we as viewers came out the victors too. The last laugh will be a roar.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism