Someone finally gets how to make a dumb monster movie. The level of balance Director Adam Wingard brings to the human and beast level is an impressive herculean task. As a kid, I was a giant monster movie fan. I’d buy every Godzilla action figure in Toys R Us, then head to my local Blockbuster video to watch Godzy punch it out with his weekly opponent. I didn’t care about the humans in the story. My brain was too undeveloped at that stage in childhood to comprehend the plot; I just wanted smashy smash. As time went on, I began to ditch all my Godzilla toys since I embraced some more artsy-fartsy films, then I got hooked on the commercial stuff for a while. Now I like both. During that period, I discovered the Japanese successor to 1933’s King Kong, Gojira, a delicate drama that surpassed its category. As an adult, I wasn’t fond of monster movies anymore. Godzilla vs. King Kong made me feel like that kid again.
Here’s where the first two films on Godzilla’s end didn’t work. They pretend to be something they’re not. Mirroring Kubrick with Ligeti’s Requiem is incredibly compelling for a trailer. Why snatch my hope away with a movie that’s just going to be another dumb monster movie in the end? I’m usually impartial with King Kong. The most of him I was ever invested in was Peter Jackson’s overlooked remake. But at least Kong: Skull Island knew what it was way more than America did with Godzilla since the 90s. Its only downside was its human characters dragging on the length. My dear lord Wingard has done it. He made me care about the stupid human characters.
The human characters aren’t entirely incredible. I wouldn’t imagine an action figure of Millie Bobbie Brown or Brian Tyree Henry’s characters being sold anytime soon. Still, they’re engaging enough to push the film through rather than being time fillers. Most of them are engaging enough. Brian Tyree Henry plays Bernie, a scientist who stumbled across something he wasn’t supposed to at his job and has tried to tell everyone about his discovery ever since. The thing I liked about his character was him not being the archetypical funny black guy. Until later in the film where he starts doing secret handshakes and bumbling around yelling jive comments. I don’t know if that was a creative decision or one the studio made. It seems like his character changed midway through the film. Although not an engaging character Millie Bobby Brown’s-Madison Russel returns from Godzilla: King of The Monsters, a film I have hardly any recollection of other than the girl from Stranger Things being in it. I enjoyed a familiar face nonetheless. It’s a lot like a horror movie sequel type of character coming back, which is the level of engagement I had with this cast. They’re B movie characters made within an A-movie budget, with A-level actors. A good Roland Emerich film for the 21st century.
We have our B movie characters, a brilliant science woman (Rebecca Hall). Then the quirky girl that hangs out with her nerdy fat friend (Julian Dennison), who understands her. The ignored scientist who’s given a second chance (Alexander Skarsgård) and a slick CEO (Demián Bichir) The intersecting journeys are engaging enough to an extent where I was curious to see where their paths led. Be warned; this film has its own cute Baby Yoda secret weapon. Careful studios, use it sparingly, or its power will lead to your franchise’s demise. When the fists finally start flying, I wasn’t watching my phone for the time in I don’t know how long during a beast fight. That’s hard to do.
Now to the juicy stuff. How’s the big bout? It kicks mega ass. The camera is placed in the right spots for the right hits. One angle I can’t help but get out of my head I hope becomes a 4-second shot that I can see on YouTube on a 10-hour repeat. There’s a level of affection I’m supposed to feel for King Kong that I just can’t when he’s using buildings as destructible back cushions and drinking the blood of decapitated dinosaurs like it’s Gatorade. A moment in which even the characters in the movie acknowledge is excessive, which made me shout like a gorilla, “then why are you putting it in the film?!” If you’re offended by the lack of human casualties, then you don’t understand monster movies. People are ants to be stomped on other than the main cast. They’re not tone deaf like Man of Steel King Kong was a monster movie made for kids that had a heart. Gojira was a film made for adults containing a heart. One whimsical, the other cynical. The popularity of the two created mascots who, in 2021, duel to in a match be equaled for years.
Do you agree with my rating or not? Discuss why (and respectfully)