Godzilla vs Kong 2021 lt;emgt;Godzilla vs. Konglt;/emgt;. Monster Smackdown
Godzilla vs Kong Godzilla vs Kong Kong</em>: Smackdown <em>Godzilla vs. Monster
Wed, 31 Mar 2021 08:00:00 -0700
I have to say, this current series of Hollywood movies about Godzilla feels like the wrong kind of throwback
Taken as a whole, the 2014 reboot, the 2019
Godzilla and Kong journey to the center of the Earth in this blockbuster.
I have to say, this current series of Hollywood movies about Godzilla feels like the wrong kind of throwback.
Taken as a whole, the 2014 reboot, the 2019 Godzilla: King of Monsters, and now Godzilla vs.
Kong remind me of nothing so much as Michael Bay’s Transformers movies from the 2000s: big, personality-free blockbusters where all the attention is lavished on the CGI characters, while A-list actors are thrown willy-nilly without regard for whatever human qualities they bring to the project.
At least we’re spared Bay’s slavering over the asses of his lead actresses.
Even so, I thought we were past this.
The Marvel Comics adaptations have served as an object lesson in delivering action on an epic scale while also giving the actors things like character arcs that they can play when they’re not in their superhero costumes.
Somehow, the other studios seem reluctant to learn this.
(And don’t email me about the Snyder cut of Justice League.
I can’t work up the interest.) If you’re coming to Godzilla vs.
Kong for the monster-on-monster fight scenes, the movie delivers on that.
Three films in, though, you’d think they’d be trying for more.
The film begins, wittily enough, with King Kong waking up in the morning to the retro sound of Bobby Vinton singing “Over the Mountain, Across the Sea.” (I would have picked “Mr.
Lonely” myself.) It seems like a normal day on Skull Island, only scientists have clapped a biosphere dome over the place to keep the big ape from escaping, and he ain’t happy about it.
That changes when Godzilla does a heel turn and launches a seemingly unprovoked attack on Pensacola, Florida.
A villainous tech CEO (Demián Bichir) approaches Dr.
Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgård), who shares the billionaire’s belief that the Earth is hollow.
They speculate that King Kong comes from that subterranean space, and if they can escort him back there, this will stop Godzilla for, uh, some reason.
Anyway, Lind convinces Kong’s biologist keeper (Rebecca Hall) to go along with this.
Just as important is her adopted deaf Inuit daughter (Kaylee Hottle), who is the only person who can communicate with Kong.
I mean, this is a lot of plot for a movie about monsters bashing each other in the face, and I haven’t even gotten to Madison Russell (Millie Bobby Brown) from the previous Godzilla film falling in with a conspiracy theorist (Brian Tyree Henry) who’s keeping tabs on the CEO.
How scared are we supposed to be of a tech conglomerate that has no idea that one of its own employees is running a podcast on its misdeeds? These nerds are bad at their jobs.
So are the military, which at least is in keeping with the rest of the movies in this series.
All the humans’ efforts would fall apart if it weren’t for that little girl, whose presence really should be intolerably cutesy here.
Instead, it leads to a couple of cool bits when she walks into an extremely loud environment and the soundtrack goes silent to reflect what she hears.
These bits are courtesy of director Adam Wingard, the talented director who joins the series after having excelled with small-scale thrillers You’re Next and The Guest.
He adapts to this big canvas without any strain, though also without the sense of humor that distinguished some of his previous efforts.
He’s best with the parts that the movie’s audience have likely come for: the fight sequences between the two monsters (plus a third from the original Japanese series that makes a surprise appearance here).
The fight choreography is easy to follow, and we’re given a sense of where the combatants are in relation to their surroundings, whether it’s Godzilla’s attack on Kong as a navy flotilla is towing him to Antarctica or the climactic smackdown over Hong Kong.
Wingard is better than Michael Bay at staging fights between giants.
Faint praise, but there it is.
Godzilla vs Kong Godzilla vs Kong
Wed, 31 Mar 2021 08:00:00 -0700
'Godzilla vs Kong' makes good on its title's promise, but a bizarre surrounding plot almost drags the creature feature down
As a critic, I often have reviews I wish I could go back and rewrite.
One such review is my take on Godzilla: King of the Monsters.
At the time, I praised its visuals while thrashing its human characters as one-dimensional archetypes.
But as time goes on, those archetypes have grown on me, and King of the Monsters has come into focus as something of the ultimate modern blockbuster; an audacious flick that brings the monster fights and tells an ambitious story behind it. Godzilla vs Kong features no such ambition.
Director Adam Wingard became somewhat of a darling in the horror scene with his films You’re Next and The Guest.
However, following those films he starting tackling projects exclusively based on known IP.
Blair Witch and Death Note received mixed responses, but at least retained a bit of Wingard’s signature style.
For Godzilla vs Kong, he’s exclusively in director for hire mode, which isn’t entirely a bad thing.
Wingard, and Godzilla vs Kong as a whole, knows how to stage a competent fight.
That’s what the majority of the audience is here for, after all.
When the two titans go head-to-head, it’s fun as hell.
The measured, opposable thumb stylings of Kong versus the ancient atomic rage of Godzilla make for the kind of fights you want to see on the big screen.
Backed by a Tom Holkenborg score (’nuff said) and shot beautifully by Ben Seresin, in these moments Godzilla vs Kong delivers what the title promised.
The thing is that those fights a very small fraction of what Godzilla vs Kong actually is.
At its core, Wingard’s film is a shlocky science fiction film more interested in exploring the concept of a “Hollow Earth” than it is in the kaiju at the heart of it.
Eric Pearson and Max Borenstein’s script plays more like Independence Day or Stargate than it does anything to come out of Toho.
I love big, crazy sci-fi ideas, and Godzilla vs Kong has them in spades.
Yet it does so at the expense of the titular components.
Kong is the monster protagonist of Godzilla vs Kong.
A fine idea, one supposes, since he is the more humanoid of the bunch.
Regrettably, the other half of the duo is left completely in the dust.
With minimal screen time other than the fights, Godzilla is a one-dimensional villain.
Why is he after Kong? We barely get an explanation, and when we do it’s not a particularly good one.
This is a critical failure of the film, as the investment in the matchup could lead to it landing more.
Instead, Kong is used as a component to explore ancient energy sources and other technobabble, with the Godzilla vs.
Kong fights there to break things up.
It really is baffling that this is the story they chose to tell, especially when both Kong: Skull Island and Godzilla: King of the Monsters established such rich lore for them to play with.
Only the former gets more than a cursory mention because it fuels the bizarre Hollow Earth story that the filmmakers really wanted to tell.
And now, we get to the part where we talk about the human characters.
Brian Tyree Henry and Julian Dennison are the only two truly memorable characters here, as a conspiracy theorist and a bumbling young nerd, respectively.
Millie Bobby Brown gets a ton of screentime with minimal impact and the rest of the supporting cast, including the returning Kyle Chandler and newcomer Rebecca Hall, are non-entities throughout.
Alexander Skarsgard, who I’m pretty sure is supposed to be the human protagonist, has nary a distinguishing quality to him.
What Godzilla vs Kong reeks of is obligation.
It’s the type of movie that had to happen within the Monsterverse at some point, but the creatives behind this didn’t have their hearts in that so used the project as their own odd sci-fi pet project.
Hence why when the two do fight, it just kind of happens.
Still, I can’t lie to myself or the readers: I did have fun watching Godzilla vs.
It’s loud and dumb, but it’s a diverting blockbuster all the same.
Although I hold out hope for a Monsterverse film with the same ambition as King of the Monsters, this movie gives audiences a giant lizard and ape fighting.
Maybe that’s what we need right now.
– James Preston Poole
Kong is now in theaters and streaming on HBO Max.
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– March 31, 2021
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