The monster side of things is thriving more than ever
GODZILLA VS KONG (2021)
Godzilla vs Kong is the fourth installment in the ongoing MonsterVerse and deserves to be the proper finale to end it all on a high.
Every film in the MonsterVerse has been helmed by a new individual, and Adam Wingard is the first to successfully capture what a film with Godzilla and Kong in the title should look like. Unlike the past films in the series, Godzilla vs Kong is mostly bright with the crucial fight between the two titans taking place in Hong Kong, lit by neon skyscrapers. The action is expertly choreographed and everything involving the CGI setpieces really stand out as the best in the franchise thus far. Everything is easy to see, and nothing is hidden in the darkness like Michael Dougherty’s previous directing style. Wingard has made numerous cult hits, and with this being his first major blockbuster to hit the screen, it’s looking good for the future in terms of his directing capabilities - I mean I’m always down for a sequel to You’re Next or The Guest but continuing on the path from this may be the right way to go for him.
Let’s be honest. Did anyone think the plot for Godzilla vs Kong was going to be anything special? Because I for one didn’t, and I was instantly proven correct. The human characters showcase the same characteristics we’ve come to know of characters in big action movies like this: they’re bland, unrelatable, and not fun to follow. This statement can be pointed directly at the Transformers franchise as a prime example of this. The big CGI “monsters” are what makes a film in either series even watchable, and the humans are there just to be disposed of. For those curious, the plot follows a group of scientists as they plan to release Kong back to his “home,” Hollow Earth, where he will lead humanity to a power source like no other. As only one Titan can be allowed at one time, the most crucial obstacle the group of scientists must face on their way is Godzilla.
Let’s just be glad the action starts thirty minutes in to block out all the characters we choose not to care about. While not a good influence when it comes to his character writing, the studio made the right decision to bring back writer Max Broenstein to close out his series of Titan films in an epic way.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
Godzilla and Kong are clearly what we’re here to see in a film titled Godzilla vs Kong, and they deliver in spades. Every single scene when they’re together is an absolute masterpiece for monster fans, especially fans of the two creatures in their own right. Wingard has elevated everything we saw in the previous features and made it into what we all wanted, which is two monsters destroying a city while pummeling one another. Kong even has some character development which is a fantastic touch considering what we received in Skull Island in which Kong is just a genuine monster defending his land. Kong’s connection in Godzilla vs Kong with a little girl we are introduced to at the start is an unexpected delight to watch continuously flourish as they sign to one another to communicate.
To explain the characters better, I have to split them up into two groups: the group with Millie Bobby Brown’s Madison and the other with Kaylee Hottle’s Jia (AKA the little girl). Everything with Jia is tolerable; it’s typical human characters with backstabbing which leads to their ultimate demise, but it’s entertaining at the very least. Madison’s group is less so, and to be entirely honest, should have been cut from the film entirely. Similar to my thoughts in regards to King of Monsters, Brown can’t quite make the leap beyond her iconic character of Eleven. I didn’t care for her performance in the second Godzilla and I continue to stand with that opinion here. What’s so unfortunate about the human cast is just how jampacked it truly is: Alexander Skarsgård, Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry, Eiza González, and Julian Dennsion to name a few. But alas, they are only to be used as a filler mechanism to get from one action scene to the next.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
With more than half of the closing credits dedicated to the hard work of so many people that brought the tremendous visuals to life on our screen, it makes a lot of sense why the final product is so easy on the eyes. While the destruction Kong and Godzilla created across Hong Kong was rightfully catastrophic, it brought to my mind another significant cinematic fight that wound up destroying a portion of Metropolis, which when compared side by side, showcases the enormous amount of damage two Titans can cause across a cityscape. Everything is crisp, stylish, and exactly what fans of the two characters (plus a special surprise) will want to see - Wingard succeeds in bringing these two together for only the second time in cinematic history.
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
Composer Junkie XL (Zack Snyder’s Justice League) must have taken a few notes from Wingard’s filmography, because I could spot a lot of similarities as far as the overall tone. The score in Wingard’s other films typically simulate a retro, arcadic, and amped up final product, especially during action scenes. With Godzilla vs Kong, Junkie XL is ready to bring every scene to life through his music. When the action is amping up, the score makes you leap to the edge of your seat. It’s a film worthy of taking the time and precautions to see in the cinema, as the quality of the visuals and score here is incomparable - we’ve yet to have a monster film this epic and fun to experience.
While the humanity side of Godzilla vs Kong may be dead on arrival, the monster side of things is thriving more than ever. Accompanied by stunning visuals and incredibly choreographed carnage, this monster film is the best of the MonsterVerse so far, and if it were to conclude here, they’d be ending with a bang.