Godzilla vs. Kong

Godzilla vs. Kong ★★★

This isn't how I wanted the MonsterVerse to go, but now that we're here I might as well enjoy it. I hoped for a dark new era of serious monster films, but audiences wanted Titan fights, and well, now they've got them. This is the direction the Toho films always went anyway, so perhaps its all as it's meant to be.

Godzilla vs. Kong doesn't have any of the social commentary of G14 or Skull Island, nor the pretense of it that KOTM had. This is a movie where Godzilla fights Kong because the title of the movie is Godzilla vs Kong, and if they didn't fight why make a movie called that.

This is a dumb movie. This is an insanely dumb movie so far removed from the rest of the franchise it's hard to process. Monarch is barely present, instead replaced largely by an evil Megacorp. There's much more advanced, sci-fi technology, and the world seems to have made leaps and bounds ahead of even the advanced tech of KOTM. KOTM was still somewhat recognizably our world, but GVK feels full sci-fi.

All the characters we liked from the original films are now dead, and the only people present are Kyle Chandler and Millie Bobby Brown's Mark and Madison Russell, who are just annoying as heck. The addition of Rebecca Hall and her deaf adopted daughter is more welcome, as they have some cute moments with Kong. The offscreen wiping out of all the Iwi people is less cute. Alexander Skarsgard gets paid to say his lines with enthusiasm, and does so far more amiably than Kyle Chandler does in this film or the last one.

In all these ways, GVK kind of operates on the same level as Bay's Transformers, back when it was gloriously loud and flashy and insanely nonsensical in the best way.

And truly, (and this is what matters to me), Godzilla vs. Kong is truly gorgeous and loud and flashy and AWESOME. Unlike King of the Monsters, which was very poorly photographed and choreographed, the fights and environments in Godzilla vs. Kong are luscious and gorgeous to look at. Adam Wingard has a terrific handle on how to do monster fights, which he choreographs likes a vicious, unrepentant bar brawl. Godzilla and Kong, and the movies other monsters just lay the hell into each other with unreserved anger. The throws, the bites, the punches and the grabs feel real, back up by superb sound design. Where Michael Dougherty stumbled and fell, and fell hard, Adam Wingard soars gloriously.

He's back up by great collaborators, with DP Ben Seresin (veteran of Bay and Tony Scott films) doing some of his best work, and Junkie XL (sorry Tom Holkenborg) providing a thumping score to amp up the action. Josh Schaeffer edits the action scenes with clarity and speed, using his skills obtained on three previous Kaiju films for WB. Regular Wingard production designer Tom Hammock teams up with Regular Wachowski production designer Owen Paterson to create some seriously striking environments and sets, a high point of the movie.

The dumb stuff in this movie is largely so dumb that it becomes laughably fun. There's two or three completely insane moments that are so hilariously over the top that I laughed out loud. Adam Wingard cranked everything to 11, which was the right decision given what he was handed by WB and Dougherty.

As a follow up to Godzilla 2014 and Kong: Skull Island, this movie is a big step down. There's no doubt there was unmet potential in this franchise. Yet as a follow-up to King of The Monsters, Godzilla vs. Kong is a definite improvement in almost every way. I can see why people are disappointed that this series has fallen from its potential. This could've been much more. But after KOTM, the MonsterVerse was in danger of being the next DECU, and I think Wingard has definitively rescued the series from that fate.

Blockbusters are back!

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