So as I sat in the extremely socially distanced theater, masks on, with about 15 other people, I couldn’t help but feel grateful and even a bit emotional about the whole thing, for a while it felt like this day would not come, at least not any time soon, and honestly as I said before, I still personally am not ready to return to normal screenings just yet but hopefully with some luck and a couple of shots in the near future, I can start looking forward to just that. So as the lights dimmed and the film began to play, the surrealness that I was about to actually watch a new movie in a theater, and have it be something I was extremely hyped to watch just took a minute to process and accept that this was happening and I couldn’t have been more thrilled to return to the Monsterverse.
Director Adam Wingard is up to the task of delivering a follow up that is as eye catching as it is exhilarating. The Godzilla and Kong set pieces are obviously the main attraction and they deliver. Godzilla’s slightly updated look is the best his Monsterverse design has looked. He is a force to be reckoned with and as a Godzilla fan I couldn’t help but smile every time he appeared on screen. Kong while larger this time around as years have passed since his last appearance (in films time) is pretty much his same look from the Skull Island film but he is just as endearing here as he was there as well, and even though I’m Team Godzilla forever, you can’t help but like and empathize with Kong too. There is a lot of crazy and weird stuff going on in the film that I did not expect and it takes some heavy turns into straight up sci fi and some of it is really cool and some of it just is just nonsensical enough to make you ignore any lapse in logic or explanations and just go with the flow because the movie IS that fun. If there are any flaws it is that once again just as in King of the Monsters, the human element is the weak link. Some of the characters in the film are just too cartoonish and some of the situations we find them in require too much suspension of disbelief and can take you out of things now and again. There are honestly 3 characters who have their own story line that I honestly felt could have been completely removed from the film and it would have strengthened things a bit and removed a lot of the eye rolling issues I had with things. These characters are there for some exposition and as an audience surrogate into the new world of the tech company known as Apex. I just felt like this could have been handled directly by using the characters who work for Apex, instead of someone who is curious about their motives. Alas, despite a few leaps in logic headscratching character decisions and some semi confusing sci fi stuff that is never fully explained, the film was honestly just a great time at the theater and for fans of these two titular characters, it provides many moments to geek out to.
The Monsterverse series of films had what is in my opinion a great start with 2014’s Godzilla. As a life long Godzilla fan, I absolutely love that film and how seriously it approached the subject matter and it’s star creature. I loved the direction, the score and how it brought Godzilla back in a big way. We were then introduced to King Kong’s corner of the Monsterverse in 2017’s Kong: Skull Island. A vibrant and exciting interpretation of the classic ape story that combined top notch action with striking visuals and a solid story while providing us with a great new take on the giant ape’s story. These were both solid ground to build a cinematic universe on. Unfortunately in my opinion that solid ground became very shaky with the disappointing Godzilla: King of the Monsters. It pains me to say that about a film that I was truly excited for, however the human element in that film mixed with the ridiculous lapses in logic and plot from many of the films scenarios just really did not sit well with me and left me feeling lukewarm, wondering what COULD have been had it been treated the same serious way the previous films were. It was this disappointing installment that made me very apprehensive about Godzilla vs King Kong. Would it take us back to the serious and classy nature of Godzilla 2014? The vibrant energy of Skull Island or would it follow in the footsteps of King of the Monsters. After seeing the film I can safely say that for better or worse say it really is a combination of all 3 Monsterverse films but manages to carve out it’s own lane as well and THAT is for the better.
Wingard has crafted a very lush, stylish and visceral entry into the Monsterverse and it did not disappoint me. (For the most part that is, but we really gotta work on the human element guys) . It’s beautiful to look at and is filled with action and set pieces that are orchestrated to put you dead center in the battle between these two iconic characters. Godzilla and Kong have stood the test of time for a reason, its been 60 some odd years since they shared the screen and I am pleased to say that while not perfect, Godzilla vs Kong provided me 2 hours worth of enjoyment, solace and just honestly moments of pure geek glee and these days that is something to celebrate. Sadly due to the ongoing pandemic. I can’t in good conscious, tell anyone to go to the theater to see the film, that is a personal decision we all have to make these days for ourselves. I can say it is a film that even though I was very skeptical of what its quality would end up being, I ended up really having a blast with it. if you do choose going to the theater to watch it, you’ll be rewarded with a film that just illustrates why the theater experience overall is still valuable and always will be the best way to watch a film of this nature. If you decide you aren’t ready to return to theaters yet, you’ll still have a great time watching it at home. Perhaps it’s the rose colored glasses I watched it through, being the first big screen movie I have seen in 13 months, but I truly feel like this is the first big blockbuster in the pandemic era that is truly deserving of your time and even your money, because it delivers on it’s promise and it will undoubtedly at some point make you smile, and right now I think we can all use a little bit of that in our lives.
Also Kong and Godzilla don’t have mothers with the same name.