Godzilla vs Kong: A clash of pop culture giants that gives us everything that should be demanded of a giant monster movie

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The viewer akin to giant monster movies is absolutely right in the world if they decide to approach with caution and skepticism this new reincarnation of classic kaiju stories. The immediate precedents (that is, those produced by Legendary and that present plot continuity with this new battle) have not always shone at high altitude, perhaps with the only exception of the superb ‘Kong: Skull Island’.

Godzilla vs. Kong

‘Godzilla’ (2014) was almost an emotional drama with a giant monster in the background, very much in the style of the indie revelation that made its director famous, ‘Monsters’. The scale of his saurian and the overwhelming (but sparse) sequences of destruction, however, were memorable. ‘Kong: Skull Island’ (2017) was round, a film with multiple readings, almost an ‘Apocalypse Now’ with a giant monkey, and with an absolutely vibrant development of the action and characters. Its director, by the way, is now embarked on the adaptation of ‘Metal Gear Solid’.

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The most irregular of the three is the most recent, and most affine in terms of plot to this: ‘Godzilla: King of the monsters’ (2019) was a small mess, with undoubted successes derived from its impressive roster of monsters, but with the focus too much on the conflicts of humans, decidedly, very far from what interests the viewer of such a film. Luckily, this new ‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ orients the look more to ‘Skull Island’ than to the other films of the radioactive saurian.

This time, the action revolves around the search for the Hollow Earth, an almost mythical environment, located thousands of kilometers from the core of the planet, and believed to be the original habitat of monsters. Kong will be the unwitting guide of that journey, while Godzilla begins attacking humans for unknown reasons. The confrontation between the two giants is inevitable. He directs an Adam Wingard completely recovered from stumbles like ‘Death Note’.

Godzilla vs. Kong – Official Trailer
Video: Godzilla vs. Kong Official Trailer

Two shows and a destination: to be encouraged

‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’ made it clear that a movie of giant monsters tanning their backs could also fail if the perspective of what we have gone to the room was lost: an excess of humans and their mundane problems that often had nothing to do with giant creatures, or simply did not work (the whole conflict of Vera Farmiga was a disaster). All that is polished here by putting humans in the background, and not wasting time on conventions that we already take for granted.

For example, there is a girl who communicates with Kong. Inheriting the lessons of ‘Kong: Skull Island’ and its approach to the relationships of the ape with humans, here we already know the girl (who we do not know where she comes from) is a friend of Kong, and through her, the rest of the relationships are structured. There are no overexplains that we don’t need. That is the opposite of Millie Bobby Brown’s character in ‘King of the Monsters.’

Godzilla vs. Kong

But the important thing, the fights between giant monsters, is what really gives life to the film: superbly choreographed and edited, of an unusual intensity to be CGI animations, with blows that hurt thanks to the intelligent use of montage and sound, they are the best combats seen in a recent film in the series. They are also generous in duration, take fantastic advantage of the scenarios, and include surprises, such as monsters that have not been seen in the trailers and that we will not talk about here so as not to spoil. Let’s leave it at that the conflict between Kong and Godzilla takes on exhilarating nuances (and participants) in the final climax.

But in addition, the film has an absolutely captivating sense of wonder. In a twist that will certainly not be to the taste of the most accustomed viewers to the whole plot having a traditional verisimilitude, the film has a core that is a pure adventure: the scenario is changed to a fantasy where all a hint of credibility is lost, but which is raised with classic pulp literature as a reference. And also, Godzilla vs. Kong commits the audacity of not overexplaining anything, simply letting the viewer marvel at sets and sensational planning.

‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ is not perfect and is perhaps a step below ‘Skull Island’ because – once again, the eternal problem – its human characters are not as attractive as in that tremendous war holocaust. Millie Bobby Brown’s subplot is not too elaborate and there are plenty of additives, like her superficial father. They are secondary problems, however: ‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ is a dream for fans of kaiju eiga, and the perfect proof that the genre can still keep inventing and exciting.

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