Godzilla vs. Kong – Film Review

The new Godzilla series, which began in 2014, or alternatively called the Monsterverse, has finally reached its conclusion with Godzilla vs. Kong. I attribute the absence of any post-credit scenes to the closure of the Monsterverse page after the four films. But who knows? Godzilla’s adversaries are never-ending. The studio has reached a new agreement with Adam Wingard. The doors may be closed, but the key is not yet thrown into the sea.

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After four films, it’s clear that the series has produced some incredibly entertaining, destruction-packed movies, all inspired by its rich history and lore. Yes, you could say they’re “destruction porn.” While “Skull Island” had a somewhat more dramatic structure, I believe that all the films featuring Godzilla delivered the action and destruction they promised to their audience. “Godzilla vs. Kong” officially puts the finishing touches on this destruction spectacle. Let me tell you about the sources of inspiration for this film and how we’ve come from there to here.

“But I can’t believe that Godzilla was the only surviving member of its species… But if we continue conducting nuclear tests, it’s possible that another Godzilla might appear somewhere in the world again.” – Kyohei Yamane, 1954 Godzilla.

Godzilla vs. Kong

But first, let’s take a brief look at the plot… Kong has been living unhappily in Monarch’s massive hologram laboratory ever since he was discovered. That is until the eccentric owner of Apex comes up with the idea of taking Kong to the legendary Hollow Earth. Just like in every superhero movie, the Monsterverse embarks on a quest to find an energy source that feeds our universe or world. To do this, they need to transport Kong to the Hollow Earth. Of course, Kong’s departure from the safe zone angers Godzilla, who believes Kong is his rival, and they reignite ancient battles.

I’ve always been a fan of Godzilla films. I particularly liked the new series because Godzilla is depicted as a titan who protects the world, not as a villain. The endless destruction, explosions, and colossal battles in these films satisfy those like me who go to the cinema thinking, “Let everything be destroyed and turned to ashes.” Additionally, the fact that Godzilla is nearly unstoppable is undoubtedly intriguing. That’s why when I heard he would face Kong, I was pretty surprised. Considering he managed to defeat Ghidorah, it would be absurd for him to lose to Kong. Director Adam Wingard, as in ’62, had stated that there would be a clear winner in this film. I never had any doubt about who the winner would be. The only thing that could beat Godzilla is a “created” being that doesn’t belong to this universe, which is precisely what MechaGodzilla is. Otherwise, no existing creature on Earth can defeat Godzilla.

This is the 36th film in the Monsterverse, with Godzilla appearing in all of them and Kong appearing in 12. Throughout this 36-film journey, our real king, Kong, and our main antagonist, Mechagodzilla, have met numerous times. In this film, Adam Wingard and WB have used this extensive collection wisely, producing a film that, in my opinion, is a pleasurable watch with successful editing. Now, let’s get into the universe and inspirations:

Hollow Earth, one of the main themes in the film, has been used for the first time in a Godzilla film. The concept was initially introduced in the 1973 production “Godzilla vs. Megalon.” At this point, I’d like to add a side note: in recent years, the Hollow Earth concept has become more common, and I hope that one day we’ll have the chance to see a more detailed presentation of it. It’s a topic deserving of exploration… The aircraft used to descend into Hollow Earth is also making its debut in the 1984 film “The Return of Godzilla.”

Now, before we delve further into Godzilla, let’s focus on Kong. The film opens with Kong taking a morning walk and then a morning bath, inspired by the 1976 Kong movie. The scene where Kong is transported by aircraft is also seen for the first time in the 1967 film “King Kong Escapes.” Kong’s act of opening a giant door when entering Hollow Earth is also not a novel concept; it was first seen in the 1933 film. Now, let’s talk about Kong’s charged battle axe. The fight between Kong and Godzilla in the heart of Hong Kong is truly spectacular. In particular, Kong’s technique of using the weapon elevates the excitement. The director’s use of an FPS approach adds depth to the battle. There’s one particular frame in this fight that I’m sure none of you missed. When Kong jams the handle of his axe into Godzilla’s throat as he’s about to shoot his hyperbeam, it’s both a visually striking move and manages to bring a hint of humor to the audience. This scene, of course, has occurred before. In the 1962 film “King Kong vs. Godzilla,” Kong uses a tree he found to attempt this tactic. This scene has become such a classic that if you search for a Kong GIF on any platform, it’s among the first results you’ll find.

Now, let’s move on to MechaGodzilla. Those who carefully watched the trailer already knew who the main villain of the film was. Personally, I wasn’t that observant; I had to ask to find out. Yes, MechaGodzilla doesn’t become a rival to Godzilla for the first time. They’ve faced each other multiple times before, constantly clashing their atomic breaths. An exciting detail: MechaGodzilla wins the atomic breath clash in each of their confrontations, including in this film. The idea of MechaGodzilla taking control of Mechagodzilla has also been explored before in the 2002 film “Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla.”

So, amid all these inspirations from past films, has there been anything truly “new” in this one? Of course, there has. Kong fights against MechaGodzilla for the first time in cinematic history. Thanks to his trusty +7 battle axe, he comes out victorious. After suffering a heavy defeat at the hands of Godzilla, Kong saves face by defeating Mechagodzilla and stands tall, declaring that even in the face of defeat against Godzilla, he will keep fighting. This was one of my favorite parts of the film. The scene where Kong rises to his feet at the end picks up his weapon, and gets ready to defend himself. It really tugged at my heart.

Godzilla vs. Kong

Up to this point, I have detailed how much the film benefited from its own canon. I would like to devote this paragraph to addressing a logical fallacy that has occupied many people’s minds, and I feel compelled to provide an answer since it piqued my interest. With the proliferation of VFX, viewers have increasingly grown uncomfortable with the idea that the visuals are entirely synthetic. Although in some films, visual effects can be glaringly apparent, in “Godzilla vs. Kong,” the effects are truly top-notch and do not feel out of place. Furthermore, it is important to remember that for a film like “Godzilla,” which revolves around the spectacle of an ancient dinosaur battling a colossal ape, being entirely reliant on VFX is rather par for the course. Despite this, the filmmakers have made a concerted effort to keep the film within the bounds of logical consistency.

For example, one aspect of the film that has perplexed the audience the most is the battle between Godzilla and Kong on the Aircraft Carrier. Most viewers assumed that the carrier wouldn’t be able to support both of them, especially considering the visual cues from the film’s promotional material. However, what the audience may not realize is that an Aircraft Carrier is more than capable of comfortably carrying both of them. The ship they engage in battle on is actually slightly shorter than the Empire State Building, one of the tallest skyscrapers globally. Aircraft Carriers can stretch up to 360 meters in length, which is as long as the buildings that Godzilla and Kong demolished in Hong Kong. To add one final detail before concluding this paragraph: the tallest building in Hong Kong stands at 484 meters.

In summary… the one aspect in which “Godzilla vs. Kong” falls short is its duration. In my opinion, it should have been about half an hour longer. Director Adam Wingard has mentioned that he had material for a five-hour film but will not be pursuing a Director’s Cut. Apart from this, the film provides everything in terms of action. As someone who has had the opportunity to watch the first two films on the grand cinema screen, watching the final film at home left me somewhat disheartened. The screen you watch the film on significantly influences your level of engagement. Despite having a superb pair of headphones that mimic the IMAX sound system, it doesn’t quite capture the experience of watching it on a larger screen. Nevertheless, I am quite content with the film I viewed. It delivered on everything it promised. Now, it’s time to rewatch the entire series from the beginning.

Cast & Crew

director: Adam Wingard

writers: Terry Rossio, Michael Dougherty, Eric Pearson, Max Borenstein, Zach Shields

starring: Alexander Skarsgård, Millie Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry, Shun Oguri, Eiza González, Julian Dennison, Lance Reddick, Kyle Chandler

USA | 2023 | 114 MINUTES |

valeriiege

Ukrainian Creative Director | Motion Picture Writer | Horror Freak

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