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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Movie Review: Classic monsters revive their film rivalry

After a surprise attack by Godzilla, Kong fights for his life while sedated aboard a military carrier. The two haven’t faced off since since the 1962 film “King Kong vs. Godzilla.” Photos courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Logan Evans
campus editor/photographer

King Kong leaps toward Godzilla from the top of a skyscraper, snarling, drowned in neon light. He holds above his head a glowing axe built from the scale of an ancient Godzilla. As Kong brings the weapon smashing down, Godzilla spits a ray of blue nuclear energy at him. Buildings crumble around them. 

This is why we come to a movie called “Godzilla vs. Kong.” 

The fourth film in Legendary’s series of Kaiju movies dubbed “The MonsterVerse,” “Godzilla vs. Kong” is the highest-grossing film of the pandemic, according to IGN, and a good fit to signify a possible return for movie theaters; it’s unabashed, big-screen, blockbuster fun. 

The most crucial element this kind of movie needs to get right is the fight scenes, and here, they excel.

Director Adam Wingard and writers Eric Pearson and Max Borenstein have created locations, set-pieces and scenarios for the two monsters to showcase their strengths and weaknesses in creative ways. From an at-sea battle on a military aircraft carrier to a nighttime fight in neon-lit Hong Kong, nothing feels played-out, which is notable when there have been over 40 films featuring the two characters since each of their inceptions. 

A few set-pieces even shine outside of the fighting, specifically when the film treads into the fantasy element of Kong’s world. The “hollow earth theory,” which has been referenced in past films, is fully explored here, and the result is the most engaging portion of the film.

Much of the action is propelled by its dynamic visuals. Kong and Godzilla are often shot from angles a camera could realistically be mounted from, which creates a grounded quality that makes action scenes feel more tangible. 

Skull Island native Jia, played by Kaylee Hottle, presents Kong with a makeshift doll
of himself. Jia is the last surviving member of her tribe.

There isn’t much to talk about in terms of the plot here. 

Almost every story beat and character motivation is specifically designed to direct an angry Kong and an angry Godzilla to the same place at the same time, usually with scores of helpless people around. 

As a result, most of the characters in the film are flat or hollow. It’s been a decades-long complaint that Kaiju movies lack compelling characters, and while that trope still mostly rings true here, Kong himself is actually given a fully realized character arc. A bond between him and a small native girl from Skull Island provides a strong emotional through-line. 

“Godzilla vs. Kong” isn’t reinventing the wheel. 

It’s not turning monster movies tropes on their heads or searching for a deeper meaning. It’s a movie about two 500-foot monsters punching each other. 

But after a year without big movies, that might be just what people need.

godzilla v kong by Universal
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