Saturday, April 3, 2021

Stubs - Godzilla vs. Kong (2021)

Godzilla vs. Kong (2021) Starring: Alexander Skarsgård, Millie Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry, Shun Oguri, Eiza González, Julian Dennison, Lance Reddick, Kyle Chandler, Demián Bichir Directed by Adam Wingard. Screenplay by Eric Pearson, Max Borenstein. Based on Godzilla and Mechagodzilla by Toho, and King Kong by Edgar Wallace, Merian C. Cooper. Produced by Thomas Tull, Jon Jashni, Brian Rogers, Mary Parent, Alex Garcia, Eric McLeod. Run time: 113 minutes. USA Color Monster. Kaiju.

The rematch we’ve been waiting for nearly sixty years, since King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962), is finally upon us. Coming at the precise moment theaters around the nation were finally opening up, if Godzilla vs. Kong is a success it would be attributable to pent up frustration built up after a year of lockdown rather than the quality of the film itself. I will admit that I did not see this film in a theater, as no film is worth the risk of catching a deadly virus, however, if you do after reading this review, try to see it on the biggest screen you can.

The film, the fourth and last in the series that began with Godzilla (2014), made a stop at Kong: Skull Island (2017) before the excruciating Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019), finally comes to a conclusion with a battle between the two surviving titans that hold the balance of the world in their hands or paws or claws or whatever you want to call them.

Team Godzilla (Julian Dennison as Josh Valentine, Millie Bobby Brown
 as Madison Russell and Brian Tyree Henry as Bernie Hayes).

The world seems to have divided itself between Team Godzilla (Millie Bobby Brown as Madison Russell, Brian Tyree Henry as Bernie Hayes, Julian Dennison as Josh Valentine and Kyle Chandler as Dr. Mark Russell) and Team Kong (Alexander Skarsgård as Dr. Nathan Lind, Rebecca Hall as Dr. Ilene Andrews, and Kaylee Hottle as Jia), each rooting for their chosen titan champion. All roads or tunnels lead to Hong Kong where the final battle takes place.

Team Kong (Rebecca Hall as Dr. Ilene Andrews and Kaylee Hottle as Jia).

Let’s begin with what the film does well, as that won’t take long. The battle scenes are really spectacular (remember the biggest screen advice) and, as opposed to its predecessor film, easy to watch. Rather than the dark canvas of King of the Monsters, which made some of the battles hard to enjoy, the fights here take place in bright light and the action is easier to follow. There is a lot of CGI on the screen and it is done very well. Sadly, that is the only thing the film does do well and even the ultimate fight isn't decisive like it is hoping for a rematch, even though this is supposed to be the end of the series.

The fights are big and well done.

While films require you to suspend your disbelief, this Godzilla vs. Kong requires you to leave your brain at the door. The pseudo-science is as deep as it is stupid, sounding more like conspiracy theory nonsense than anything remotely resembling reality. The Hollow Earth theory, first introduced in Skull Island, gets a real workout in this film and leads us down the rabbit hole, literally.

The film is Spielbergian, and I don’t mean that as a compliment, that the story revolves around children. Millie Bobby Brown returns as Maddie, who is now the overly inquisitive teenager fighting for Godzilla. On the other side is Kaylee Hottle as Jia, the deaf-mute child, the last of the Iwi tribe, who is the only one who can really commune with Kong.

The acting is okay but when the lines of dialogue and the action are as dumb as this it is hard to be too complimentary of anyone. Summer blockbusters, which this was designed to be, tend to favor action over everything else and Godzilla vs. Kong is not out to break the mold.

The story seems to be based on a real lack of security at several multi-billion-dollar facilities, as that’s the only way many of the film’s plot points are revealed. You get the feeling that if there was one guard posted outside a door, there wouldn’t be a movie.

If you like your films big and stupid, then this is the one for you. Your mind will be blown by the visual effects and you won’t need it for the rest of the film.

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