God Against King

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Chris Shields, Head Editor

Back in 2014, mankind witnessed an ancient terrestrial force of nature combat reality-threatening gargantuan organisms to restore balance to planet Earth and preserve life as we know it in Gareth Edwards’s reboot Godzilla. In 2017, we were thrown back into the year 1973 as a rag-tag band of soldiers, scientists, and thrill-seekers experience a near-fatal close encounter with one of Earth’s most ferocious and powerful predators in Jordan Vogt-Roberts’s Kong: Skull Island. We watched in 2019 as our faithful protector Godzilla made a re-emergence to secure his title as King by proving his dominance over demons, giant insects, invasive prehistoric aliens, and a variety of other larger-than-life monstrosities in Godzilla: King of the Monsters 

Since the film’s confirmation in 2015, anticipation for Godzilla vs. Kong has been remarkably high. Like other movies in the past year, it was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, it recently debuted in theaters and on HBO Max. 

This film takes place following Godzilla’s defeat of King Ghidorah in Godzilla: King of the Monsters and 48 years after the Monarch expeditioners discovered Kong on Skull Island. These two films taught audiences about the Titans that inhabit our Earth, and how they interact with one another. Since we last saw Kong, he has been taken under the care of Monarch and now lives in a protected dome. Skull Island is deteriorating, and in this dome, he is nurtured and shielded from Godzilla, who would go berserk and assert his dominance over the other “alpha Titan” if he knew of his existence. 

Unfortunately, Godzilla already senses Kong’s presence and has begun a string of seemingly random attacks against mankind. Kong is also not happy about his captivity and has started taking action against his holding facility. The only person capable of soothing the ape is Jia, a deaf child and the last of the Iwi people, who teaches Kong love, compassion, empathy, and the ability to communicate via sign language. What follows is an action-packed, dramatic, exciting, and engaging visual experience that ventures into the unknown, uncovers mysteries, and captures the long awaited brawl of these two legendary beasts. 

Unlike the previous film in the series, Godzilla vs. Kong’s plot progresses at a pleasant pace without sacrificing action or development. The buildup to the inevitable showdown to crown the true King of the Monsters is packed to the brim with tension and drama and sets up the fight sequence perfectly. 

Much to the viewer’s delight, Godzilla vs. Kong keeps an enjoyable feature of Kong: Skull Island in which many scenes depict Kong mutilating crucial cast members without much fanfare. This is different than what we usually see in predator movies where every death is a big dramatic event. Instead, no one blinktwice and no death sequence is unnecessarily drawn out. 2014’s Godzilla does an amazing job of pulling at the audience’s heartstrings with every emotional death scene, but when the drama becomes overbearing, both Kong films offer a pleasant change of pace. 

The film offers a look at the different sides of both monsters. Godzilla, who worked to protect humans in his solo films, reverts back to his giant killer monster roots with his reign of death and destruction. On the other hand, audiences see a more mortal aspect of Kong’s character.  

 While the score of this film is dramatic and exciting, it is nowhere near as memorable or impactful as it should have been following Godzilla: King of the Monster’s impressive soundtrack. 

This small flaw aside, the visuals of this film must be acknowledged. The special effects, graphics, colors, and visuals of this work of art can only be described as jaw dropping and awe inspiring. Personal reminders that what you are watching is only a movie are absolutely required because the larger-than-life action on the screen has never looked so real. 

Finally, after 17,171 days since we last saw Godzilla feud with his electronic, robotic counterpart Mechagodzilla, we finally got to see this rivalry rekindled once more. The movie gifts audiences with three epic fights for the price of one. Through the entire last 45 minutes or so of the film, the viewer’s mindsets can only be described by a quote from Dr. Serizawa in Godzilla: Let them fight.” 

Although the extended wait for this film was a bummer, Godzilla vs. Kong delivered in every way possible. Looking past the forgettable soundtrack, you’ll likely agree that this is the best of the four Warner Bros. Monsterverse movies by far. It provides an enjoyable viewing experience, wraps up what we’ve seen thus far in a satisfying manner, and paves the way for future films all in the span of a couple hours. It’s on HBO Max now people. Go watch. 

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