“Godzilla vs. Kong” is pure kaiju brilliance

WSS staffer Sam Westergaard ’21 reviews the latest MonsterVerse installment “Godzilla vs. Kong.”

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Legendary Entertainment

Godzilla and Kong battle for the title of King

Legendary Entertainment’s MonsterVerse began in 2014 with the release of “Godzilla”, which (to put it lightly) I’m not a fan of. A year later, they announced that Godzilla would reunite with his old rival, King Kong. In 2017, “Kong: Skull Island” came out, which I consider a major step-up from its giant monster predecessor. Godzilla returned to the big screen in 2019 in the film “Godzilla: King of the Monsters”. Although it was not as good as “Skull Island,” I still enjoyed it. That finally brings us to the most recent MonsterVerse installment, “Godzilla vs. Kong,” and what I thought of it.

“Godzilla vs. Kong” is surprisingly the best Godzilla film we’ve gotten in a long time. To be honest, it’s probably the best blockbuster we’ve gotten in a while. 

‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ is surprisingly the best Godzilla film we’ve gotten in a long time.”

— Sam Westergaard '21

I want to get my complaint out of the way because I thought the film was overall really good. I thought there were a few too many human characters. I didn’t even have a problem with the human characters, in fact, the human to monster ratio (in terms of screen time) is perfect. But there are just so many characters to follow. We have Millie Bobby Brown’s group, the villains from Apex, and the Kong whispers. There are a lot of characters and some do more than others and some get sidetracked altogether. I just feel like they could dumb down the number of humans we have to follow. Like I said earlier, I do think the human stuff isn’t even bad. They fulfill the requirements humans are meant to have in kaiju films: They follow the monsters when the monsters aren’t on screen, they are always talking about them, and most importantly the humans take the whole story seriously. I also wasn’t really a fan of the location text that would pop up. The text is just too big and too much, but that’s a minor nitpick.

With that out of the way, there was so much I liked about “Godzilla vs. Kong.” I already talked about the humans, so what about the monsters? Both Kong and Godzilla are at their best. Kong is the emotional center of the film. He’s rather expressive, and we the audience feel for him because of his devotion to return to his home. He communicates through sign language and befriends a little girl; it’s very sweet and heartwarming. On the other hand, Godzilla is an absolute villain, which is what he was made for back in the 50s. He is constantly wreaking havoc, and destroying stuff. 

Godzilla shows his power in “Godzilla Vs Kong.” (Legendary Entertainment)

What about the giant monster fights? Legendary Entertainment has had a hard time making the giant monster fights appealing. In “Godzilla” (2014) we barely see the monster fights, it’s also infuriating that we see some of the fights unfold on television screens. In “Godzilla: King of Monsters” the weather is always getting in the way, it’s either snowing or raining. In both films, it’s always nighttime. Here they have finally nailed the fights. The battles are mainly during the day and the one that takes place at night is well lit, with bright neon lights illuminating the monsters. What’s more, is the monsters are the center of attention during the standoffs. It barely cuts to the humans and focuses on the two titans duking it out. In short, the fights are on point. 

*The next part of the review will contain spoilers, you have been warned.*

I was shocked by the appearance of the smog monster, Hedorah! Ha, I fooled you. In all seriousness, I was really hyped by the revel of Mechagodzilla. Unfortunately, I got it spoiled, thanks Funko. However, it was still awesome to see him in battle. Not to mention how awesome the design is, I like the missiles that shoot out of his back, as well as the glowing red eyes and spikes. Although he was epic, I thought it was even more epic to see Godzilla and Kong tag-teaming to kick his mechanical butt. In particular, I loved when Mechagodzilla pinned down Godzilla, but then Kong jumped in with his axe, that ruled.

Speaking of Kong, I keep hearing people complaining about the howl earth stuff. I don’t quite understand why though, I quite liked how strange that story was.  It reminded me of the weird human stories from the old Godzilla films. An example of this is how in “Terror of Mechagodzilla” there were aliens and cyborgs. All the underground monsters and zero gravity stuff were so strange, but that’s why I’m here for it. It feels like the modern equivalent of the bizarre, but stunning 70s Godzilla films.

There was a lot more about the film that I really liked, but I’ll sum up my final thoughts here. The movie understands what fans want to see, delivering impressive battles, and a goofy human story. “Godzilla vs. Kong” is really a movie for the hard-core kaiju fans, and I’m not talking about fans of the Legendary Entertainment Monsterverse fans. I mean fans of the old Godzilla films. This film is made for people who love seeing Jet Jaguar, Gigan, or monkey aliens from space. If you love the classic kaiju films you’ll love “Godzilla vs. Kong.” I know I sure as heck do.