PG-13 for over-the-top monster on monster action. Like most of the movies in this series, you intellectually know that an offensive amount of people are dying by the minute. But because you don't actually see that death, it becomes abstract and you tend to focus on the rivalry between two characters that almost lack personality traits. Yeah, there's language and blood. But the thing that gets my goat? The sheer death. PG-13.
DIRECTOR: Adam Wingard
Man, I feel like I watched this movie ages ago. It couldn't have been that long. It's not like I've missed a day or a week of writing. I know that I've kept up. But it feels like this movie was ages ago. That's okay. I've been prepping for this movie with the watching of Godzilla: King of the Monsters. I'm well versed on the absolutely stupid mythology leading up to this movie. And I have strong opinions on it, so I'm sure that I'll have something to write that might be of substance. Or I'll call it quits way too early because I have so much on my plate to complete. Who knows?
Out of the movies that actually have Godzilla in the title --at least of the current franchise --Godzilla vs. Kong might be my favorite. I have had it in my brain that grudge match movies, especially grudge match movies with the word "versus" in the title, are fundamentally terrible. There's going to be a let down in some way. Either the movie will choose to avoid actually providing an answer or someone would fundamentally disagree with the answer. I remember reading something that director Adam Wingard stating unequivocally that there would be a victor of this movie. I mean, I guess. I'm going to be talking about action figures hitting each other for a few minutes. Godzilla vs. Kong is fundamentally the story of pirates versus ninjas. Are they on land? Are they on sea? Do they have time to prep? With Godzilla and Kong, it's a matter of environment and if Kong has a weapon. I also get the vibe that it becomes a popularity contest at one point. So even though --spoiler alert --Godzilla wins (ish), I call shannanigans. But the real winner is me, for being aware that this title is academic and it will never make anyone happy.
But this is my favorite of the Godzilla movies and I can explain that very simply. It may not seem like the most intellectual argument, but it is accurate: you can see what is going on. I know that with The Bourne Identity, Paul Greengrass started treating action as something that's fundamentally about motion, not about clarity. The Godzilla movies took that way too much to heart. While Jaws didn't give us a good look at the shark, that was always for the suspense element of it. These movies, even when Godzilla was ripping apart cities or fighting behemoths, the directors loved to obscure him. It got to the point of being straight up annoying. So when Godzilla vs. Kong let us actually see the titular characters duking it out, that went a long way to making the movie super watchable. It's the first time I could actually appreciate the battle without being surrounded by technicolor storm vomit all over the screen. I said that this wasn't the most intellectual of arguments, but think about what the ramifications of actually seeing the guys fight means? That means, for as dumb as the concept may be, the film actually delivers on its promise. Godzilla fights King Kong a couple times and you can actually appreciate the battle.
But this is where the movie gets kind of only okay. People, from what I understand, have been really bashing this movie. I mean, it's not great. I haven't been brought into the fold of the Godzilla movies in any iteration yet. But I do see why people don't like this movie. And I'm probably going to take an unpopular opinion getting to my argument. We're constantly told that Godzilla is a good character. I always saw Godzilla as a hero only juxtaposed to the other kaiju who absolutely are terrible and celebrate the destruction of humanity. But Godzilla, for all of his protection of the Earth, really is okay with just massive amounts of casualties. He's also fairly erratic with his behavior. Like, he's all over the place with his intentions. And part of that comes from the notion that we're his pets. He treats us like pets. Clearly, we're an ant farm where death is just commonplace and he's not going to be too broken up about it.
So when the antagonist of the piece wants to create a man-made mech to combat problems like Godzilla, I kind of am on that team. Yeah, I know. I'm supposed to be this great pacifist who isn't about militarization. But if the other movies in this franchise have proven anything, lots of people die when we do nothing about kaiju attacks. And that's when the franchise has to force us onto a side that we don't want to be on. Walter Simmons is imbued with all of these slimy traits because he's supposed to be the bad guy. But Walter Simmons, for all his grossness, is really right. Look at all of the pancaked cities that Godzilla and his ilk have lain waste to. It's depressing thinking about it. And the movie does the same thing that King of the Monsters does: forgive Maddie way too quickly.
If you read that blog, I go into this long spiel about Maddie is a major villain of the piece and the only reason that we forgive her is because she is Millie Bobby Brown and that she wasn't as bad as her mother. It's weird when an actor's celebrity status affects how we're supposed to view them in movies. The same thing happened to J-Law with the X-Men movies. Maddie goes from being her mother's sidekick, ushering the kaiju apocalypse, to being the tip of the spear for saving these lovable monsters. It doesn't matter how dumb some of the arguments get. Everything based on theory apparently deserves to be preserved. But there it is. The movie really has to yell at its audience to ensure that they stay on the right side. Of course, the MechaGodzilla is going to get out of hand. Of course it is. But that's only because it was made by the guy that was named the bad guy. Personally, MechaGodzilla is just Gypsy Danger from the Pacific Rim movies.
So the movie isn't great. I knew it wouldn't be. But I think that making the movie about Kong, the more fleshed out of the two monsters, makes it kind of worth watching. With that comes a far more interesting color palate. I don't know why we need to visit the center of the Hollow Earth (a plot point that almost feels irresponsible in this era of conspiracy theorist and anti-science). But the movie is fun. The characters aren't that bad. I know that there was some criticism that the human characters don't do anything. I don't know if that is true. I do find it funny that Kyle Chandler is back for no reason. But the movie is still a good time. It's the definition of stupid entertainment. Secretly / not-so-secretly, I hope this is the end of the franchise. There's not much more to tease out for me and destruction has little value at this point. But I had a good time, especially knowing that I didn't have to pay to go to the movie theater to see it.
Film is great. It can challenge us. It can entertain us. It can puzzle us. It can awaken us.
Mr. H has watched an upsetting amount of movies. They bring him a level of joy that few things have achieved.