March 25, 2021

CINEMA | MonsterVerse Mashup – 'Godzilla vs. Kong' Lets Them Fight

"Kong bows to no one."
Adam Wingard | Legendary's Godzilla vs. Kong
Warner Bros. Pictures / Legendary Pictures
Indie horror director Adam Wingard makes his big-budget studio blockbuster turn in the MonsterVerse mashup sequel to both Legendary's most recent American Godzilla franchise and their loosely-tied Kong: Skull Island prequel for the battle movie Godzilla vs. Kong. I'll say this about the film… I never knew how much I need to see King Kong chokeslam Godzilla into a skyscraper, but here we are.

After some somber human stories in the last few monster flicks, this one feels a lot more fun with an unnecessarily stacked cast, including Alexander Skarsgård, Rebecca Hall, Millie Bobby Brown, Kyle Chandler, Brian Tyree Henry, and Demián Bichir, to ground the various disaster antics. Thankfully, GvK is rushed but ably better equipped to balance its intimate human drama with the large-scale epic action.

By far, GvK's kaiju action of giant fighting monsters (aka "Alpha Titans") appears far more visually coherent and impressively realized. Wingard and cinematographer Ben Seresin frame the monsters with the visual flair and kinetic choreography necessary to meet their cinematic expectations. At a scant 113-minute running time, the film wastes little time in setting up what's needed in staging its events.

Adam Wingard | Godzilla vs. Kong

From screenwriters Eric Pearson and Max Borenstein (who has co-written all four MonsterVerse entries), there's plenty of confusion and racing around trying to follow far too many human characters who show up out of nowhere and disappear with little explanation. However, unlike much of King of the Monsters or parts of Skull Island, almost every character exists to support our monsters coming together to face off.

What makes Godzilla vs. Kong most enjoyable is its sort of simplification of its cinematic universes. Our eponymous monsters come together, do battle, and fight for fairly basic mythological reasons barely explained. We're here for the brawl, best enjoyed on a big screen of some kind, and stand in awe of our imaginations realized visually through cinema.

Godzilla vs. Kong is available to stream on various digital platforms and through video on demand starting March 31st in Canada.

More | YVArcade / AV Club / Indiewire / Vox

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