“Godzilla vs. Kong”: a titanic success

One will fall, but not in the box office


Godzilla vs Kong promotional image; Legendary/Warner Bros.

Hamilton Scudder, Editor in Chief

There are some franchises and characters for which reboot movies are not only unnecessary, but even detrimental to their very nature. This movie is not one of them. “Godzilla vs. Kong” had me ooh-ing and ahh-ing in the theater the whole time. It was visually stunning on an absolutely massive scale, and it serves as a lesson on humanity’s place in nature and on the whole. In short, it simply blew me away.

Nowadays most big studios can produce visually impressive movies, but to bring both Godzilla and King Kong to this kind of scale, it takes a special kind of visual prowess to do it justice. The trailer gives you a taste of the colors and CGI, but on the big (or small, if you’re on HBO Max) screen, these two titans really come to life. “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” was a gorgeous movie, and this one took the color scheme even further. The blue of Godzilla’s plasma abilities is as vibrant as ever, and the purples and greens in fight scenes are even more beautiful than in the trailer. 

The detail on both combatants truly does bring them to life; they move and breathe like real animals, which means not only is the detail in the visuals, but in the animation. Both monsters feel like they have real weight to them, while also not feeling sluggish or impossible. Suspension of disbelief is important for a movie like this, which the visual effects team does not make difficult for the audience by any means.

Not only was it impressive from a technical visual point of view, but the physical scale of it was overwhelming. Seeing two fighters of this size is a unique experience. Yes, they’ve both fought some colossal threats in the past, but none quite as mobile and aggressive as their respective current opponents. The fights themselves were epic, superbly choreographed, and I think this film is the best iteration of either character to date. As a Godzilla fan (biased, I know), it was amazing to see him fighting a character as dynamic and intelligent as Kong. I believe my counterparts on the Kong side of the fight are going to appreciate even more than I do watching Kong fight a character as large and as powerful as Godzilla.

Perhaps one of the most typical yet frankly weightless criticisms of movies like this, many critics complain about the overall lack of human plot. However, I think that’s the most genius part of this movie. The humans absolutely do get plot, but their role is less significant than the title characters, as it ultimately should be; their role is to move the monsters forward. One of the things that I love about the Monsterverse is that the characters are ultimately accessories to the monsters; it puts into perspective how small we truly are in the grand scheme of things. That’s the point of these movies, to make you feel small. And this movie makes you feel small–very small.

The other ironic portion of that kind of criticism is that this movie, while not overly developing the human plot, does a phenomenal job of giving the monsters themselves plot and development, as much as is possible for a radioactive dinosaur and a giant ape, at least.

I was hoping to be astonished by this movie, and even though I had a major plot point revealed to me thanks to an inconsiderate human being who posted a clip on Instagram Reels (stay off of social media if you don’t want spoilers, people are just the worst), I can thoroughly say that it was everything I could have hoped for in a movie like this. After months of anticipation talking to Godzilla, Kong and general movie fans alike, I can confidently say that this is a movie that almost everyone will enjoy. Long-term viewers will love the way it builds on past movies, while newcomers won’t feel alienated by the story.

I’ve speculated it before, and will again: I think this will be the biggest (so to speak) movie of 2021. It’s the first big movie to hit theaters in over a year (I don’t count the Snyder Cut of “Justice League” because the original was released so long ago), and I will say that it is one I’m glad I saw in the theater, even if there was a guy taking pictures with the flash on to the side of me. If you feel safe enough, I urge you to see it there as well; it’s not a movie you want to miss on the big screen. But remember, even though I sing this movie’s praises about how everyone will enjoy it, do keep in mind that one will fall.