By Shanuka Kadupitiyage
In the world of movies, there are two titans that have risen to become legends that will never die in cinematic universe. On the West is Kong, the mighty ape from an uncharted island. In the East is the Godzilla, a walking nuclear disaster. Both are two of cinema's oldest characters, with Kong making his debut in King Kong, a movie from 1933 and Godzilla appearing in his own titular movie in theatres of Japan during 1954.
Now, in 2021, the two titans clash head to head in a clash of the titans from Adam Wingard’s latest movie, Godzilla vs. Kong.
If you’ve ever been a fan of monster movies, you would know that the rivalry between Godzilla and Kong has been ongoing for many years. Kong, striking first, was probably the first monster movie of its kind and still has a massive influence in popular culture and media.
Although iconic, there really wasn’t much substance behind the movie’s existence besides sheer spectacle for the most part. However, things were very different over in the East.
On Godzilla’s side, his creation was in the midst of Japan’s recovery after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. Fear of nuclear devastation was ever present in the minds of the Japanese people at that age. Then came the Lucky Dragon 5 incident, another major nuclear disaster, which could be considered as one of the main influences of the creation of the atomic reptile. In a sense, Godzilla initially was a personification of the fears and trauma of the Japanese of nuclear weapons.
Nearly 90 years after Kong’s first appearance on the big-screen and 70 years after Godzilla’s, the duo are undoubtedly two of the most charismatic and iconic movie characters of all time, each extremely strong, and powerful.
Having being part of the big screen for so long, you must be wondering why anyone hasn’t thought of pitting these two monsters against each other before. Well, they have.
Kong and Godzilla faced off against each other before in 1962, with Kong emerging the victor. However, it was a close match and there really wasn’t a clear victor.
Now the two titans are in for a rematch in 2021’s Godzilla vs. Kong, once again East meets West in an epic battle to determine who truly is the ‘King of the Monsters.’
Ever since the Godzilla reboot of 2014, the atomic reptile has increasingly risen in popularity, while Kong: Skull Island from 2017 was able to gain quite a massive following as well. With a monsterverse building up to a crescendo after the recent, Godzilla: King of the Monsters in 2019, the stage was set for the two titans to duke it out once more.
Unfortunately for the viewer, while the hype for Godzilla vs. Kong is real, and well deserved, it fails to shake off the many issues that plagued its predecessor, which can be a huge detriment to the entire experience.
Godzilla vs. Kong is a movie riddled with flaws. Without spoiling the entire story, let’s just say that while you’re watching the movie, you’ll encounter plenty of inconsistencies, redundant dialogues and some horrible writing at work that is tough to ignore.
While watching the movie, there were some instances when my eyebrows reached heights that have never before been reached, especially when it comes to the logic established within the world of the movie. It's understandable when a movie doesn’t follow the logic of the normal world, especially in a setting like this. However, when the movie forgets its own logic that was established in the movie itself, that calls for some serious eyebrow-raising.
Then there was the shoehorned side plot that had absolutely no value to the story, showing no meaningful message nor making any meaningful contribution to the continuation of the story.
Don’t forget that you’ll also find the usual problems with these movies, including horrible security guards and protective measures taken. It’s almost comical how easily the characters can practically walk into places which are supposedly high-security areas.
But, you and I both know that you’re not buying tickets to Godzilla vs. Kong for great storytelling, dialogue, and world building (although at least some decent work on that would have helped). If you’re willing to pay money to sit in a movie theatre, risking a COVID-19 infection and pay for overpriced food, you’re there to see a giant monkey punch a giant, atomic lizard really hard.
Ape vs. lizard
When it comes to the main attraction, the mighty Kong squaring up against the king of monsters, it was a treat good enough to bring out the inner five-year-old out of me, reminding me of the awe I felt watching my first Godzilla movie.
Every growl, roar and blow had my inner child gasping and whooping, cheering for my favourite. If you do watch the movie, you’ll be treated with some truly breath-taking and jaw-dropping moments. Some of the movie’s flaws are noticeable while the battle goes on screen, (like how are both of them able to stand and trade blows afloat on that aircraft carrier? Or the scaling of the two monsters, are they equal in size or different) but you would be more likely to forgive such issues for the sheer spectacle put on display.
The animation team behind the movie has done a wonderful job, as did Junkie XL with the music for Godzilla vs. Kong. Also, it was apparent that some thought was put into the process of how the fight would turn out, with both parties' strengths and weaknesses taken into account, which was satisfying.
All things taken into account, Godzilla vs. Kong is a great movie that delivers everything it promises. If you are a fan of monster movies or any one of the two combatants, I highly recommend you do watch it, especially on the big screen, the way a movie of this calibre should be viewed. In fact, I would have called it one of the best movies of its kind, if it weren’t for one person; and his name is Guillermo del Toro and his 2013 movie, Pacific Rim.
Watching that movie for the first time, my inner child couldn’t hold itself back. Here was a movie that wasn’t very complicated. It knew exactly what it was and delivered everything that you could expect from it. It was a movie that oozes charisma and style.
Pacific Rim set the bar pretty high. While Godzilla vs. Kong is an amazing movie of its own, it still falls just a few measures short in that sense. But don’t let that be a deal breaker, this is a movie that is worth every rupee spent watching on the big screen, because that’s the worthwhile way to enjoy Godzilla vs. Kong. Make sure to make it to the theatres, because this is a movie that you shouldn’t be missing out on.