I’ve told this story before, and wouldn’t you know it I’m going to tell it again. One of the first encounters with the movies that I can remember having came when I was about 5 or 6. In the middle of the night, my dad woke me up and took me out in front of our television set. On it was the 1962 King Kong vs. Godzilla, and it was the final fight scene between the two. For the next 5-10 minutes I was mesmerized watching these two giant monsters grapple with each other, eventually tumbling into the ocean killing one another. I’d never seen anything like that before, and it blew my tiny mind. From then on Godzilla defined my childhood, I religiously watched every Godzilla film I could get my hands on. I’d like to think Adam Wingard had a similar experience with Godzilla. I’m pushing 30 now, but I felt like a kid again with the widest grin on my face watching this film.
Normally I give a brief summary of the film, but who gives a shit about the plot, it’s Godzilla vs. Kong.
Adam Wingard, who made one of my all time favorite films in The Guest, directs this film like a kid who grew up on Godzilla and is going to enjoy every second of making a Godzilla film. His direction is just so unabashedly giddy, where you can’t help but smile at even the most far-fetched ideas. I was worried Wingard’s better qualities would get washed out of a blockbuster mashup like this, but he shines through. His flair is evident – Lance Reddick showing up, a neon-driven lighting aesthetic, giddy violence – and I’m grateful he got to make a film as big as this that still feels like his. I also really appreciated what I will take as a nod to G-Force from the 90s cartoon series. You’ll know it when you see it.
One big strength that this has over 2019’s King of the Monsters is that Wingard knows we don’t really give a shit about any of the human characters. They are thankfully only here to facilitate monster action, and they just have fun with it. It’s nice to see Alexander Skarsgard play goofy, Demian Bechir is enjoyable sleazing it up and I could watch Brian Tyree Henry do just about anything, he’s always the most magnetic actor on screen no matter the role. This is also one of the better Tom Holkenberg scores, his reworking of the classic Godzilla theme is really fun.
After the massively boring and dour Godzilla: King of the Monsters, I was really worried they wouldn’t stick this landing. But ladies and gentlemen, they sure did pull it off. These monster fights are like the grandest, most glorious wrestling matches you’ve ever seen. That’s all I can really say to describe the giddy theatricality of them, they got steel chair moments, high rope moments, and even using the opponent’s finisher move on them. It fucking rocks cock. The finale in Hong Kong with it’s neon-drenched lighting is just a thrill. The grandiosity of these monster fights is one of the most impressive things I’ll see from a studio blockbuster this year. Real care went into them, they don’t look and feel like a CGI-blahness that Hollywood runs on now.
I just had a real blast with this one, that’s all. Thank you, Adam Wingard, for letting me feel like a kid again.