Godzilla Vs. Kong: Visually Striking Action & Lore Make Up For Thin Plot

Author : jhonzamet
Publish Date : 2021-04-01


Godzilla Vs. Kong: Visually Striking Action & Lore Make Up For Thin Plot

The Monsterverse first established in 2014’s Godzilla has since expanded to include four movies, including Godzilla vs. Kong, which sees the titular characters locked in an epic clash that brings the separate characters and various plot threads together. The film — which is directed by Adam Wingard from a screenplay by Eric Pearson and Max Borenstein — is ambitious when it comes to its fight sequences and there’s a lot to love in that respect, with Godzilla vs. Kong the next obvious step in the Monsterverse. The film explores a lot more of the Titans’ lore, laying the foundation for their big battle while expanding upon their world and nature. While the human characters are there for exposition and could’ve used additional development, Godzilla vs. Kong is engaging and visually stunning.

A few years after Godzilla saved humanity, the creature has returned, attacking cities unprovoked. He senses King Kong, who has been enjoying life on Skull Island. That is, until he realizes he’s holed up in captivity inside a Hunger Games-style arena that reflects the ecosystem of his home. Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall) and Jia (Kaylee Hottle) are working overtime to protect Kong from the threat that is Godzilla. However, everything changes when they’re approached by Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgård), who is tasked by Apex Cybernetics CEO Walter Simmons (Demián Bichir) to take Kong from Skull Island to Hollow Earth in a bid to obtain its power source and defeat Godzilla. Of course, as is usually the case, there is always an ulterior motive, one that is being investigated by conspiracy-theorizing Apex employee Bernie Hayes (Brian Tyree Henry) and Madison Russell (Millie Bobby Brown), Monarch scientist Emma Russell’s daughter.

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When it comes to the monster lore and the fight sequences, Godzilla vs. Kong truly delivers. Godzilla's appearances are incredibly threatening and work to ramp up the perceived ancient tension between him and King Kong. The battle scenes are fantastic, with Godzilla and King Kong truly giving it all they’ve got when defending themselves against the other. There is, of course, plenty of destruction, with Godzilla vs. Kong taking the time to focus mainly on the creatures during their fight. They scratch, claw, throw punches, and use their immense size to their advantages. When they're in the thick of their duel, it's rather terrifying to watch. The pair could obliterate each other at any moment and it's easy to get lost in rooting for one or the other simply because it's so intense. The audience will watch with bated breath as the two Titans go head-to-head. The battles are set up to look a lot like a wrestling match, only the location where the pair duke it out leads to a whole lot more damage than an isolated ring.

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Godzilla vs. Kong gives far more screen time to King Kong, however, showcasing his story as being the more sympathetic of the two and bringing his arc full circle. Godzilla gets the short end of the stick by comparison, his presence limited to a handful of appearances that are quick to reveal him as the aggressor. The monster is spectacular when he does show up, but it’s Kong who has the fully developed arc. It makes sense considering Godzilla has already gotten two feature films, though it may disappoint Godzilla enthusiasts hoping to get more of him. What’s more, Godzilla vs. Kong delves further into the lore of Hollow Earth, which is intriguing as well as visually striking. Why exactly the two Titans have to fight each other connects back to their home, though the film isn’t so keen to dig any deeper than it needs to set up the fight. That won’t satisfy everyone who wants more information about their ancient rivalry, but it’s enough to appease within the confines of the movie’s plot.

While giving the two Titans more screen time and fight sequences would have probably drained the CGI budget, most of the buildup to their battles stems from underwhelming dialogue and exposition from the human characters. The most interesting aspect, however,  involves Jia and her budding friendship with King Kong, who trusts her more than anyone else. Their relationship is endearing and lovely, providing the audience with a thoughtful connection between her and one of the creatures at the center of the movie. The human stories surrounding the main event are all connected, though there is a general lack of depth in their plight and emotions. There is a lot of exposition and the actors deliver it to the best of their abilities, but it does take away from a lot of their emotional reactions to what’s happening. In this vein, Godzilla vs. Kong doesn’t offer much time for them on a personal level; they’re more vehicles driving the plot forward than anything else and, save for a few of them like Jia, it’s hard to get invested in any of their individual stories or characters. 

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That said, Godzilla vs. Kong sets up the primary conflict as being a very human one, with the Titans’ involvement a mixture of instinct and influence. Corporate control and greed is a menace and the film mines this argument for all its worth. It poses the question of who the real monsters are in this instance and it’s a theme the film touches upon to various degrees of success. However, Godzilla vs. Kong doesn't always handle it with the deftness or time the subject requires, leaving it half-baked for the most part. Despite this, Bichir gives a performance so full of gusto it will have audiences believing every ounce of his conviction. The storyline isn’t a complete throwaway, but it could have used some fine-tuning considering it takes up a lot of Godzilla vs. Kong’s runtime. However, the movie still manages to entertain on many levels, offering enticing clashes between Godzilla and Kong that work on a massive scale, as well as intriguing monster lore that aids in exploring a bit more of the titular characters’ background.

Godzilla vs Kong has the best opening day box office in the United States since March 2020. The highly anticipated clash of the Titans is one of the few major blockbusters to release in theaters since the beginning of the pandemic. When theaters shut down in the early months of 2020, studios pushed back their biggest films in the hopes of recapturing some box office magic when theaters reopened. Unfortunately, that hasn't really been the case.

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Tenet was the first major blockbuster to debut exclusively in theaters during the pandemic with its September premiere. To no one's surprise, the Christopher Nolan picture's box office take was disappointing and prompted Warner Bros. to make a controversial decision. The studio announced that, starting with Wonder Woman 1984 on Christmas Day, their entire 2021 slate would be hitting theaters and HBO Max at the same time. Many worried that this would hinder their film's potential for box office success, but they've proven the industry wrong in some regards.

Godzilla vs Kong's Wednesday debut saw the film pull in $9.6 million from 2,409 theaters, according to Deadline. No other film has pulled in this amount on its opening day since March 2020 when Pixar's Onward made $12 million on March 6. Estimates put Godzilla vs Kong's five day total in the $20-30 million, but analysts say that the film could now surpass that.

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Not only is the film's box office take vindication for Warner Bros., but it's also a promising sign that audiences want to return to theaters. Godzilla vs Kong already broke international box office records after being released on March 24. Prior to the film's opening, Wonder Woman 1984 held the record for highest opening day in the US during the pandemic with a total of $7.5 million. Conditions have gradually improved since then, with theaters in Los Angeles and New York reopening and many people getting vaccinated. Worries that WB's release strategy could hinder a film's success now seem unfounded.

Godzilla vs Kong proves that a franchise's most ardent fans will turn out in theaters to see the spectacle on the biggest screen possible, regardless of whether or not the film is available to stream. In fact, WB is probably getting the best of both worlds, with super fans going to theaters to see the film on the big screen before streaming it again at home. It's clear that Godzilla vs Kong's Titan battles demand to be seen on the biggest screen possible and that was likely its biggest draw. Now analysts will have to wait and see how the film performs over the five day period and, by all accounts, it looks to be on track for a big debut.



Category :entertainment

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