Entertainment, Geek Culture

‘Godzilla vs. Kong’: Awesome monsters, awful humans

Billed as the long-awaited face-off between two icons, "Godzilla vs. Kong" is an epic clash of titans that you will enjoy. Just ignore the dumb humans and even stupider dialogue. Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures
Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures

Billed as the long-awaited face-off between two icons, “Godzilla vs. Kong” is an epic clash of titans that you will enjoy. Just ignore the dumb humans and even stupider dialogue.

Sure, I know some critics hate “Godzilla vs. Kong”, but what I’ve learned in life is that you should watch a movie and decide for yourself. Different people have different tastes, and some critics seem to insist on looking for depth even in movies that don’t need it. It’s Godzilla. It’s Kong. Two titans trying to beat the crap out of each other. Does it really matter what their motivation is? And as par for the course for the US reboot of Godzilla and the MonsterVerse as a whole, the humans are the weakest links. We just have to accept that this shared universe is populated by dumb, annoying people saying and doing cringe-worthy things, and just focus on the real stars of the show: Godzilla and Kong. God help you if you concentrate on Bernie and Jia.

The King and the Kong

Now, let’s get something out of the way: I am and have always been a huge fan of Godzilla. So of course I’m rooting for the Japanese icon against the American ape.

As I previously wrote, this is actually the second time Godzilla and Kong have clashed on the big screen. The first time was in the 1962 movie “King Kong vs. Godzilla”. I saw that as a kid — no, not in 1962 — and even back then I knew Japan was way cooler than the US, which created that big ape. So I’ve been waiting for payback for more than 40 years now.

In watching the US reboot of Godzilla, I’ve just learned to accept that Westerners have a different sensibility from the Japanese — from us Asians, for that matter. I don’t really understand why “Godzilla vs. Kong” and the other movies in the MonsterVerse keep wasting good to great actors in these roles, and why they seem to think it’s the human characters that viewers will care about. The films come across as incredibly pretentious in trying to create a MonsterVerse mythology and focusing so much on the human characters — as if they’re interesting or have any real depth.

Let them fight

Contrast this with Toho’s third reboot of the Godzilla franchise, “Shin Godzilla“, which brought Gojira into the modern era. The focus is squarely on the kaiju — on Godzilla as an unstoppable force of nature.

“Godzilla vs. Kong”, however, keeps trying to make humans central to the narrative. As if a kaiju movie can’t stand on its own if humans aren’t the heroes. If they’re not there to “save the day”.

Humans are the fetch of the MonsterVerse.

Thankfully, “Godzilla vs. Kong” has many epic moments between the two titans that I can just overlook all the attempts to make fetch happen. Plus it’s Kong in Hong Kong.

So, yes, I’m glad I watched this movie on HBO Max. And that it had the biggest opening weekend at the North American box office so far in the pandemic era.

Some might find it ridiculous. That’s their prerogative. As for me, I’ll be happy to watch this epic clash again.