Godzilla vs. Kong

Godzilla vs. Kong ★★★★½

The responses to Godzilla vs Kong are likely to vary depending on whether it was viewed at home from a streaming platform or in a theatre. The reason for this is that Adam Wingard has put together the most blockbustery blockbuster to fill the screen in a very long time. The film cuts out almost all of the narrative busywork that goes along with something as bombastic as this, focusing only on the barest of essentials to drive the story along. This results in a lean, thrilling, and downright hype-filled experience that basically re-affirms the act of going to the cinema as something truly exciting.

Wingard drops any notion of required reading before providing the majority of the film's necessary background context in the opening credits before dropping one of the most excitement-inducing titles cards befitting a film of this much colossal intent. Make no mistake, Wingard is well and truly up to the task of portraying these screen titans with the scale and personality they demand. The camera movement utilised in the fight sequences are like nothing we've seen in the current iteration of the Monsterverse. The untethered camera spins, inverts, and cranes itself like something out of a George Miller film, throwing the audience about like a rollercoaster; this is a true theme park film experience.

The most brilliant thing about the presentation of Godzilla vs Kong is that it is continually interesting to look at. Not satisfied with staging expositoy science jargon sequences in flat, predictable laboratory environments, the production designers went off the rails with bursting neon lights and futuristic sets that push the Monsterverse into its most futuristic direction yet. This is undoubtedly cinematographer Ben Seresin's most stunning work yet.

Without going into any spoilers at all, the film feels entirely indebted to the Showa-era science fiction schlock of the Godzilla films of the 1970s, wherein the story almost insists that this earth is not a mirror of our own. The story is high-concept, suitably ridiculous, with enough surprising to keep the monster battles as exciting as ever. Whilst it's a two-name title, it does feel like Kong comes out with the most personality. The comparisons to Die Hard's John McClane are well-founded, he is so scrappy in this film it's impossible not to love him.

Honestly, I was pretty lukewarm on King of the Monsters when it came out. A large reason for this was the action sequences being incredibly hard to focus on and keep track of. By comparison, Godzilla vs Kong knocks it out of the park with an emphatic visual style, gripping action sequences, and a rapidly structured narrative that cuts right to the chase with vigor. A genuine thrill as a G-Fan, and almost certainly a high point for Western monster cinema.

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