/‘Godzilla X Kong’ is exactly what cinema needs 

‘Godzilla X Kong’ is exactly what cinema needs 

By Carter James 

We’ve lost our way. 

I’m always one to talk about film needing compelling stories and innovative craftsmanship, but this art form is also a vehicle for entertainment. 

I’m not this pretentious douche about film everyone wants to make out of me. I like when stuff blows up. Maybe seeing this on my 20th birthday gave me rose tinted glasses, but I don’t care: “Godzilla x Kong” changed me. 

Stupidity and I are no strangers. I fully believe in the vulgar auteur movement. I think Michael Bay’s “AmbuLAnce” is one of this decades’ defining films. I’m a “Tenet” stan. Hell, I love “The Fast and The Furious” franchise. “Godzilla x Kong” completely won me over to its unashamed stupidity. The film truly doesn’t care about how dumb it is, and that’s the reason I wholeheartedly love it. 

That’s the current problem with American films, they’re self-serious. Too many chuds with millions of dollars are making bad films and insist upon them being clever or genius. Even the cinematic universe “Godzilla X Kong” resides in, the Monster Verse, had this problem with “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.” As fun as “Godzilla vs. Kong” was, the human plot bogged down the film and was straight up boring at times. I know what kind of film director Adam Wingard set out to make three years ago, I’m just glad he realized how to do it now.  

The human plot of a typical creature feature or disaster film always seems to be filler. We’re all here for the action and destruction. With “Godzilla X Kong,” there’s a slight yet significant difference in the human aspect. This is not a film full of depth or a completely coherent story like previous Monster Verse titles; it’s full-blown camp.  

The scientist humans have to journey to the Hollow Earth, a subterranean world within the earth, to assist Kong in finding the distress signal coming from within the world. That’s about it. They do the thing, find an ancient civilization, the bad monsters are revealed, they battle. We’ve heard this a thousand times. Where camp fits into this is through the execution of the plot.  

Because Wingard is heavily influenced by the pulpy and ridiculous Godzilla movies of the 60s-80s, you have a film that’s aware of how dumb it is and fully commits to the stupidity. It’s basically an 80s movie. The characters are all comedically heightened caricatures. There’s a child character who becomes the MacGuffin/messiah for the plot and a mother/daughter story that acts as the connective tissue for the film.   

There’s not much to say about the cast. Rebecca Hall is good in it. Brian Tyree Henry and Dan Stevens are two wackos who end up having a bromance so there’s that. Kaylee Hottle plays Gia, the messiah child, and she’s great in it. Shout out to deaf representation. 

What’s truly interesting about this film is that the monsters are actually used to drive the plot foward. Kong is the central protagonist of the film. We follow him on his journey into Hollow Earth, while the humans have their exposition fest. He’s a fully formed character with a story and dialogue. 

Kong is the great protector of regular Earth, but is lonely in Hollow Earth- A lost man looking for purpose, looking for family. Along with him is a child ape he finds and they have a sibling relationship, where they’ll fight each other but grow to care for one another. Not a single audible word was spoken between these apes and the other apes and monsters they interact with, but I was fully invested with this monkey business.  

When the monsters are on screen, all hell breaks loose. Godzilla’s part of the film is honestly hilarious. He’s now this wandering badass that takes prisoners and answers to no one. The next fight is approaching, and he literally won’t let anything get in his way. You’ll see this be a problem for Kong, as his benevolent personality clashes with Godzilla’s hit first, ask questions later attitude. But, when they come together, they spare no effort to get the job done.  

This is the most destructive American Godzilla film yet. Millions of people die and no one even cares. At the final battle, where there are six monsters fighting, nearly all of Rio De Janero is destroyed. Even when Godzilla is on his own, he doesn’t care, he casually destroys military tanks and helicopters just because they’re in his way. This is what we’ve been missing from the franchise. Big, bombastic monster fights and the cost of literally everything, that’s what the movies are for.  

Popcorn entertainment is the cornerstone of cinema. This is the purest popcorn film we’ve had in a decade. Leaned forward. Jaw open. Popcorn devoured. I was on cloud nine. I haven’t felt this excited about something so stupid in years. Godzilla and Kong do wrestling moves in this film. Godzilla does the attitude adjustment straight into the pyramids of Giza. Kong DDTs an ape into other apes. You just don’t see cool stuff like that anymore. If a film can make me feel like I’m 10 again, then we have a good freaking film on our hands.  

Thanks to Wingard, this is the best action in the franchise. He absolutely understands scale, utilizes momentum, and makes the monsters feel as heavy as possible. There’s an anti-gravity sequence that’s so jaw-dropping, inventive and well executed, that I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. All the action involving apes is hilarious. It’s like you’re watching a roided up version of “Planet of the Apes.” The ape villian, Skar King, is your typical evil alpha male, but also the most iconic villain I’ve seen in a creature feature in a while.  

The biggest surprise is that this film is visually stunning. Ben Seresin came to play because there’s extra attention to the presentation. Vintage lenses are used to give a unique feel depth you rarely see in blockbusters these days. The film is well lit and has dynamic movement in the action. This franchise used to have a problem with fights not being well shot. Look how far we’ve come.  

“Godzilla X Kong” is cinema at the stupidest and most fun. We’re finally at a moment where these films don’t take themselves seriously anymore and, now, they can go as wild as they want. It’s basically a throwback to 60s/80s Godzilla movies and they fully commit to this idea. I’ve seen things I never thought I would see in an American Godzilla movie. I’m forever a changed man. 


+ posts