Back when Warner Bros. dropped the Godzilla vs Kong film trailer on YooToobz, I reacted with a snort of derision. It seemed to be too stupid for words – a really big dumb loud monster flick that made even Godzilla: King of the Monsters look sensible and sane by comparison.
Now, the thing is, I actually quite liked the original Godzilla (2014). (We shall not speak of the godawful abomination that was the 1998 Roland Emmerich film – as awful as my taste in movies is, even I can’t call that a decent movie. Surprisingly, though, the animated series that followed it was in fact quite good.)
The follow-up, 2019’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters, though, was… STOOOOOOOOPID. There’s really no other way for me to put it. The entire thing was one long dumb loud series of explosions and roars followed by Godzilla nuclear-blasting the shit out of a three-headed dragon. It was just… IDIOTIC. I watched it once on a flight from…. somewhere… and promptly more or less forgot about it.
I didn’t bother watching Kong: Skull Island, simply because even my absolutely abysmal taste in films does, in fact, have limits, and there is only so much idiocy that I can handle, even when it comes to monster movies.
So when GvK actually became a thing, I assumed that it would be just another mildly entertaining way to cudgel my brain into a pile of grey goo for a few hours, and resolved to avoid it.
However, when a bunch of people that I respect and like said that it is, in fact, quite a good movie – including LRFotS MrUNIVAC, a couple of weeks ago – I decided to give it a shot.
And, y’know what? It’s actually pretty damned good.
Here’s what changed my mind:
Nobody who wants to see this film should have any illusions about what you are in for, and it is giant monsters beating the hell out of each other. That’s only the reason anyone would want to see this movie and that is what you will get if you watch it.
I could pretty much end my review there but I’ll give you a little more than that
Of the four Legendary Kaiju films, this is easily the best. And that is because they finally adopted Toho’s old formula of just have giant monsters pound one another as the A-Story and provide some kind of science fiction-based plot for the B-story. It is not a good movie, it’s just satisfying for its primary audience That is all anybody could want from one of these and it took a while for Legendary Films to deliver one.
Let’s get two things out of the way, right now.
First, this film is REALLY DUMB. The physics are ridiculous. The science is absurd. The plot is idiotic. And it isn’t terribly respectful of continuity with the previous films either – apparently Mecha-Godzilla comes from one of the three King Ghidora brains, which is at least as f***ed-up as a football bat, given that, as far as I’m aware, Gojira nuked the shit out of the other monster in the previous film:
GvK is all about a giant lizard and a giant monkey punching the ever-loving shit out of each other. If you want anything more than that, you’ll be disappointed.
But, here’s the thing:
The filmmakers KNOW that’s what you want. They RESPECT you for that. And THEY GIVE YOU WHAT YOU WANT, with a relative minimum of dicking around.
I mean, yeah, they put Millie Bobby Brown in the film for no good reason, and you could easily get rid of ALL of her scenes and significantly improve the movie without losing much by way of coherence or plot. Indeed, the amount of expository nonsense that goes into this big dumb pile of stupid fun is pretty astonishing, as the Honest Trailers guys point out quite well:
But, for all of its idiocy, this movie does ONE thing very, very well:
It entertains you.
When was the last time that you could honestly say this about a really big-budget Hellmouth blockbuster? The ONLY Hollyweird film that I’m interested in from the last few years is John Wick: Para Bellum (which I still haven’t watched, by the way, so NO SPOILERS in the comments), and that’s because the entire John Wick series is (to use the technical language of the film industry) SUPER AWESOME AMAZEBALLS.
Most of the Hellmouth productions these days insist on trying to ram social justice bullshit and Clown World ideology down your throat. This movie just wants to make you go, “MONKEEEE SEE MONKEEEE HIT WITH MONKEEEE AXE!!!”, and “KAIJU ROAR!!!!”, over and over again.
I really do respect it for its honesty. And the entertainment value is significant. I wasn’t bored for one single moment of its (overly long) 113-minute runtime. As I stated above, the reason for its bloated runtime is entirely to do with the insistence of the producers on sticking a bunch of pointless humans into the plot.
It’s big, dumb, loud, obnoxious, stupid, ridiculous, idiotic, absurd, nonsensical, retarded… and on and on. But it’s actually a hell of a lot smarter than any monster movie has any right to be – see MrUNIVAC‘s comment from this week’s Great Mondaydact Browser Buster for details about how the movie managed to shut up his Inner Smartass and you’ll understand what I mean.
Most importantly, though, it does what a monster movie ALWAYS should do:
It puts a HUGE smile on your face.
This is one of those rare films that you, your inner eight-year-old, and your ACTUAL eight-year-old, can all enjoy together. Just be aware that your actual kid will pester you to get the toys afterwards.
So, yes, I take back my original recommendation about… ahem “sailing the high seas” in order to watch this film. Fork out a few shekels and buy it in digital format. It’s worth the price.
Of course, if you do insist on… acquiring the film through less than salubrious means, then you’ll want to make sure that you do so with maximum protective measures. You’ll need a VPN for that, and I’ve got you covered there with Surfshark at 81% off.
Bottom line: switch off your brain for 2 hours, watch this film, and marvel at its hilarious stupidity, its magnificent graphics, and its epic fight scenes. You’ll be quite happy that you did afterwards.