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Sunday, June 20, 2021

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Film Fridays: "Godzilla vs. Kong"

<p><em>Graphic by Carissa Gurgul</em></p>

Graphic by Carissa Gurgul

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article do not reflect those of The Collegian.

Godzilla and King Kong are classic figures in cinematic history. They’ve brought terror to our screens, destruction to our cities and cemented positions as some of the most recognizable monsters in film. 

Since the 2014 release of “Godzilla,” Legendary Entertainment has been creating its own expanded “MonsterVerse.” Through tidbits of lore and other connected elements, the “MonsterVerse” now encompasses four feature films and has grossed a combined $1.7 billion worldwide

With “Godzilla vs. Kong” serving as the newest installment, fans can look forward to gigantic fight scenes and epic amounts of destruction. Past films, such as “Godzilla,” “Kong: Skull Island” and “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” have been leading up to climactic encounters between Godzilla and other opponents, but his battle against Kong was better than expected.

Prior films in the “MonsterVerse” have been heavily dependent on the human element to tell its story and have some sort of dramatic appeal. In “Kong: Skull Island,” Tom Hiddleston and Brie Larson played the heroic counter to Samuel L. Jackson’s brutish and intense sergeant. Their strife was devoid of any common sense and the whole human plot of the film seemed nonsensical at times, especially with some of the survival choices they made. Instead of focusing on enduring, they turn on each other and create minor tension that really takes the focus away from Kong. In “Godzilla,” it was the same general problem: too much human drama, not enough monsters. 

However, “Godzilla vs. Kong” embraces its human problem and throws caution to the wind. Instead of an hour of exposition and character development, the film introduces the major protagonists and their purpose within the first twenty minutes. As soon as the key characters have been introduced, the action begins. 

The battles between the titans are what we all want to see and the film has some pretty intense fights. Hulking skyscrapers are ripped apart and cities are leveled in the wake of this epic clash. The pure devastation each monster unleashes is truly impressive, especially when considering the amount of computer-generated imagery detail needed to bring them to life. Whether it’s the smallest hair on Kong’s face or the individual windows shattering on a building, every minute detail adds to the viewing experience. 

However, these small details are inconsequential when the force of a punch or the impact of a leap destroys whatever it touches. The final confrontation also brought a smile to my face as I watched these classic monsters decimating each other. 

If you’re looking for an action-packed film that you can throw on in the background and be entertained, “Godzilla vs. Kong” is a safe choice. It is engaging enough to hold a viewer through its nearly two-hour runtime, but you don’t need to be invested in the plights of the human characters. Although it doesn’t have a ton of emotional weight, its action sequences are its greatest strength.

If you have the time or the general interest in watching two hulking beasts duke it out, I’d recommend watching. If not, then you aren’t missing much. 

Contact writer Quinn Humphrey at quinn.humphrey@richmond.edu.

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