“The movie isn’t about storytelling or empathy. It’s about cool shit,” is an amusing, multi-faceted tweet that went viral recently. Sure, it’s a fun, frivolous feeling, but there’s also a core of truth (and an ironic one at that), which also applies Legendary picture‘S “Godzilla Vs. Kong.“Because the easy part of making a” Godzilla Vs. The Kong movie – at least when it comes to getting the most viewers to buy-in – does action sequences and fights with “cool shit”. The rest, as Legendary Pictures’ new Titans collision film shows, is really hard to do.
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Give Legendary Pictures the credit to rewind: you have Not I’ve made superficial monster verse films with “cool shit” and always looked for stories that combine spectacle with legend and depth. “Godzilla”(2014) took a Nolan-esque approach to Gojira, not to mention a bold POV storytelling handover and a “jaw“-Similar aesthetics for the invisible monster and subsequent films (“Kong: Skull Island” and “Godzilla: King of the Monsters”) Swung a little harder towards“ cool shit ”, but always kept people at the center of their stories.
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This speaks to the inherent paradox and level of difficulty of these films: the latter is very high. In many cases, audience do I just want “cool shit” in Monster Verse movies (see Twitter, even professionally paid reviewers will get that feeling), but Legendary and all of its filmmakers got it – just like the original Toho Godzilla films with relevant political and social overtones – the people in history are always the substitutes for the audience and their gateway to any kind of empathy with the creatures.
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So, including the monarch legend and myth that have always woven them into these films, Legendary actually went to great lengths to create a meaningful world, universe, and characters around the “cool shit” of Kaiju monsters sharing each other knock the tar out of the body.
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director Adam Wingard’S“Godzilla Vs. Kong“Is the same in his good intentions to reconcile the human, the inhuman and the spectacle. There are conspiracies and puzzles afoot, there are human protectors, scientists, conspiracy theorists, arrogant billionaires masquerading as pioneering innovators, ideas about capitalism and greed, and yes, lots of epic battles between titans and other creatures. Despite all its efforts at story, character, and allowing plenty of room for monster fistuffs and visual grandeur, “Godzilla Vs. Kong” never really comes together in an effective way. Paradoxically, it’s a film that, with its two parallel storylines, is almost too clever and confused. And yet the film is simple; It even gets ridiculous to invent a rather fancy story where Kong can get an ax with superpower, the sole purpose of which seems to be an explanatory for anyone wondering how a gigantic ape can convincingly compete against a monster that breathes and atomic explosion fire shoots.
“GvK” are two (probably three) stories that come together. On the one hand there are current and former Monarch scientists (Alexander Skarsgård, Rebecca Hall) and a little deaf girl from Skull Island, Jia (Kaylee Hottle), who has developed a special bond with Kong. They want to get Kong to safety, but the monkey is growing out of the island and the climate has destabilized. Worse still, Godzilla apparently betrayed humanity and attacked an Apex Cybernetics scientific research base off the coast of Pensacola, Florida. Godzilla’s story is told by three people prone to conspiracy theories: Bernie Hayes (Brian Tyree Henry), an Apex technician who is also secretly a podcasting whistleblower, Madison Russell (Millie Bobby Brown(Repetition of her role from the last “Godzilla” film), inspired by the theories in Hayes’ forays, and her skeptical buddy (Julian Dennison). They believe there are forces that force Godzilla to “go bad,” and his attacks are more complex than monster rampage.
Then there is the tip of the triangle that ties all the stories together: Walter Simmons, CEO of Apex Cybernetics (Demián Bichir), an Elon Musk-like visionary big-tech entrepreneur whose goal is to solve the Earth’s “Titan Problem”. He convinces Dr. Nathan Lind (Skarsgård), Dr. Ilene Andrews (Hall), Kong’s Jane Goodall character, to convince Kong to take Kong to Hollow Earth (the center of the planet) to look for new sources of energy that could solve all of her problems (whatever that is, and most of it is mumbo jumbo). There is also Maya Simmons (Eiza González), Walter’s haughty daughter who acts as the Apex liaison when the military attempts to sail and escort Kong on giant barges to the Hollow Earth entry point in Antarctica. The catch with 22 is that they have to get to Hollow Earth (although the motivation here is weak and unconvincing), but getting him there outside of the safety of Skull Island makes Godzilla aware of his presence, and Titans are competitive and pull not on. Not like other titans on their turf, do you have all of this?
Suffice it to say that there are a ton of plot mechanics, whings, and excuses in the game for Godzilla and Kong to fight and fight whatever they do. Ironically, this “cool sh * t” is good, the best parts of the movie. But all of that stuff around them – and there is so much of it – just pushes and pulls back to have an investment or connection with any of the characters, creatures, or stories. It’s just all a very elaborate scheme to get Kong and Godzilla from head to toe (and believe me when I say I am tries To give you the Cliff Notes version of the base story), and until they have their last clash in Tokyo, things may all look visually cool and dynamic (with lots of destruction porn), but you don’t really care about any of it.
Not everything is a loss. Wingard has a flair for scale and epic battle scenes, and his penchant for visual bursts of color and pulsing synth music tastes can be seen (some of which look a bit off)PrometheusIn addition, the story element of the little girl connecting with Kong on a deeper level, and how that gets the audience to empathize with Kong – frankly, the better character of the two – is a smart story -Decision we are more emotionally involved with Kong than these films usually ever do. Just realizing that Kong is the better character for audience identification shows that the filmmakers know what they are doing. Despite all these wise choices “Godzilla Vs. Kong” never really connects or clicks and lets us enjoy what we can out of a big loud, loud melee. It’s “cool sh * t” I think, but it’s easy to forget and throw away in the end .
TLDR – It’s important to have characters and a good story around a GvK movie because without a TLD all that’s left is an empty trailer with battle scenes. The irony is that this overly tangled story hurts engagement with the film. Legends may finally collide in this episode, and it’s easily entertaining in some places, but the whole endeavor ends up being almost as hollow as the empty core of the earth. [C]