Review: 'Godzilla vs. Kong' Is a Great Masala Movie
Godzilla vs. Kong is the fourth film in the MonsterVerse.
Godzilla vs. Kong
Review: 'Godzilla vs. Kong' Is A Great Masala Movie
Godzilla vs. Kong opens with King Kong (called Kong mostly) waking up slowly and going for a walk at a leisurely pace to take a shower. You could say that it’s a hero introduction scene in a coming-of-age drama, with a slight difference. Make no mistake, Kong’s on an island, and the idea of showering for him simply means standing under a waterfall. It’s a cool setup that allows you to take in all of his huge body at once.
Over the years, the monsters in monster movies have improved. Their expressions have gone beyond the usual tried-and-tested method of howling in response to being provoked.
Though the titans (as Kong and Godzilla are referred to) do not get any dialogues, you understand their moves. And the ones which cannot be understood easily are spoken out loud by the humans surrounding them.
At the heart of this Hollywood narrative, Kong is actually a friendly animal. Despite coming across as a fierce warrior, he’d probably prefer to roam around his home, if given a chance. He might be okay with giving his ear to some light music, too. He’s really just a macaque in a big monkey suit.
Science fiction dramas, for a large part, centre their actions on the blunders made by people. What else can possibly earn the wrath of nature? The main villain in Godzilla vs. Kong is a mega-corporation that uses its financial muscle to achieve its dream of world domination. Since the forte of American cinema is to throw in a couple of monsters to make a giant spectacle every now and then, it chooses this particular gimmick. It invites the viewers to witness an epic battle between two beasts that are powerful enough to uproot skyscrapers in less than a second.
One way to enjoy this movie is to consume the action episodes as though you’re watching a WWE match. The only thing that’s stopping them from not fighting inside a ring is their temerity. Maybe, if the corporation finds a scheme to make money out of their brawl, they might sell tickets to unsuspecting customers too.
All the actors in Godzilla vs. Kong more or less play supporting characters. The human faces are as important as that of the monsters, but their stories don’t matter here. Their bonding makes no sense in a world that’s on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
Kong’s friend, Jia (Kaylee Hottle), is a little girl who’s deaf-mute. They don’t run around the forest blithely, however, singing songs of camaraderie and optimism.
Kong appears to be her saviour. Although she doesn’t need one, to be honest, it wouldn’t hurt her to have him by her side. If she had taken inspiration from Mowgli (from The Jungle Book), she could have, perhaps, joined him in his pursuit of happiness. But the film is not just about their friendship. It’s more about letting animals know that they’re not going to be harmed. If we keep challenging their authority as if we own everything on this planet, we’ll have to suffer the consequences. Aren’t we already reeling under the pressure of having to breathe behind a mask? And how did we end up at this juncture, if not for our irresponsible behaviour?
An hour into the film, you get a fantastic scene where Kong dutifully listens to Jia and starts running into a cave without giving a second thought about where it could lead him to. It shows how much he trusts her. And in another scene, he crushes a vehicle with some people in it after getting betrayed. You can use these examples to study his character. If he trusts you, he’ll go to any length. And if he doesn’t, he’ll simply turn you into dust.
Godzilla vs. Kong builds its tale around a few stereotypes, as well. There’s a character of an engineer played by a black actor (Brian Tyree Henry) who doubles up as a comedian in many sections. He teams up with two precocious teenagers (portrayed by Millie Bobby Brown and Julian Dennison) to solve the mysterious problem that involves Godzilla’s fury. Nevertheless, these elements don’t take away the mirth from the storytelling.
And it’s nice to see Brown, the breakout star from Stranger Things, take on different roles in different formats. She’s not an actor who’s ready to be boxed into a category.
Godzilla vs. Kong is the fourth film in the MonsterVerse and it looks like the franchise is going to expand further. With so many superhero and monster movies and series in the making, it might really get confusing after a point. Will there be crazy crossovers in the future? Will we ever get a Superman vs. Kong, or a Batman vs. Power Rangers? Well, let’s wait for the movie moguls to take a peek into that jar.
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