• January 28, 2023

Long-Awaited Godzilla vs. Kong Match Up Stomps Where Marvel Fears To Tread : NPR

In Godzilla vs. Kong, the titans meet and compete against each other. Warner Bros. Pictures hide subtitles

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Warner Bros. Pictures

In Godzilla vs. Kong, the titans meet and compete against each other.

Warner Bros. Pictures

The pandemic has huddled most of Hollywood for the past year or so, but nothing intimidates a Titan.

Godzilla vs. Kong crashes where even Marvel’s Black Widow is afraid to kick and pops up on any screen that can be used – at home or in the cinema. And as the theaters in Los Angeles and New York City come back to life, there’s a ton of fresh real estate to trample on.

Credit Where It’s Due: Kong knows how to make an entry. He announces himself by pulling a tree up by its roots and throwing it into the air hard enough to punch a hole in the sky.

I don’t mean this metaphorically – I mean an actual hole. He smashed a dome over his island that was cleverly camouflaged by his keepers.

Rebecca Hall, who playfully tries to spit out the exhibit in a way that suggests conversation, promptly explains that Kong was confiscated to protect him from Godzilla. “There can’t be two Alpha Titans,” she says, “the whole theory of an ancient rivalry comes from …”

No, I’ll save you the whole theory. Suffice it to say it would be crazy to let him out – so do they.

In short, while the good guys (and some less good guys) talk about energy sources and a “hollow earth” that Jules Verne owes something, Kong uses an aircraft carrier as a surfboard.

That’s what you came for, didn’t you? On the side, a fearless podcaster (Brian Tyree Henry) competes against a terrifying company, but the main purpose of this is to get everyone to Hong Kong, where there are buildings that can splinter nicely by the time our leading titans finally get their game date. (I may have imagined it, but at some point I think Kong is using a skyscraper’s revolving restaurant as a frisbee.)

You can’t talk about plot without a spoiler, so let’s talk about tech. With Kaiju, the scale is everything – a sliding scale, of course, so that a living being that can plow through skyscrapers doesn’t appear implausibly large when the action requires a really large defibrillator, for example.

One can say that the special effects are decently special – and this time often in broad daylight, in contrast to Godzilla: King of the Monsters, the last part of the Monster Verse, in which almost everything took place either at night or underwater. In Godzilla vs. Kong, you can always see what’s going on, whether it’s daylight or a neon-soaked night – even if it’s a little detached from anything we would normally consider reality.

Also solved by people. When I was still in college I had a geology professor who whenever he drew a volcano on the board, he also drew a village at its base – his way of giving us a root interest when the lava started flowing.

Director Adam Wingard and his army of digitizers don’t care about the intricacies of engagement. Godzilla vs. Kong rarely has viewers to speak of – not even just screamers and runners. I waited for someone to say, “Oh my god, there are 7 million people in Hong Kong.”

But for all the terror they wreak havoc at Asia’s commercial intersection, the Eighth Wonder of the World and the King of Monsters might as well be throwing blows into the wild (Kong has a mean right hook, by the way).

I’m not sure it took me nearly two hours of beating, even accompanied by collapsing skyscrapers. But after a year battling a tiny virus that you can’t see, audiences may appreciate a title shot with antagonists of a certain size.

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