Godzilla vs. Kong

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Poster for the movie ""

Godzilla vs. Kong

One Will Fall

20211 h 53 min

In a time when monsters walk the Earth, humanity’s fight for its future sets Godzilla and Kong on a collision course that will see the two most powerful forces of nature on the planet collide in a spectacular battle for the ages.

Director Adam Wingard
Runtime 1 h 53 min
Release Date 24 March 2021
Movie Media VoD
Movie Status Available
Movie Rating Very good

Ah, Godzilla. You are my guiltiest of pleasures. Great cinematography it is (usually) not, but is that what any of us expected here? If you’ve ever seen a Godzilla film, or even know them by reputation, you know what to expect here. Two city-wrecking monsters duking it out plus some plot with human characters that no one cares much about. The formula has worked well for the last 67 years, so why stop now?

So, let’s talk about the monsters. We know who our stars are here: Godzilla and Kong. But despite them both being title names, the film does not treat them equally. This is not so much a Godzilla & Kong film as it is a Kong film with Godzilla in it. Which is fine. The G-man got his time to shine last time around, so let Kong have some post-Skull Island spotlight. And after the last few movies, it was nice seeing Godzilla in more of an Anti-Hero role. While he wasn’t exactly a paragon of good in the previous films, this time around he’s much more of a force of nature than an ally to humanity. More OG Godzilla, less of the competing-with-Gamera era stuff.

And then we get the humans. They…do stuff? Basically, we have two groups, one that hangs out with Kong and another that does other things. The Kong group was by far the more interesting of the two. Honestly, Group B could have been cut from the movie and it wouldn’t have made too much of a difference. Their sequences were there pretty much for no other reason than being a convenient plot device to give the audience information. “Oh hey, we’re doing this thing and by the way – world-building!” But this is par for the course for every Godzilla movie; gotta give a reason for the big kaiju fight.

Objectively, this was the strongest of the MonsterVerse movies so far. I personally liked King of the Monsters a bit better because it had a bigger array of classic monsters, particularly King Ghidorah. This one took what was established in Skull Island and expanded on it by mixing it with the Godzilla films. I wouldn’t say it’s necessary to have seen the previous films, but there are a lot of callbacks. I watched this with a friend and had to explain a few things because he didn’t remember the last few movies that well.

And the big kaiju fight at the end is one of the best choreographed fights I have ever seen. Not just for a kaiju movie, for any film. The fact that they did that in a kaiju movie makes it even more impressive. That plus everything else makes Godzilla vs Kong a close second for best Godzilla film (that honor still belongs to Shin Godzilla). Definitely a step up from the original King Kong vs. Godzilla. Memes notwithstanding. And a must-see for any kaiju fan.

April 25, 2021

Alita: Battle Angel

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Poster for the movie "Alita: Battle Angel"

Alita: Battle Angel

An angel falls. A warrior rises.

20192 h 02 min

Alita: Battle Angel is based on a Japanese comic book (manga) series called Gunnm from the early 90s. There was also a 1-hour cartoon (anime) adaption around the same time. Now we get a live action adaptation by master of cinema James Cameron. With Cameron at the wheel, you know a movie is going to be good. Mostly (but in fairness, everyone has to start somewhere).

The key takeaway from Alita is that it is just a good movie. Nothing in the film feels objectively bad. Alita herself is a balanced character with a real personality. She is a young girl learning new things in a world that is alien to her. At the same time, she is a total badass who can put everyone else in the room on the floor. Throughout the story, there is pain as well as joy. She makes friends and finds love but also finds enemies who want to destroy her for what she is, regardless of who she is. By the end of the film, she is far from the person she was at the beginning.

This being a James Cameron film, it probably goes without saying the special effects are amazing. Cameron proved that CGI is one of his main things back with Avatar, and that has not changed. The fight sequences are incredible and none of them are shoehorned in. Even the city just as the background is an amazing visual setting, giving audiences the sense of a real living, breathing city.

The plot in the movie is nothing too crazy. There are no major twists or shocks as the story develops. But there does not really need to be. In the end, this is not some kind of high stakes save-the-world scenario. The story is ultimately about Alita; about her finding who she was before and who she is now. This is an origin story.

The movie itself follows one of the big rules for a potentially great movie: leave the audience wanting more. This is clearly part of a much, much bigger story. We have only seen a small piece of a big universe with this film. Having not read the original manga, I cannot say off-hand how much of the original story is covered in the film adaption. However, the original story from the 90s was followed up by two sequel series. The latter of which is still ongoing. If Alita: Battle Angel gets a sequel, which seems plausible with the box office results, there is a lot more source material to pull from.

March 3, 2019