It’s the perfect film at the perfect moment. A film that delivers on big screen thrills just at the moment movies theaters nationwide have reopened.
Genre crossbreeding in movies is nothing new. But when done with the panache director Adam Wingard brings to “Godzilla vs. Kong” the results are above average.
Wingard has been making indie films with more meaning than audience for years, just glance at below-the-radar titles like “A Horrible Way to Die” and “Autoerotic.”
With “You’re Next” (2011) Wingard nailed the hostage thriller with the kind of character development and gore that would influence films that followed like “Ready of Not” (2019). The animal face masks in “You’re Next” was the best shock usage of the metaphor since “The Shining.”
“Godzilla vs. Kong” has so many influences it’s impossible to signal out one specific source but suffice it to say that movies as diverse as “Fantastic Voyage,” “Conan the Barbarian,” “Journey to the Center of the Earth” and of course every King Kong or Godzilla film ever made come to bear.
Wingard gives the audience the ultimate layer cake of monster movies mixed with genre mayhem. The action moves in multiple directions with a tapestry of plot twists that keep introducing new characters.
“Godzilla vs. Kong” is the kind of movie that has a Monsterverse Mythology Consultant listed in the credit roll.
Kong gets all the good close-ups and more importantly scene after scene of character development that renders him as compassionate. Godzilla never gets a scene that actually asks us to love him. In terms of screen time Kong has twice as much presence. It’s like someone made “Hamlet” only with Laertes as the main character.
Godzilla needs to fire his management.
There’s a lady scientist (Rebecca Hall) who feels Kong’s pain and her mute daughter that can telepathically communicate with animals. Oddball scientist and hollow Earth theorist Alexander Skarsgård leads an expedition funded by Demaián Bichir’s corrupt conglomeration Apex Cybernetics. Apex also develops black-ops robot technology.
Throw in some hackers who’ve stumbled onto the government plans to utilize Kong as a weapon – Julian Dennison (“Hunt for the Wilderpeople” star and a welcome addition to any cast); Brian Tyree Henry; and “Stranger Things” regular Millie Bobby Brown.
Godzilla is a pussycat compared to Birchir whose whole purpose for existing it to perpetuate chaos. In another film Birchir could be a Bond villain mixed with Elon Musk corporate smarts but here he’s a surrogate for impetuous tyranny.
Wingard strives for a unique look as well as grand action sequences. Significant portions of the film are completely visual, like the gentle touch of Kong’s giant finger to a small child.
Scenes depicting crews traveling to hollow Earth in tricked out flying shuttlecraft seamlessly blend the film’s creature tumult with science fiction. Likewise scenes where Hong Kong is reduced to scrap seem to be paying allegiance to the Donner “Superman” as well as the Bay “Transformers.” Of all the indie directors tapped to helm large budget studio behemoths Wingard displays a flair that will be remembered