So here we are, the main event. Where does this series go now?
Director Adam Wingard
Screenplay Eric Pearson, Max Borenstein
Starring Alexander Skarsgård, Millie Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry, Shun Oguri, Eiza González
Julian Dennison, Kyle Chandler, Demián Bichir, Kaylee Hottle
Kong: Skull Island has been the best in the Monsterverse series of films, starting with Godzilla in 2014. The great thing about the first Kong film is that very few humans are killed, and the ones that are pretty much deserve it. Every film featuring Godzilla has more collateral damage (read: innocent dead humans offscreen), making it all impossible to enjoy his “intention” to be the King of All Monsters.
Every version of these stories have relatively good actors sacrificing their skill to repeat tropes we’ve seen since the olden days. We have those shouting dire warnings somewhat unheard. We have scientists spouting babble about signals and tracking. We have technocrats who think they’ve figured out how to counter the beasts. We have others trying to take advantage. Then there are the action heroes running to and from disasters.
This time, we have the nice addition of a beautiful little deaf girl (Hottle) who can sign with Kong. This angle not only makes Kong more accessible, but it makes humanity seem worthwhile for once. Because, really, all those other storylines are warmed over crap no matter who you have spouting the lines.
Another good aspect of Godzilla vs. Kong is that the fighting in the second act takes place far away from cities. This limits the damage to people who had a choice to be there and it makes a big difference. The fight out in the Tasman Sea is thrilling to behold. As Godzilla lays waste to everything opposing him, we strain with the humans aboard one ship to see that Kong is allowed to fight back. The sequencing is excellent and the resolution to the battle is sensible, until we look too closely.
The expressions of Kong help counter the dearth of Godzilla’s look. I mean, we know he’s pissed. Godzilla senses and is drawn to the bad juju going on, but most of that is because we’re being told something along these lines every five minutes.
As with the other two films, the last act is a mess. It’s obvious no one really wants Kong or Godzilla to lose this battle. Mostly no one wants to see so much destruction in their wake. The place we see in the middle of the film would be an ideal environment to hold an entire film, but for some reason, no one thinks it’s enough to see a hidden world for an entire film. Perhaps if we’d had a chance to see more of this world and the ancient battles constantly referenced, it could hold more meaning than the several films worth of dialogue we’ve been exposed to by now.
So here we are, the main event. Where does this series go now? They’ve shot the big load it plays entertainingly, but a 4 film arc cannot help but lack resonance compared to something like the MCU. If the movie succeeds, we will get more. Not sure why or how it would matter, given the paths they have taken. Kong in Space would need one hell of a liftoff.