Movies

An Important Discussion About ‘Godzilla Vs. Kong,’ The Cliche-Filled Blockbuster The World Desperately Needed

Godzilla vs. Kong is a movie about a giant gorilla fighting a giant lizard. It is filled with disaster movie cliches from beginning to end. At one point, during the final battle, Kong dislocates his shoulder and forces it back into the socket by jamming it into the side of a crumbling skyscraper. And as I watched it all this week, as I watched impossibly attractive scientists do impossibly improbable science things, as I watched two monstrous CGI beasts wallop each other on aircraft carriers and in the rubble of what was Hong Kong as recently as five minutes of screen time earlier, I found myself feeling… comforted? I think that’s right. It was all very comforting.

Here’s the best explanation I’ve been able to come up with for that feeling: We haven’t had a good, huge, occasionally silly blockbuster movie in well over a year. The ninth Fast & Furious was supposed to come out last summer and we’re still waiting for it. Things have been, to be very obvious about it all, weird. Watching two monsters pound on each other and destroy billions of dollars worth of property as characters spout off generic lines of dialogue was, in some way, especially for idiots like me, a return to normalcy. Would I have preferred to see it on a huge IMAX screen with 100 other rowdy goofs? Yes, of course. Did I still have a blast watching it on the 42-inch television in my bedroom with the lights out? Reader… I did. Baby steps.

Let’s do it. Let’s talk about it. Let’s discuss Godzilla vs. Kong.

Why were Godzilla and Kong fighting?

Excellent question. There are a few answers here. One has to do with a long-simmering feud and a quest for dominance, with the term “the alpha” getting tossed around by every character in the movie who has a Bachelor’s degree in science. Another has to do with an evil corporation doing evil science business in the name of profits. But the best answer to this question, I think, is because it freaking rules to see Godzilla and King Kong punch each other a lot. I mean, look at this.

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And this.

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If they didn’t fight, none of that would have happened. I think that’s reason enough.

Be honest, you just wanted to post those GIFs.

… Maybe.

So you’ve referenced science stuff a lot. This seems like a movie that would have a Jeff Goldblum in it, one of those cool and/or quirky scientists and/or nutcases who uncovers the secrets that will save humanity. Does Godzilla vs. Kong have a Jeff Goldblum in it?

Buddy, Godzilla vs. Kong has THREE Jeff Goldblums in it. In no particular order:

— Alexander Skarsgard plays a scientist who has Hollow Earth theories that are proven correct. When we first meet him, he has a beard and a grungy sweater and is being recruited to help because he’s the best there ever was, or something close to that. The next time we see him, he has shaved and is wearing a cool guy vest and sunglasses. He is the most Goldblum-y character in the movie by far.

— Brian Tyree Henry plays a conspiracy-obsessed podcaster who has various theories about the big evil corporation that are also proven correct.

— Millie Bobby Brown plays the daughter of some sort of government-type director played by Kyle Chandler. She is also obsessed with conspiracies and is the only one who discovers the podcaster’s secret identity even though he has been working at the evil corporation for years and podcasts using his regular voice and the evil corporation can apparently build a giant evil robotic lizard but can’t figure out one of its employees is discussing company secrets on a popular podcast.

That’s a lot of Jeff Goldblums.

And that’s before we even get to Rebecca Hall’s character, who a) is raising a young deaf girl who communicates with Kong via sign language, b) cannot, for some reason, communicate with Kong herself even though she also knows sign language and was literally introduced earlier in the film via a magazine cover that identified her as “the Kong Whisperer.”

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First of all, I love it.

As you should.

Second of all, tell me more about this evil corporation.

Happy to. The evil corporation is called Apex and it is run by Demian Bichir, or at least a character played by him. This guy hits all the great evil CEO beats. He has a goatee and a general vibe that is kind of like “if Logan Roy from Succession were younger and about 50 percent more of a sociopath.” He shows up to recruit Skarsgard wearing an overcoat draped over his shoulders without his arms through the armholes, like a Yakuza boss. He’s always drinking from a glass filled with brown liquor and preparing to give a speech about The Way Things Really Are, even when Kong and Godzilla are leveling Hong Kong.

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He’s perfect. I love him.

This movie sounds like it rules.

It does.

So you said there’s some questionable science in here. What kind of questionable science are we talking about?

You mean besides the thing where a giant gorilla and a giant lizard were apparently created inside the planet’s hollow core and this hollow core contains some sort of hyper-powerful energy source that the giant gorilla can use to charge up a huge ax until it glows a pulsing neon blue and can be used to deflect the pulsing neon blue laser breath that the giant lizard shoots out of its mouth?

Uh, yes?

Well, there’s also a lot of talk about a “gravitational inversion” that happens when one attempts to travel to the Hollow Earth through a massive science base in Antarctica, wherein the entire planet’s gravity flips and crushes anything caught inside it. This is what killed Alexander Skarsgard’s brother, which is mentioned like one time and then discarded, and is all brushed away very quickly here by two revelations: One, Apex has created a spaceship-type thing that negates all of this through methods best described as “hey, don’t worry about it, guy”; two, it does not affect Kong, for similar reasons.

I respect this. There’s no time to get into the scientific weeds when we have monsters to pit against each other.

Exactly. Especially since, once we get to the Hollow Earth, before Kong gets the magical ax, he is attacked by huge winged beasts, one of which he knocks out of the sky with the other one like he’s freaking Albert Pujols, complete with a triumphant bat flip…

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… and another of which he decapitates with his bare hands before slurping its green brain goo right out of its head.

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Gross.

Yeah, it was very unnecessary but I still laughed out loud in the empty room when I saw it.

Let me see if I have this straight so far: Godzilla and Kong are fighting each other, but there might be a nefarious capitalism reason behind it, and a slew of scientists and small children are trying to help Kong in the fight, and Kong has a magical ax, and Paper Boi from Atlanta and Eleven from Stranger Things are involved in some podcast-related way, and Coach Taylor from Friday Night Lights is involved somehow?

Basically, yes. And this brings us to the Mechagodzilla.

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Excuse me?

Here’s the short version, via bullet point:

  • Godzilla had been peaceful, but attacked the Pensacola headquarters of Apex, because of course Florida would be involved somehow
  • It turns out that Apex has been building a huge robot Godzilla to give humans a leg-up over the other monsters
  • The robotic Godzilla has been making the real Godzilla mad, which is why he’s been attacking humans
  • Kong has been fighting Godzilla to protect humans
  • The evil corporate guy sent his daughter to the Hollow Earth to extract some of the pulsing blue energy so they could inject it into the Mechagodzilla and make it more powerful
  • But when they did, it became sentient and killed the evil corporate guy mid-speech and started running amok in Hong Kong, which really got the short end of the stick in all of this, as far as destruction goes

Long story short: Godzilla and Kong have to become friends and team up to beat the robot.

YES.

My thoughts exactly.

But hold on…

Are you about to ask me how Kong made it from the center of the Hollow Earth back to Hong Kong to get involved in all of this real/robot Godzilla business, considering the thing where the only pathway to and from the mythical lush gardens inside the Earth’s core is located at the South Pole?

I am.

Excellent. It’s quite simple, really. Godzilla shoots his laser breath straight down through the crust of the planet and into the Hollow Earth, creating a large hole that Kong can travel through with his magical glowing blue ax.

ExCUSE me.

I suppose it would help to see it. Here.

Warner Bros.

Ahhhh. Now it makes sense.

Yup, and then Kong and his magical ax climb out of the hole and emerge in Hong Kong. Easy peasy, bingo bango, etc.

So now that the two of them are battling downtown and eventually fighting the robot Godzilla… is this where Kong bashes his shoulder back into the socket against the skyscraper?

Oh, you know it is.

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And so these two beasts who spent the whole movie trying to tear each other apart work together to save the world in the last 15 or so minutes and then everyone just lives happily ever after?

I mean, yeah, kind of, except for the millions of people in Hong Kong who died or had their property turned into rubble by three hundred-foot-tall monsters, one of whom was a sentient robot powered by a mythical energy source from the center of the Earth.

Oh, right.

Yeah. It would be fun if the sequel to this movie were just a two-hour Erin Brockovich-style courtroom drama about various class action lawsuits against Apex. Not a single monster in the whole thing.

You were right. I really missed having this kind of movie in my life. It’s so much fun to be sitting around just goofing about it all.

And it was a lot of fun to watch! It’s nice to just turn off your brain sometimes and fill your eyes with cookie-cutter Hollywood destruction. This movie checked all of those boxes. It was delightful.

Hey, wait. One last thing before you go.

Shoot.

This really feels like the kind of movie that would have Lance Reddick in it, maybe as some sort of high-ranking politician or military leader. You haven’t mentioned him yet, though. Am I going crazy or is Lance Reddick in this movie?

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I knew it!

Godzilla vs. Kong did not disappoint in any substantial way. We all needed this.

This post has been updated to include 100 words about Godzilla shooting his laser breath into the center of the dang planet.

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