Godzilla vs Kong (PG13)
Starring Alexander Skarsgård, Rebecca Hall, Millie Bobby Brown, Brian Tyree Henry
Directed by Adam Wingard
Godzilla and King Kong finally meet! Let’s be clear: when you come to a monster brawl, it’s for the mindless spectacle, not the human drama. But when you’ve seen your fair share of man vs machine/machine vs machine/machine vs monster/monster vs monster/man vs monster vs machine smackdowns, where does that leave us? In this fourth — and possibly concluding (who knows, who cares?) — chapter of the ‘MonsterVerse’ franchise, folks with high tolerance for city-flattening revelry will rejoice. If you come for the, er, ‘acting’, the overqualified cast — including Brian Tyree Henry as a conspiracy theory nut (is there any other kind?) and Demián Bichir as the mogul with a secret agenda (don’t they all?) — do their best to keep things engaging between the skyscraper-levelling scuffles. The towering titans go at each other twice — one takes place out on the high seas (pretty cool); the other in Hongkong (essentially a Pacific Rim re-do, but messier). The CG-aided mass destruction is fast, furious, numbing and draining; mostly, I just feel sad that Hongkong is trampled on — first, the anti-democracy crackdowns, then COVID-19, and now this. Elsewhere, there’s a ‘Lost World’ sequence in Earth’s core that exudes a sense of wonder and mystery, if a little fleeting. (Warner Bros Movie World has a potential rollercoaster ride there.) It’s interesting to marvel at how SPFX is used to make the impossible possible, but when it comes to depicting characters of colour, why are filmmakers still using antiquated screenplay ‘software’? Case in point: Shun Oguri’s scientist — standing in for an inexplicably missing Zhang Ziyi from Godzilla: King of the Monsters — is the latest to fall victim to the ‘Silent Asian’ trope. (**1/2)
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