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Rather than directly acknowledge why Godzilla originally came into being, American screenwriters created a dodge. By Godzilla vs Kong, that caught up with them.

Instead of admitting Godzilla was born of a brutal real world American military strike, Godzilla vs Kong invokes Jules Verne, uses preposterously stupid ancient scepters made by gargantuan apes, gravity flipping planetary cores, Pacific Rim-style brain controls, and two hours of incomprehensible nonsense to explain the radioactive lizard.

It is, quite frankly (and unprofessionally spoken) trash. To go from Gareth Edwards’ awe-inducing visuals (which lent Godzilla genuine gravitas), to Godzilla vs Kong, where there is no sense as to Godzilla’s mass is an asinine, embarrassing failure.

It’s impossible to depict a character if a writer isn’t willing to understand it in the first place. That’s a core failing of Warner’s Godzilla sequels. Even in showcasing the city smashing, no attention is given to Godzilla as a creature. This monster, does, in fact, act. He moves and reacts in specific ways. Here, it’s as if Godzilla floats on air, lacking weight and so effortlessly tossed around, the scale is gone.

And poor Kong, stuck in his worst outing since the infamous King Kong Lives, which inexplicably, in a key moment, Godzilla vs Kong legitimately references. Arguably, that’s not even the dumbest thing involving Kong in this movie. A “space Leia” like Last Jedi moment fights for that spot.

Godzilla vs Kong isn’t only terrible. It’s infuriating. It is, effectively, what naive American audiences think Godzilla is, whether from viewing butchered, oft-mocked dubs on Mystery Science Theater or a subconscious voice wishing to bury a historical truth.

The original King Kong vs Godzilla was a simply plotted light comedy, satirizing a post-WWII workplace culture. When brought to America, King Kong vs Godzilla was butchered because US producers didn’t get it; their edits played it straight. That was 1962. With 60 years to learn something – anything – no one involved in this project did.

Godzilla vs Kong isn’t only terrible. It’s infuriating

Big monster smash buildings; that’s what people think Godzilla is. But that’s not all. Even at their hokiest, Godzilla films stood for something. In its own way, Godzilla: King of the Monsters depicted environmental concerns, and Kong: Skull Island captured the post-Vietnam delusion. Godzilla vs Kong is a movie about nothing, which somehow in two (technically three) movies went from a film stuffed with plausible gravitas to middle earth shipping systems and anti-gravity space… err, ground ships?

Not one human matters to this story. Like with King of the Monsters, the lone Japanese character is discarded, but in this case, through a superfluous sub-plot that ultimately means nothing. Kyle Chandler returns needlessly, same with Millie Bobby Brown, the only two carry-overs because this series never cared about the people. Again, lizard breaks stuff, which while fine in a pop culture sense, ignores decades of creative solutions to make social perspective matter. Godzilla vs Kong has none, nor does it care to.

The result represents a smug sense of western superiority, that money spent on digital effects can make anything better, even when trashing an entire nation’s symbology. It happened in Godzilla 1998, and now in 2021.

Godzilla vs Kong
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Godzilla vs Kong is the worst possible outcome for the American depiction of a symbolic Japanese creation.

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