Until recently, the only “giant monster” or “kaiju” media I had consumed were the episodes of Power Rangers I’d watched as a child, the first Pacific Rim movie (which rules), and the 2014 Godzilla movie – which provoked a tepid reaction at best. However, due to the influence of a friend obsessed with kaiju movies, I watched the original Godzilla not too long ago and had an absolute blast. It aged surprisingly well and was better than I expected. But I was still divided on whether I was going to watch Godzilla VS Kong, because my experience with Godzilla 2014 was mixed, and I hadn’t seen either of the other two movies in the “monsterverse”. This changed when I realised that the film came out on the day I was going to be prescribed estrogen and begin the medical side of my gender transition. With a fun coincidence like that, it became a responsibility – no, a *duty* – to watch the big lizard fight the big monkey. I hurriedly squeezed in a viewing of Kong: Skull Island (which was brilliant) and sat down the evening after my appointment to watch the monster showdown.
I really enjoyed it. Godzilla and Kong looked fantastic, and the fights were no less impressive. It built on lore and world in really interesting ways, and although sometimes the stories following the humans were a little bit slow, they did offer their own moments of excitement and humour (I was chuffed to discover the kid from Hunt for the Wilderpeople is in this). There was also a character that I wasn’t expecting, but was excited to see pop up near the end of this movie – especially because we’re in an age of movie trailers that tell you everything, but this was a character I hadn’t seen in any of the buildup marketing. Thankfully, my not having watched Godzilla: King of the Monsters didn’t matter all that much as aside from acknowledging “oh I guess Godzilla fought some evil monsters and won?” there wasn’t much I missed out on.
I’ve seen very valid criticism that there wasn’t much “going on” in this movie, as far as themes and political statements go, with longtime fans disappointed, as this level to kaiju narratives has been present since the first Godzilla movie’s clear commentary on the use of nuclear weapons, but as much as I enjoy depth and nuance I did find myself able to enjoy the film purely on the level of “blimey, those big fellas are gonna wrestle. Awesome.”