Modern Day Kaiju: A Retrospective Part One:
Legendary Entertainment’s Monsterverse
Before we get started with my overview of Legendary Entertainment’s Monsterverse, I feel you should familiarize yourself with some of the rich history behind our favorite Kaiju and the Tokusatsu genre films. Luckily for me, Jorge Salas of The Tokusatsu Network has a wonderful article on the subject. Which you can find here.
If you are a fan of Power Rangers or Super Sentai and would like to know more about the rich history behind the show, my good friend Jon from Toy Bounty Hunters has a series on YouTube called It’s Henshin Time! The History of Super Sentai and Power Rangers which you can find the playlist for here
If you loved what you saw and want to see more please consider showing your support by backing them on Patreon.
On with the retrospective of Kong Skull Island
I have a lot to say about Kong Skull Island but, I really think you should watch the Honest Trailers for Kong Skull Island first, as it does include notes from the director of the film, Jordan Vogt-Roberts on many of the issues the film had, some of which I echo. I will be getting into some of the problems I noticed, which were not mentioned in the video.
Before getting into the various issues I have with the film, I would like to talk about the things Jordan and the film did well. Firstly, the film does an incredible job of exploring the lore of the Monsterverse, even expanding on it in some areas. We get to know more about King Kong and the world he comes from. We also get to see a lot of the awesome creatures that inhabit the Monsterverse aside from the ones on the island. Skull Island is a beautiful place; I really love the depiction of the natives of the island. Which is why I would have liked to see more of them. Sure, we do get a glimpse of how they have survived on the island, I feel it was not nearly enough.
Even though the film came out after Godzilla 2014, I feel it does an excellent job of setting up the Monsterverse and showing us exactly who and what we are dealing with. Yes, Jordan and Skull Island successfully establishes a shared Monsters Universe. Maybe Universal Pictures should hire him for their next monster movie.
Now onto my first problem with the film. Everything that I just mentioned accounts for maybe ten or fifteen minutes of the total run time of Kong Skull Island. This brings me to my second issue. Filler. This movie has way too much filler. A good half hour or more of the film could have been either dedicated to something more important, or being completely cut from the film. My biggest, but not last problem with this film is, that aside from John C. Reilly and Corey Hawkins, the cast forgot that they were indeed filming a period piece.
They don’t act as if they were of the in the 70’s during the war. It’s as if all they did in preparation for Kong Skull Island was watch Tropic Thunder, and not even the unrated directors cut. Just the far lesser theatrical release. (Side Note, if you have not seen the Directors Cut of Tropic Thunder, you really should, it’s awesome!) Ultimately Kong Skull Island is almost an unnecessary film that most people have forgotten is part of a franchise. One that will culminate in Godzilla VS King Kong, which I greatly fear will be another unnecessary installment in the franchise.
Please Skip This Next Part if you have not seen Godzilla King of The Monsters. Today, there is no way that king Kong can take on Godzilla and win. Even in the original 1962 King Kong Vs Godzilla they had to pull some ol bullshit to make the fights even remotely entertaining, and this was when we still used guys in rubber suits and did not have to worry about the scale of the monsters. King Kong is only about 100 feet tall, sure they do mention that he is still growing.
That still does not keep him from being completely dwarfed by the other Kaiju. Which is why I predict that King Kong Vs Godzilla will ultimately turn into a team up battle against a larger monster. If you stayed around for the post credit scene of Godzilla King of The Monsters, or are familiar with the franchise you know which monster that may just end up being. You know, it’s partly metal partly real and it’s not a Silver Hawk.
I saw Godzilla 2014 with one of my best friends in theaters and we both loved it. When we got back to my shop and saw some of the reviews for it, I felt as either those people had not seen another Godzilla film prior to 2014 or are just fucking stupid. Godzilla 2014 was a great film. I like the main cast. I also feel like It adhered to the classic ‘Godzilla formula’, while putting a bit more serious twist on it. If anything, yes Brian Cranston should have made it to the end of the film and maybe even cameoed in King of The Monsters, along with his son and a few other characters.
The only reviewer that I feel had some valid points was James from Cinemassacre. What James misses is Godzilla’s motives and purpose, and that is something that has never been constant. In some generations he is just a monster punishing humans for what they are doing to the planet. In others he is there to protect the people. In others, he kind of does both. In this current incarnation Godzilla’s motives are mirrored by Ken Watanabe’s character Dr. Ishiro Serizawa. He strongly believes that Godzilla and the humans can coexist on earth and work together to restore balance. So in that film as well as King of The Monsters Godzilla is very much portrayed like the Hero I always thought he was meant to be. In closing Godzilla 2014 is a damn near perfect Godzilla film. If anything, its biggest problem is that it followed the formula too closely.
Godzilla King of The Monsters
I can’t start my review of Godzilla King of The Monsters without saying FUCK THE CRITICS. Seriously first in 2014 he’s not in the film enough of the time and there is too little monster action, now there is too much. Seriously FUCK THE CRITICS. I’m not a critic. As snobbish as it sounds, I, like Rob in High Fidelity, am a professional appreciator, maybe not quite pro. I just have some thoughts and a place to share them with people, and I appreciate that. Which Is why I have to strongly emphasize FUCK THE CRITICS. They all have an agenda or some bullshit to pedal. And nothing is ever going to be good enough for them. You will never get something pure from any of them, well most of them. American Movie Audiences I feel give these people too much credit and power. They are not better than you. So you have to make up your own mind. I hate sites like Rotten Camel Toe. Because of that site and others like it, I feel American movie goers have missed out on some truly outstanding works of art and Godzilla King of The Monsters is absolutely one of them. I said Godzilla 2014 was damn near perfect. Legendary pictures pulled off a fucking miracle. Godzilla King of The Monsters, is in my opinion, the best picture in the history of the franchise. It should have had the best opening of any movie this year.
Let me calm down and get into what I love about the movie starting with the cast. If you are as big of a fan of Millie Bobby Brown as I am, you are going to be very happy. She’s such a little baddass in this. And her parents, what a way to subvert all expectations, and that is all I am going to say about them. Godzilla King of The Monsters has an amazing cast. From legendary actor Charles Dance, who has been in everything from The Golden Child, Dracula Untold, to The Game of Thrones. Sally Hawkins who stole my heart in The Shape of Water. She’s in this and she is just as sweet as she was in that wonderfully charming and whimsical film. The legendarily lethal beauty Zhang Ziyi from Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon is in this and to me has a major role in this film, she’s amazing, I will have to talk about her a bit more later in the review. O’Shea Jackson Jr. from hit films like Straight Out of Compton and Den of Thieves. He’s awesome. Like I said, Godzilla King of The Monsters has an amazing cast. They all give their best performances and help draw you into the film. The pacing of King of The Monsters is consistent and practically perfect. If I have to compare it to anything it would be Tartini’s The Devil’s Trill Sonata.
it’s a little long, yes, but it has a lot of subtle and not so subtle changes and the end result is really quite beautiful. I really like all of the different sets and location we get to explore in King of The Monsters. Just like Skull Island it takes a literal deep dive into Godzilla’s mythos and origins.
I’m not like other reviewers. To me even the most minor detail could be a major spoiler, especially if you are a long time fan of the films. All I can say is that Zhang Ziyi has a very special role and an equally special connection to one of our favorite monsters and it’s past. I can’t even think about her without breaking out into song. That was an unintentional but perfect segue to the next thing I love about King of The Monsters. The Music. Hearing the classic tracks rearranged, orchestrated, and remastered was absolutely glorious. I sat there in the theater listening and enjoying all of the music and refused to leave till it was done. All of the monster themes got a very special treatment as did the monsters. Wow another segue. The Monsters. that’s the main reason we go to these films in the first place. There are a lot of monsters in King of The Monsters, maybe not as many as in Godzilla Final Wars, but they were used better here than in that amazing and just absolutely bat shit crazy film, which I love so much.
Another fantastic thing about King of The Monsters is the sound design, especially for the monster cry’s and roars. You feel them right down to your bones. Godzilla and the rest of the monsters have never looked or moved better. Especially Mothra. This was my dumb ass after one of the scenes in the film, I can’t really say which but you could probably guess.
(Side Note. This is one of the parts that I can’t talk about because A: I’m still geeking out way too hard, and B: major spoiler.) They took a couple of really important scenes from previous Godzilla films and reenacted them in King of The Monsters, and it hurt. Fuck me did it hurt. First Alita: Battle Angel, now Godzilla King of The Monsters. I’m bathing in pain this year.
There was one noticeably absent monster which also happens to be one of my favorites. Battra. Why? Is it because she’s black? Why wasn’t she in the movie? Both her larval and final form look like killer Pokémon. Legendary Entertainment also did Detective Pikachu. It could have worked.
Let me try and get back on track and maybe finish up . The one constant from the three films is MONARCH. The organization that not only tracks the monsters but also observes them. In this film we get introduced to another much more nefarious organization and they are the ones who set end of days event in motion. Their lead is played by Charles Daniels. They are awesome. This film is awesome and you really should go out and watch it several times and buy it in blu-ray when it comes out. Hopefully Legendary will release a special edition box set with all three films, with space for a few more that will fit not only the fourth and fifth monsters universe films, but also the Pacific Rim Films.
Why do I mention Pacific Rim you ask?
Well, Legendary Entertainment not only has the rights for Godzilla, but Pacific Rim as well, after Up Rising was released, which was an incredibly underrated film by the way, there have been talks of a possible colossal cross over event which would see Godzilla and other monsters actually fight alongside the Jaegers to defeat the ultimate foe. Yes, it sounds like some sheer mind fuckery, but it also sounds fucking awesome and it’s something that I would love to see come to fruition!
Well friends and readers, I hope you’ve enjoyed this review, this rant, or whatever this was. I guess it started off as one thing and then just went completely off the rails. Go see Godzilla King of the Monstsers and until next time
FUCK THE CRITICS!!