Godzilla vs Kong (2021) Review

RATING: 2.5/5

Two of the biggest monster stars in the world come back after nearly 60 years.

Offers the best and worst of the MonsterVerse.

The movie was definitely the most ambitious out of the MonsterVerse as far as the visuals. Being hinted at in the previous entry, this one finally dived into the Hollow Earth. When it came to the entrance, which was very trippy and hypnotic, the environments and the creatures that lived in it, it was all very cool and fascinating. Easily my favorite section of the movie because its something one hasn’t seen in a kaiju movie for quite some time. It’s also something new for Kong, who has always fought in environments such as Skull Island or the City. Seeing him floating up in the air to land on the ceiling as the gravity reversed, was definitely something worth seeing.

The mythology on how Titans operate in the world was, interesting. The whole coliseum, church, or kingdom bit added layers on how the Titans get together to serve whoever the King or Queen of the Monsters was. The thought of the monsters sitting down and cheering on whoever is on the throne is kind of silly, but it is unique and I wish it wasn’t destroyed in the end. Because I would have liked to have seen that unfold in the future. I mean the scale of the palace was massive. Kong himself was the size of a human entering inside. That was how massive it was.

The effects were executed very well. The level of detail within the Hollow Earth was great. The detail on all of the monsters/creatures presented were really good. The designs of the Hollow Earth animals were, for the most part, good. I liked the Warbat and the Hellhawks and how they interacted with Kong and the humans.

For the fights between Godzilla and Kong, in my opinion, the best out of the MonsterVerse. For starters, one could see clearly what was happening and the cinematography in these scenes were really good to get one up-close to the action. There was a point or two where it felt liked I was on a rollercoaster. There wasn’t too much cutting away to the humans, as the movie would do a good job at keeping the focus on what was important.

The fights themselves were amazing and memorable, especially the Hong Kong fight. The city was so cool with the neon lights, reminding one of “Pacific Rim.” The fight itself had many memorable moments. Godzilla shooting Kong out of the sky with his atomic breath, Godzilla shooting his atomic breath while Kong dodges it, Kong using smarts to get the drop on Godzilla, and while I’m questioning Godzilla evilly laughing, I kind of liked it. It did add character and personality. The part where it climaxed and where I really started to feel the brutality was when both monsters starting clawing at each other and breaking each other’s bones. The sound of the bones popping out of the sockets really took me by surprise. All of this ends with a a glorious moment when the two roar in each other’s face. So good. My adrenaline was pumping. However, that would very, very soon, drop, dramatically, unfortunately. Mechagodzilla. (Slow clap)

Now, I don’t hate MG. I dug the Showa, Millennium, and also the one used in “Ready Player One.” It’s not the worst, nothing can top the anime. But the design overall was alright. What’s interesting was the director of the movie, Adam Wingard, recently said in an interview that he didn’t want the design to evoke similar vibes to the modern Transformers. (Me looking at MG and the Dinobots). Yeah, yeah, I think a redesign was surely needed. I wished it had more of the Toho feel instead of being heavily inspired by the many robotic characters used in American action movies today.

His presence in the movie was not needed in my eyes. The fight itself, between him, Godzilla and Kong, was not enjoyable as the previous two. It seemed like the film knew it wasn’t that interesting as it would cut away to the humans more than a few times. MG was too OP when fighting Godzilla. Though to be fair Godzilla was still healing from his fight with Kong. But why didn’t MG use that OPness toward Kong? I guess MG wanted to play things soft and die fairly fast from Kong’s axe.

I wanted the movie focused on Godzilla and Kong. But no instead the movie wanted to take pointers from “Batman V Superman.” A movie that failed Warner Brothers financially with its historic second weekend at the time. MG was pretty much Doomsday, uninteresting and albeit, boring. Honestly I wished the movie would have gone the route of MG being controlled by the Ghidorah brain. Sure it would lessen the Godzilla identity, but it would have been quite a spin at least. MG needed to be saved for something later down the line. Though, with the case of the MonsterVerse, it’s unknown. Which was why I guess Wingard believed it was a good idea to make the film feel like it was the last.

I mentioned the Hollow Earth stadium getting destroyed and their others too. The movie would make references to the past MonsterVerse films a fair number of times and they were neat to see, as well as the references to the Toho movies. During the opening credits, I noticed X’s being laid out on top of the monsters seen from “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.” Did the Titan plague sweep the planet? I’m aware tie-in comics exist, but for average movie-goers, they wouldn’t know and ask questions like that one. What happened during the five-year gap? Are Godzilla and Kong the only surface Kaiju? I mean I’m sure they’re not, but the film doesn’t really bring forth that notion. The whole vibe I got, from all of this, was that movie was being this grand conclusion to the MonsterVerse. Though with the terrible and very abrupt ending, I wish it was handled a lot better. These decisions honestly made me feel like the writers written themselves in a corner. Because what happens if the movie is successful and the franchise wants to continue, then what?

When it came to the humans, they were alright. The same went for their performances. The best I would say was Jia. Her relationship with Kong brought the most emotion to the movie and it was not too bad. I liked the parallels the two had and I wished it was explored visually rather than being told. The worst and most pointless was Ren Serizawa. I mean the movie truly butchered the character, especially since he was the son of Ishiro Serizawa. Which granted he wasn’t a great character, but had interesting moments here and there. But it was an absolute waste for him in this movie. I mean the potential was there, but it was never reached, at all. The comic-relief character of Bernie Hayes, played by Brian Tyree Henry, offered some funny bits and I did get a chuckle.

I really wanted to like the movie more. I mean it offered the best fights, the best effects, and the best visuals out of the MonsterVerse. Though if it is going to be last, then why did the movie have to feel like the last? Warner Brothers wish to honor the “greatness” that was “Batman V Superman” and transfer that success here. It was too big for its britches, there was material that was definitely unneeded/needed, and there were a couple times where it didn’t know what kind of story it wanted to tell. While the movie did exceed in some areas, the original is still a classic and will never be beaten.

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Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) Review

RATING: 1.5/5

Two of the biggest superheroes of all time come head-to-head while a real threat lurks in the shadows pulling the strings.

Revisiting this film was something…special.

DISCLAIMER: Ultimate Edition

First and foremost, one felt the 3.5hr duration. The first act ran for way too long, roughly 25-30 minutes at that. Similar to “Wonder Woman 84,” things were happening but a majority of it didn’t mean much to the movie overall. Granted it was a bit more entertaining, with Bruce’s perspective during the climax from “Man of Steel” and his first appearance as Batman. Even so, those two opening scenes, along with the unnecessary scene of the Wayne’s being shot and Superman’s introduction, dragged on for far too long. Just when it seemed like the movie was officially going to start, another scene would play to introduce the hundreds of characters and hundreds of plotlines being thrown in.

Characters, oh boy, where to start. Well I’ll say this, the character I enjoyed the most was Alfred. Jeremy Irons did good at delivering the humor and light-hearted elements. Something that this film sorely needed. A majority of the performances were fine with the dark and bland material given to them. I wanted more life in the dreary mood that totally encompassed the entire film. Granted, I don’t want something too over-the-top or goofy, like Eisenburg’s performance. What a huge miscast this was. Every scene he was in screamed awkwardness and uncomfortableness. Every scene made the movie’s tone flop all over the place. The monkey shirt he wore in his first scene really set the stage for the type of character he was. Easily the worst.

Characterizations took a hard dip. Superman always looked he was about to break into tears with his somber and displeasured expressions. His motivations of wanting to stop Batman throughout the second act don’t make a lick of sense. Especially when he stopped Batman pursuing more dangerous people, yet he doesn’t do anything, he just flies away. Batman treated the destruction of his business tower more seriously than he should of. He’s basically a big brooding brute that doesn’t listen to reason or doesn’t look outside the box and see the good deeds Superman had done after “Man of Steel.” Lois Lane played the typical damsel too many times, to a point of ridiculousness. Her plotline of figuring out Luthor was the one pulling the strings was very predictable. Luthor’s plan of wanting to kill god (Superman), was pretty bland, uninteresting, and his endgame remained to be seen. Doomsday was utilized too early and looked eerily similar to the Abomination from “The Incredible Hulk,” the 2nd MCU film might I add. The parallels between the franchises really stack-up.

As I mentioned prior, the overall tone was too dark and too depressing. The serious acting and some of the serious and/or non-engaging dialogue, made the viewing experience for me, dull and bored. I mean the first time watching it, I didn’t really feel the minutes go by. But after watching it for the second time and watching “WW84,” I can now say the movie looked big, grandiose, and epic, with little substance to back it up. I understand, for the time in 2016, that DC was trying to do something different with its cinematic universe. Still, its a comic-book movie. There needs to be light-hearted material to break up the sad and solemn emotions. The entertainment factor in it was sorely lacking.

The entertainment factor that did work the best were the action scenes involving Batman, particularly the warehouse scene. One definitely felt every hard hit and painful injury. While a majority of the music for me was forgettable, the theme that stood out for me was Wonder Woman’s. I did like the political discussions being presented on how Superman should be perceived by the public. There was a sense of promise for these scenes, but unfortunately, the number of plot holes and ridiculous moments hammered those good aspects to the dirt.

  • Save Martha.
  • Batman becoming friends with Superman in a split second after.
  • Luthor finding Superman’s mother with no explanation.
  • How Zod’s dead body and Luther’s blood was able to create Doomsday?
  • Wayne employees becoming oblivious to danger at the beginning.
  • Lois somehow figuring out the Kryptonite spear is the one thing to kill Doomsday.
  • Batman kills
  • Batman almost knocking out his own tracking device on the truck he was chasing.
  • Luthor entering Zod’s ship with such ease.
  • Superman death’s
  • Justice League member inclusions
  • Etc.

There’s others for sure, but these were the most notable.

Zack sure had a thing for visuals. At times they were nice, but at other times they were excessive. The climax went completely overboard with the effects. To a point where I’m thinking to myself, “out of all the stuff happening and all the things trying to make me care, I just can’t.” I was truly amazed about the lack of emotional resonance being displayed. It was so hollow and bare-bone.

Much like with the first act, the third act dragged on for far too long. The movie felt the need to spend an extra eternity to watch Superman’s funeral from multiple perspectives.

The movie did way too much and it truly impacted the DCEU. It was trying to juggle multiple characters and storylines with little payoff by the end. All in a sorry attempt to compete with Marvel. Thankfully the DCEU have recovered and our doing their own thing for the most part. Hopefully, hopefully in the future, the next crossover movie will be better fleshed out, fun, and more even than the rough, dull, tedious, and bumpy ride that I endured.

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Wonder Woman 84 (2020)

RATING: 1.5/5

Wonder Woman’s journey to discover herself is pressured when a great force comes to show her deepest desires.

Wasn’t much a fan of the first one, but I thought it was decent nonetheless. However its leagues (no pun intended) better than its sequel.

The initial twenty minutes I have to say were a good introduction. There were a good introduction on how things were going downhill when it came to the pacing, narrative, acting, etc. The two intros, including the Themyscira Olympics and the heroic saves by Wonder Woman, dragged for quite a while. I mean I was stunned for how disinterested I was. The Olympics scene felt like it should have been placed in the first movie. Sure it included the one theme/message that will come back toward the end, but the whole scene went on too long. In addition it included a certain Golden Armor that doesn’t pay off greatly in the climax. It looked cool, but honestly it could have been any special Amazonian weapon/artifact and it would have made the same, unimpactful difference. The heroic saves weren’t any better. As it included some pretty bad acting especially from the mall robbers. The movie should have skipped or cut out sections from these scenes.

Continuing on with the acting, it was pretty mixed. Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman was still good. As too was Chris Pine coming back as Steve Trevor. So the heroes were good, but the villains were a different story. Pedro Pascal as Maxwell Lord was fine and he certainly did bring some entertainment factor. Because of that there should have been just one antagonist, as opposed to two. Kristen Wiig as Cheetah did alright. Her initial goofy and nerdy personality got old and annoying real fast. Her transformation into a more dominant and fearsome persona wasn’t anything special. Or original in that it took cues from “Batman Returns.” In the long run I didn’t really care for the character. To which I think the movie itself had the same feeling as the character just outright vanished with no mention after the climax. Her goofiness in the scenes discovering her newfound powers didn’t offer a chuckle in the slightest. In fact, a lot of the humor didn’t land. Whether it was from scenes with Cheetah or Steve Trevor being fascinated with the 80s.

In terms of the scope, the sequel looked and felt bigger than its predecessor. I think it boiled down to some really good cinematography and nice, colorful visuals. When the world was falling apart with the abundance of wishes, the movie showcased impressive panning and wide shots, to really capture the magnitude and severity of the situation. Riots broke out, people panicking, looting, nukes flying, it all around madness. The movie brought the feelings of 2020 as a whole in those scenes. Though the bigness didn’t leave much of an impact sadly. A majority of the film felt flat due to the slow pacing, long runtime, and uninteresting dialogue. Situations more or less happened and that was it.

But beyond the chaos, there were other scenes of interest that looked cool. Lord in the climax being the center while a windy vortex encircled him and a scene where Wonder Woman began to fly for the first time. On a visual standpoint, the latter was the one that stood out to me the most. I believe it was the case because it reminded me of “Superman (78).” Colors were sparkling and popping. There was almost a majestic or mythical feel, which made sense considering the background behind the character of Wonder Woman. Unfortunately if one were to look at the context when it related to the film as a whole, it made no sense whatsover. The rest of the visuals sometimes looked awkward. The best example was Wonder Woman running straight at the camera in the chase scene in Egypt. There was a film grain used in some scenes. But for the most part it was pointless as a lot of scenes didn’t have that filter.

Narratively speaking, there were a number of unexplained things or plot holes littered throughout. As I mentioned earlier, after the climax Cheetah, even after reverting back to her human form, was never mentioned again. The unexplained connection between the bank robbers and Lord? Lord finding out about the crystal entirely? Wonder Woman being able to fly so suddenly and not using it for the rest of the DCEU? Cheetah, figuring out Diana’s identity so suddenly? Granted it could be refreshing but it didn’t feel natural in the slightest. Wonder Woman getting weaker? From what I could gather, the crystal was stripping her powers and transferring it to Cheetah. To which I say why does this need to happen? Can’t the crystal duplicate the powers without making Wonder Woman vulnerable. In the climax, how is Lord granting all the wishes with no physical contact as seen prior throughout the film? How is Wonder Woman able to talk to the world with Lord and her lasso as a transmitter? How is Lord not bleeding excessively from the hundreds of wishes? What happened to the crystal after all the wishes were renounced? Why does Steve Trevor need to take over another man’s body to come back?

There were so many plot holes and unexplained things that disrupted the plot. It was also why those things kind of, in some way, ruin some continuity with the rest of the DCEU.

The mid-credits scene featured a cameo from Lynda Carter, which was extremely bitter sweet. Emphasis on bitter because her cameo in this movie truly hurt.

A disappointing sequel and one of the worst, if not the worst of the DCEU films. A few performances were good, some visuals were beautiful, and the cinematography at times was nicely done. A longer runtime doesn’t always make a film feel or look grandiose. It can also lead to a project that can feel dull, flat, and uninteresting by the end. A major misstep and I’m curious of what Wonder Woman 3 will be like. Hopefully, a positive overhaul is enforced.

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Run (2020) Review

RATING: 4/5

[SPOILERS]

A wheelchair-bound teen suffering from numerous medical conditions, gets a sense of unease for how her mother treats her.

“Searching” director Aneesh Chaganty continues greatly with his thriller talents.

Performances in the film were really good.

Actress Sarah Paulson delivered in portraying a creepy and threatening mother (Diane). Who would do anything to keep her daughter safe and protected under her.

Actress Kiera Allen, who played the daughter (Chloe), was an interesting character. In the film, her character was portrayed as being smart and it truly showed. She was pretty resourceful in trying to escape her mother. Especially with the scene with her crawling on the roof while having her tools. The fact that she was suffering from all sorts of illnesses and disabilities, added layers in making one care for her so much. One slip-up, fall, or a shortness of breath, would have meant doom for her.

Just like with the movie “Searching,” Chaganty did very well at keeping one invested in the characters and story being shown. The snowball effect was handled nice in showcasing bits of information from Chloe trying to unravel the truth. Pieces were effectively shown while not fully revealed until the basement scene before the climax.

Suspense was definitely present in a number of scenes. One would be edge on what the mother would do with her daughter being extra sneaky. In particular in one scene where the mother was sitting still at the kitchen table as she watched her daughter on the computer. That moment was very creepy.

Speaking of the computer, there was a nice little Easter egg regarding the movie “Searching.” With the Microsoft logo appearing while the computer turned on.

Once the truth bomb of Diane not being the biological parent of Chloe hit, one felt a bit of sorrow and understood where the mother was coming from. Though that didn’t phase Chloe for one bit, from there the momentum built until the end.

The one film that this shared the most in common with was “Misery.” The comparisons were strong. But that wasn’t a bad thing. “Run” played things differently with the wheelchair-bound protagonist and again, there were additional layers to her that made one fear for her even more I think.

As far as the PG-13 rating, I don’t think it was too much of a fault. This was a good example of a thriller with that rating that worked. But there were moments where it unfortunately showed. There were a couple times where the dialogue or acting did get cheesy. It broke some of the tension for me. The best example where I rolled my eyes was when Chloe cussed and the scene cut before she finished. That kind of thing I’ve seen in some movies and it’s not warranted. Only in trailers and even there sometimes it’s not warranted.

I thought the number of diseases Chloe had seemed much. I say only two of the ailments were notably used while the rest were hardly utilized, except in the opening montage.

After Chloe finds out that Diane was not her mother, she for some reason still calls her mom. I feel at that point she shouldn’t be calling her that. Now in the revenge motive in the end scene was fine and it worked. But earlier I felt that she should not be saying that word.

Chaganty showcases for his second feature film, that he can direct and write really good thrillers. The performances were great from the two main leads and tension and suspense were effective at keeping one locked on the screen. Highly recommend it.

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