What’s crackin’? No, this is not an error. I am actually releasing two Prolific Ranker articles within the space of a week. Crazy, I know. Anyway, today I will be ranking the four movies that make up the MonsterVerse, a cinematic universe created as an excuse to get Godzilla and Kong to fight. For the record, I enjoy all of these but they’re all very dumb.
Enough talk. Let’s rank.
4. Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)
Starring: Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown
Directed by: Michael Dougherty
The 2014 Godzilla caught a lot of flak for taking too long to introduce the titular monster, so the sequel decided to not make the same mistake, introducing him quickly and giving him plenty of other monsters to fight. There are a couple of problems here though. First, all of the fight scenes, while plentiful, are shot in such a way that they’re very hard to see. They’re always shot at night or while it’s raining or foggy and the camera does a lot of quick cuts. It was a very strange decision from the director to shoot the best parts of this movie in this way. Secondly, there are a lot of human characters here and, apart from Ken Watanabe reprising his role from the 2014 version, none of them are interesting or likable. In fact, one character has a mid-movie character shift where they turn villainous and the logic used is the dumbest thing in any of these four movies, which is saying something because these movies are all ridiculously dumb.
3. Godzilla (2014)
Starring: Bryan Cranston, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen
Directed by: Gareth Edwards
I alluded earlier to the fact that this movie received a lot of criticism for it’s slow introduction to the titular monster. I personally don’t think that’s where the issues lie. Yes, the first half is slow but it does that because it is building up this world, and actually trying to logically explain what is going on and why these giant creatures might start appearing. It is the only movie in this universe to try and be smart, which people took as boring. The first half is pretty much taken up by Bryan Cranston who is excellent and has you really caring about him as a character. The second half doesn’t feature him as much but that’s when we get more Godzilla so, while it’s tonally uneven, it is still quite enjoyable. But it is fair to say that this movie’s two halves are so radically different that it can be jarring. I give this one credit for trying to tell a logical story and also featuring the nicest cinematography in the entire franchise as well.
2. Godzilla vs Kong (2021)
Starring: Alexander Skarsgard, Rebecca Hall, Millie Bobby Brown
Directed by: Adam Wingard
I wrote a full review for this one, which you can check out here, but here is a truncated version of my thoughts. This is the one where they got the right balance of having big, dumb action scenes but also showing them on the screen in the correct way. Yes, they still try to get you to like human characters, but really, ain’t nobody got time for that. We all came for a fight between a giant monkey and a giant lizard, and we get it. And man, it’s really good.
1. Kong: Skull Island (2017)
Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, John C. Reilly
Directed by: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
At the risk of sounding like a stuck record, this movie is really dumb. It also features way too many human characters that nobody really cares about, with the exception of John C. Reilly’s character, who is fun and you care for his story due to his circumstance. This one is a prequel set in the 70’s so it tries to tie the Vietnam war into things and, quite frankly, that stuff doesn’t matter when it comes to a Kong movie. The only real relevance is that half of these characters are soldiers and it explains Sam Jackson’s character’s motivation. Other than that, no relevance whatsoever. But there are some great action sequences and some very creative monster designs on this island. I said the 2014 Godzilla had the best cinematography but this one has the coolest camera work. It is hard to explain but director Jordan Vogt-Roberts takes a lot of influences from both video games and anime, and you feel that come across in some of these shots. So while this doesn’t have the best “typical cinematography”, I think it has maybe the coolest style, if that makes sense. Add to that that it’s much easier to make Kong as a character relatable and likable and you get the reasons why this movie is the most enjoyable to me.
There we go everyone, a nice short one today. I planned on doing a DCEU one of these after the Snyder Cut dropped but I forgot so I might put that one up in a week or so. Other than that, thanks for reading and until next time…