With the release of the much anticipated 'Godzilla vs Kong', I thought it is a good time to sit down and rank all 3 of the films within the monster universe. We are finally going to see the two iconic creatures go toe to toe in a big-budget film so it is the perfect time to do so.
Keep in mind, this is just my opinion. I know for everybody else that these movies might be in a different order. This is not the definitive list on the monsterverse. It is just my list. Let me know in the comments how you would rank these films. But for now, let's get in it.
3. 'Godzilla: King of the Monsters'
Coming in the last place is the third installment within the monster universe, 'Godzilla: King of the Monsters.' As I did enjoy this film for what it is, I do not think that it has a good story. The story and characters in this film hold it back from being higher on this list.
The story is primarily about waking up the rest of the monsters that have been asleep for some time. When the monsters awake, we see Godzilla fight them off. Other than waking the monsters up and the evil plan for the monsters that are within the story, the characters do not have a whole lot to do here. They are paper-thin and boring as hell.
The only thing that is worth the watch in 'Godzilla: King of the Monsters' is, of course, Godzilla. The fight scenes between the monsters are so much fun to watch. At times they are hard to watch because it is so dark and there are close-up shots that do not show a whole lot. However, there are plenty of fight scenes to enjoy. And when they do happen, they are fun to watch.
I won't go into too much detail about this film because I already have a review on it and you can check it out below. It's an enjoyable creature feature that offers enough action to have fun with. However, it does not have enough of a story or interesting characters to rank it higher on the list.
- 'Godzilla: King of the Monsters' - Is It Worth Your Time?
Godzilla returns to the big screen to battle monsters and take his place as king! With a 41% from critics, but an 83% from audience on Rotten Tomatoes, the reviews are mixed. So, is this movie worth you time?
2. 'Kong: Skull Island'
'Kong: Skull Island' is the second film released within the MonsterVerse franchise. 'Kong' is set in 1973 and follows a group of people researching an unexplored island in hopes of discovering something that no man has ever witnessed. What begins as a mission to research the island turns into a deathly journey to stay alive after it is discovered that something more sinister lives on the island.
What I liked most about this film are the characters. The Godzilla films within this universe receive bad raps because of their characters. The two characters in 'Kong: Skull Island' that stick out to me are Samuel L. Jackson and John C. Reilly. These two alone are better than other characters in this universe.
Jackson portrays a war-ridden colonel who knows nothing but war. When we first meet him, he is almost sad that the Vietnam war is over. He is angry that they did not win the war, and this leads right into the story. Right when they make it to Skull Island, Jackson’s character finds his new war with Kong. He begins to lose his mind because he has to be at war with something. For me, this created a character, that I didn’t root for, but I liked to see on screen. On the side burner, we also have his soldiers who do not want to be there. They were ready to head for Key West but were thrust into this mission instead. These soldiers do not necessarily want a war but are just following orders. Which also creates an interesting story throughout the film, especially during the end battle scene.
On the other hand, we have Reilly’s character, who has been on the island for 28 years. We learn during the opening scene that he crashed on Skull Island and we meet him again 28 years later. His character was so interesting for me because it adds some heart to the story. He is a guy who has been stuck in a place full of monsters and no way to get home. We also learn during the film that he has a wife and son, who he’s never met, waiting for him back home. For a film that is about monsters and a giant ape, this human element is a nice refresher to connect with.
Another thing that worked for me was Kong himself. The Godzilla films are action-filled films that don’t really make you feel anything for Godzilla other than it is cool to see him destroy stuff. Kong has emotions. The way he stares at certain characters, you can see in his eyes that he is not a bad guy. Compare that to Godzilla who is a huge emotionless lizard… You don’t get the same emotional connection as you do with Kong. This is a little aspect of the film, but it makes all the difference when you can actually engage with Kong.
Lastly, this film is just a lot of fun. The film is not shot as if it was a movie from the ’70s, but the atmosphere feels as if we are in the Vietnam era. Reminiscent of Apocalypse Now, Kong feels like a Vietnam War movie with Kong on Skull Island. The way that the filmmakers decided to frame certain shots raise this above a typical action film. It doesn’t feel like a loud, lackluster film with a lot of action sequences. It feels like they actually took the time to make it look beautiful as the action pans out. There are scenes where Kong is engulfed in flames and Samuel L. Jackson stands by watching with red in his eyes, but the way it is shot makes it an epic viewing experience.
'Kong: Skull Island' has elements of action and horror with a little comic relief. The characters and beautiful cinematography with incredible visual effects step this film up above your typical action film. The only thing I wish is that we would have seen a lot more of Kong himself, but I guess we need the human characters... right?
Coming out as the champion in the monsterverse is the film that started it all, 'Godzilla'. 'Godzilla' is about a nuclear plant incident in which Joe Brody (played by Bryan Cranston) loses his wife. With the help of his son, Brody seeks to uncover the truth behind the incident, believing that something far more dangerous is out there.
In my opinion, the direction in which the filmmakers decided to take this film is what makes it so good. A lot of complaints are that we don't get to see enough Godzilla. This is true because he isn't in the film for very long. However, the story and pacing make it interesting nonetheless. I think they were able to capture Godzilla in an eerie and mysterious way as if we were witnessing Godzilla through the character's eyes. We see snip bits of Godzilla as they shoot flares in the air or fall near him during a halo jump. I think the way that they slowly reveal Godzilla in full offers a big payoff when we finally do get to see him in battle.
The characters in 'Godzilla' do not have a lot to do and are not that great, honestly. Where I think this film works better than 'Kong: Skull Island' is the action. It was hard to choose which I liked better because they are both great films. 'Godzilla' is just a badass creature and it is so much fun to watch him destroy the city. Although I loved the '70's throwback atmosphere of Kong, I like even better the dark, grim, almost horror-esque vibe to this film. For me, this is what makes this film rise above its predecessor.
'Godzilla' is much like 'Man of Steel' in the sense that I find something new to enjoy every time I watch it. I think 'Man of Steel' is the most underrated superhero flick ever made and it gets better with every view. This is how 'Godzilla' is for me. So, it may be an unpopular opinion, but 'Godzilla' is an incredible action film that offers awesome monster fights and a good enough story for the film.