All posts by Manic Exorcism

Horror writer and enthusiast.

‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ Review! The Monster Battle We’ve Waited For Is Finally Here!

This is the movie kaiju fans have been ravenously waiting to see! It’s been 7 years in the making, ever since Gareth Edwards brought the world a proper and faithful Western-made Godzilla film with a titanic budget backing it and cutting edge special effects befitting to the King of the Monsters.

Godzilla and King Kong, two of the most groundbreaking monster names in all cinematic history, have not met since the early ’60s. There was a lot of talk in the ’90s to bring these two colossuses back for a battle of the ages and I’m sad that never happened. I love the Heisei Godzilla films and seeing that Godzilla battle a revamped Kong would have been nothing short of extraordinary.

art courtesy of Bob Eggleton

Well, after many decades, after many plans fell by the wayside, and once a new universe of monsters and mayhem had been established – courtesy of Legendary Pictures – the wait has come to an end at long last. The monster clash of the century has finally dawned and fans may rejoice in the neon haze.

Clash of the Titans!

If you’ve been following us here on Nightmare Nostalgia our readers will find it no surprise that I’m a Godzilla fanatic. I mean holy hell, people! If you search Godzilla there are at least 5 pages of Godzilla articles by me! So oh hells yeah, I’m excited about this movie. I’ve been looking forward to watching it for years!

image via Legendary, ‘Godzilla vs Kong’

First off I never thought it’d ever happen. Even while watching Godzilla back in 2014 I didn’t anticipate Legendary’s sensational vision to bring about a thriving MonsterVerse. One filled with classic Toho monsters and a fresh new evaluation of how these beasts would work in our world today.

image via Legendary, ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’

Legendary’s treatment of these movies (Godzilla, Kong: Skull Island, and Godzilla: King of the Monsters) has been with the utmost respect for each creature and project. The filmmakers don’t treat these guys as great big monsters nor have they handled the projects as a ‘big dumb monster movie.’ Unlike the 1998 Godzilla atrocity.

Legendary treats these beasts reverently and as individual characters – and not just some CGI thing – and that’s what makes them work. What separates this series of monster films from many imitators is the fact that the monsters have so much heart and character, just like the original monster films Gojira and King Kong

image via Legendary, ‘Godzilla vs Kong’

Their latest monsterpiece, Godzilla vs. Kong, is no different. And this was not an easy project to bring to life either. Anticipations were high as fans of both beasts wanted to see their Titan done properly. This would have been a movie that easily could have monumentally fucked up – and fuck up hard – had it been handled in lesser experienced hands. I trusted Legendary’s vision and they didn’t disappoint. As far as both monsters go that is.

Let’s get the most obvious fact out of the way. This is a remake, but it’s the kind of remake that works just like Carpenter’s The Thing and Cronenberg’s The Fly. King Kong vs. Godzilla was a fine achievement for Toho back in 1962.

image via Toho, ‘King Kong vs Godzilla’

It was the first time either Kong or Godzilla appeared in color for one thing, and it was the third outing for Godzilla (just like this new film come to think of it) and a completely new take on Kong’s mythos.

In KKVG King Kong was a juice-drinking bachelor living the good life and being worshipped by adoring fans. He kind of had it made…aside from having to kick the shit out of rowdy gigantic sea life every now and then.

Fun fact: this was not the first time Kong appeared in a Toho production. Sadly (as of this date) the original Toho Kong movies are lost to Time but, as has happened before, perhaps they’ll resurface someday. Anyways that’s a topic for another article.

image via Toho, ‘King Kong vs Godzilla’

That original movie also set the formula every other Toho Godzilla project would follow – that being Godzilla vs. (insert monster here). It’s a brilliant formula too and it’s enchanted generations of fans ever since. Because of this movie’s success, it led Toho to quickly follow up with fan-favorite Godzilla vs. Mothra. And the rest is cinematic history!

So being a remake, Godzilla vs. Kong pays faithful tribute to the original (and much adored) Toho classic– and all of us fans are given some pretty nostalgic Easter eggs – while forging a modern classic out of the heat of Godzilla’s flames themselves.

This is a must-watch – I can’t stress that enough – for monster fans and whether you find yourself favoring Kong or if you’re more of a Godzilla nut there is plenty enough in this film to appease and delight fans on both sides.

image via Legendary, ‘Godzilla vs Kong’

Godzilla is shown in all of his raging glory and fans have not long to wait before seeing our Monster King. When he arrives all Hell breaks loose as he obliterates an Apex facility at Pensacola, FA. People flee (helplessly) in terror as he blasts away towers, buildings, and streets nearby. The very air sizzles in the tormenting heat of his inner radiation.

Flesh, blood, and bone melt by the heat of his atomic flames! Something, to be frank, I was expecting to see back in 2014. I was expecting to see the destruction of which Godzilla is very well known for. Godzilla is pure energy, a child of the Apocalypse, born of nuclear terror and he who walks with destruction in his stride. In Legendary he is an ancient Titan come from primordial mystery and awe, so it was nice to see him blast things apart just like he did in the good-old days. Naturally it also plays into the film’s narrative.

image via Legendary, ‘Godzilla vs Kong’

We are given a glimpse of the terror and awe that was revealed back in Gojira. I just wish there could have been a little more.

Kong is our lead though, a powerhouse of brute strength but with sympathy. I swear I keep seeing that beautiful Willis O’Brian touch (from the very original King Kong film) here in Legendary’s Kong. It’s in his eyes and how expressive they are. There is a profound soul behind his gaze and even a crazed G-Fan like myself can’t help but fall in love with Big Monkey.

image via Legendary, ‘Godzilla vs Kong’

Without getting into spoiler territory (yet) I’ll say this really is a Kong adventure-story where we follow him on his quest to kingship. Godzilla is not the villain though, which I theorized earlier. We’ll cover that a bit later though.

The movie is brimming with fantasy and sci-fi adventure. It’s a visual masterpiece that awes its audience. It also (most importantly) gives us a massive slugfest as monster battles monster to the violent end. Enjoy the marvel of seeing two of the most famous monsters of all time beating each other to bits. And yes, the battles – notice I say ‘battles’ because we get a few – are mind blowing.

Now for spoilers!

SPOILERS

Final warning: If you don’t want the movie spoiled for you do not read further.

The rumors and theories were all true. The hidden villain of the film is none other than Mechagodzilla. I fucking knew it.

image via Legendary, ‘Godzilla vs Kong’

Mechagodzilla bursts onto the scene, tearing his wear out of the heart of a mountain, very similar to one of his earliest introductions from Toho, and as he’s born a wave of mayhem ensues. He is the new era of Titans, a new god, brought to life by none other than pure mad science! Don’t you love that? Classic sci-fi stuff right there.

They hint at him from the beginning of the film as we delve into the malicious secrets of Apex and learn of the company’s true intent.

image via Legendary, ‘Godzilla vs Kong’

Science may have built the chrome design of this mecha-nightmare, but the soul of the creature, and yes, at least in this particular case, the machine has a soul, one that’s blighted and thrives on the agony of others, is the DNA harvested from Ghidorah’s skull (just as I predicted from seeing the first trailer).

And he is vicious! I was curious how exactly Mechagodzilla would perform in the movie – like would he be a bulky stiff machine or something? He quickly proves (right off the bat) to be more than Godzilla or Kong could handle on their own. There’s a serpentine way the creature moves, and he possesses surprising agility. He’s out to kill and it could be argued that he is the Second Coming of Ghidorah seeing as he shares the devil’s own DNA.

image via Legendary, ‘Godzilla vs Kong’

So we get the monster team-up fans have always wanted as both kings join forces to take down the terror of Mechagodzilla. As people have been posting on social media (and spoiling the movie left and right) it’s true: Godzilla wins the fight with Kong but Kong ultimately kills Mechagodzilla.

But Kong would have never bested Mechagodzilla without Godzilla powering up that cool axe of his. Yeah, it’s a whole thing and quite awesome.

Mechagodzilla always proved a formidable rogue in the Toho series. He’s easily beaten the ever-living crap out of the King of the Monsters anytime the two ever faced off. And Legendary’s MechaG is armed to the gills with weapons of mass destruction. He’s a great introduction to the series even if Kiryu (Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla) is my favorite MechaG unit.

image via Legendary, ‘Godzilla vs Kong’

Plot

Since Godzilla is played up as the villain from the start it becomes a mystery race for Team Godzilla to discover why he’s attacking seemingly innocent people. Turns out Apex complexes are provoking him and Godzilla destroys each facility only because he believes a rival Titan is challenging him from each one. And he’s right considering it’s Mechagodzilla’s disassembled body parts behind it all. A single eyeball (seriously, his eyeball) emits a signal that just pisses Godzilla right off. Does he sense Ghidorah’s presence in the pulse? I really want to know more about this thing. Because the eyeball (hidden deep in an Apex factory) seems to act like the Orca did in GKOTM.

image via Legendary, ‘Godzilla vs Kong’

Kong’s journey is an adventure tale leading him from the borders of an artificial Skull Island and deep into the heart of the Hollow Earth. Whereas Godzilla’s story plays out as a conspiracy/mystery journey Kong’s story is played up as the hero’s quest to find a kingdom. And we spend a lot of time with Kong. And some of my favorite parts of the film were exploring the Hollow Earth! It was a beautiful place of fantasy and awe. I wanted to spend way more time there exploring all it had to show us. It’s said to be the birthplace of all Titans so who knows what other familiar faces are waiting down there and will appear in future movies?

image via Legendary, ‘Godzilla vs Kong’

And that’s where I do criticize the movie. I went to see this thing in IMAX – the first time I’d been back to a theater since seeing Joker. And after GVK was over I knew I could have (easily) sat an extra 40 mins just to get more details on, well, everything!

Criticism (of Human Characters)

Yeah, we gotta get into this territory.

With the previous three films, we were given plenty of ‘oh that’s cool’ explanations and things flowed fluidly as we followed people trying to figure out who the Titans were and why things were happening the way they were. I think Kong: Skull Island and GKOTM both did this the best. The human characters weren’t that boring and we clearly understood their motives and why they were reacting the way they did to the Titans.

image via Legendary, ‘Godzilla vs Kong’

Not saying GVK doesn’t do that. There is clearly a human villain and his motivations are evident. He wants mankind to be the apex ruler of the world again and will prove his place on top of the food chain by creating Mechagodzilla.

Not to get too into it (but you know I am) but how in the Hell does Apex manage to build an entire Mechagodzilla? Way back in 2014 I remember thinking ‘Wow! Imagine what Mechagodzilla would be like in this world.’ But the thought soon passed because I realized that realistically no one could afford to build that damn thing.

In this case we have the stereotypical business tycoon (Walter Simmons) played by Demián Bichir who just happens to have tunnels running through the earth to serve as his own personal transport. This way he can move his evil robot parts around and other fun black market stuff without anyone noticing. But holy shit how rich is this guy?

Unlike every other movie come before this one the military and government push to control the Titans are all missing. It could easily have been explained that world authorities had pumped all their resources together and given the military the go ahead with preparation for a man-made Titan combatant. That could have been Mechagodzilla’s origin and wouldn’t have taken much to set up. But no, rich guy built him.

The scene that stands out to me though was when Team Godzilla happens upon Ghidorah’s skull. It’s just there because of reasons. We get a quick rambling explanation that it’s fueling MechaG and Ghidorah used telepathy to communicate between his three heads, so this thing can talk to the mecha(?). But I would have liked a little more time knowing how did this thing get into Apex’s hands. I mean I know they must have bought it, but the last time we saw this skull was when Alan Jonah (Charles Dance) bought it off the black market in GKOTM’s post credits.

image via Legendary, ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’

And holy shit did I miss Jonah. Like what happened to him? He was such a great(!) bad guy, definitely in my top 5 favorite Godzilla human baddies, and his absence is heavily felt here. It would have been cool to know that Jonah was the evil mastermind manipulating the CEO of Apex. I’d have liked to know that smarmy businessman who thought he had all the Aces up his sleeve was nothing more than a witless puppet in Jonah’s hands. And perhaps Mechagodzilla was simply a little test for a much bigger horror Jonah had in mind. Oh well.

Most of the Monarch team was missed here too. But no one was more missed than Dr. Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) who died in the previous film. But in GKOTM it looked like Dr. Chen (Ziyi Zhange) was going to be taking his place as the voice of reasonable exposition. In GKOTM she was already explaining Titan myths and lore from across history. In GVK it would have been nice to have her give us a little insight into this ancient rivalry between Kong and Godzilla’s species. That rivalry is just a thing that’s mentioned and never goes anywhere else in the film.

Again to use GKOTM as example, we’re told that Ghidorah is a species come from outer space and that he and Godzilla fought once before. The return of Ghidorah from his icy prison threatened the world as it had in ancient times when he and Godzilla fought once before. So the hatred they both had for one another was clear and understandable. Same way with Kong’s hatred fro the Skull Crawlers in KSI.

In Kong: Skull Island we had an established character (Hank Marlow played by John C. Reilly) in place to explain to us the long feud Kong’s family had with the treacherous Skull Crawlers. They killed Kong’s parents and made it very personal, and they also nearly wiped out the Iwi people. Kong had to fight these beasts to the death to protect all life on Skull Island but everyone feared the day when the Big One came up.

image via Legendary, ‘Godzilla vs Kong’

In the case of both films, Kong: Skull Island and Godzilla: King of the Monsters, both Kong and Godzilla are given villains to battle and there’s a lot of personal trauma caused on both characters by their arch villains. It created tension and excitement when they had to face them. Not to mention whereas Godzilla had Alan Jonah as a master-class baddie Kong had to fight none other than mother-fuckin’ Samuel L. Jackson! Both of these human baddies brought sinister drama to the monsters and it’s brilliant.

image via Legendary, ‘Kong: Skull Island’

In GVK we have conspiracy theorist Bernie Hayes (Brian Tyree Henry) who is running with Team Godzilla and spouting off random bits here and there. I loved this guy – actor not character – in Child’s Play, and I really liked the character at the beginning of GVK but towards the end of the movie I really wished he would just shut up. He quickly became the stereotypical conspiracy theorist nut-job who couldn’t stop talking about the Illuminati and lizard people.

I know I’m bitching a whole lot but this is the first Monsterverse film where the human cast did really bug me. They simply felt one-dimensional when in past films they had depth and a purpose that was immensely relatable in one way or another. And they weren’t forcing comedy on us. When the comedy happened in past films it felt natural.

image via Legendary, ‘Kong: Skull Island’

The one new character who carried her role perfectly was little Kaylee Hottle who plays the lone survivor of the Iwi culture. Her connection with a giant digital ape is so believable and precious. Kong acts as her guardian angel and she’s his voice to humanity. Really she stole every scene she’s in.

image via Legendary, ‘Godzilla vs Kong’

Do the monster battles make up for all this though? Oh hell yes! And my petty criticism can’t change how exciting and impactful the monsters are. And that’s why we go see these movies after all. Once the movie ended I could have easily sat there and watched a movie just about Godzilla and Kong without any human characters.

And that’s the bottom line. If you gotta have human characters at least take the time to make them interesting and give them depth.

Speaking of that I know there was talk about making a movie that went back in time and showed Godzilla and Ghidorah’s first battle. I’d be cool with that. And I’d also be cool with a movie focusing on the ancient rivalry between Kong and Godzilla’s species. I don’t care if there are no people in either film. Just let me see monsters fighting!

image via Legendary, ‘Godzilla vs Kong’

Overall I do love this movie even with my opinions about it. Doesn’t mean it’s bad. It also makes me hope there’s an uncut version of the film out there. At times it feels like scenes are just cut short, that, and, there are two characters listed in the cast who do not appear in the film. One being Dr. Ilene Chen (Zhang Ziyi) and that’s interesting! Where was she? Like I said, she was sorely missed. And a character played by Van Martin who is listed as Dr. Chen’s assistant. There has to be more to this movie than we’ve seen.

image via Legendary, ‘Godzilla vs Kong’

And now that Kong is established in the Hollow Earth who knows what else we’ll get to see in future films? I know that there’s been talk to remake Destroy All Monsters, a Toho film that took place on Monster Island and featured nearly every kaiju from Toho’s legacy. Could there be plans to set up a Legendary version with similar themes?

That and there were rumors of aliens being involved in future films. And you know what that means: GIGAN!

So far GVK has done well and we can only hope it continues to do so so the studios green light some more of these great monster movies.

In the meantime LONG LIVE THE KING!

Could ‘King Kong’ Be the Greatest Movie Ever Made?

King Kong on TV was an event! – Doug Jones (The Shape of Water, Hellboy, Star Trek: Discovery)

I was a monster-loving kid. They were my world back in those mythical days before entering school and being introduced to a broader horizon of realities to come. But for the rest of my life that passion has never faltered or dissolved.

As a kid I would throw on a bath towel and pretend to be Dracula. And of course, my mom, who had an amazing cackle, would play the evil witch with me and that tickled me stupid.

Along with my love for monsters came a deep-rooted passion for dinosaurs, dragons, and Godzilla. They all blended together and just fed my imagination as I ran around our little home roaring and imitating giant monsters I saw on TV.

Oh but then came the day when King Kong aired on TV. My mom knew I couldn’t miss out on this one, and I don’t say it lightly, it was an event! Nothing could stop us from watching this upcoming movie. The name alone captivated me but I had no idea just how blown away I was about to be!

image via RKO Pictures

To set this up, I was young. Like toddler young. My sister wasn’t born yet so I had to be at least 3 or 4. So I’ve just crawled out of diapers and had learned to talk by then and monsters (as previously stated) were my world, and, if I’m being honest, is there any better way to live?

To further set this up this was the early ‘80s. And yes, I’m older than DVDs, the internet, and even Nintendo. Go me! But it also meant watching any movie – let alone something as grand as King Kong – when it came on TV was a very big deal! One, that if missed, you’d never forgive yourself for.

I sat my happy ass in front of the TV to watch nothing less than absolute and pure cinematic magic at its absolute finest. You could not have prepared me for the adventure lying in wait inside that classic movie.

You also couldn’t convince me the movie wasn’t real. King Kong was real. He had to exist! I saw it with my own eyes, by the gods of Midgar! And so were the dinosaurs. They all existed on that mysterious Skull Island where fantasy was allowed to live on.

image via RKO Pictures

The Adventure of Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and Horror!

King Kong has it all, and really, stands as the criteria for all the genres we now love and celebrate. The whole reason why this site exists is to praise the things we grew up loving, and had there not been King Kong to pave the way – not only as a colossal success but also as an inspiration to future dreamers – we would have so much less to cherish and praise.

For example, for all us gamers, King Kong led to a little blockbuster arcade called Donkey Kong. A game Universal sued Nintendo over due to the strangely similar themes the game shared with the movie. But then DK introduced us to Jumping Man, who later would venture through the Mushroom Kingdom on a rampage of crushing death upon turtles and goombas who had the fucking audacity to get in this guy’s way. Sure, it was Super Mario Bros. and that brought the NES into most homes.

But then there were a few of those friends at school who thought those of us who played Nintendo were a bunch of fucks and they had to go get the Sega so they could play Sonic the Hedgehog on. And Sonic was simply a way to compete with Super Mario. And now look at video games today!

All because Nintendo was inspired by King Kong! Though they denied any connection, (cough, cough).

So just as Kong smashed down the gates barring him from the villagers who worshipped him he also broke down barriers of what to expect out of films and pop culture, and he went on to pave a new way for filmmakers and creative minds to come.

image via RKO Pictures

Not just as a monster movie, but as a breakthrough in cinema in every way you can imagine.

The Story Behind The Magic

And we were asleep, my brother and I, and my father, who is a very serious man, if you don’t do sports you don’t exist kind of, isn’t into fantasy or anything like that, came into our bedroom, woke us up, which is unheard of we thought the house was on fire or something, and took us into the living room where we had this tiny TV, and he said, “This is the greatest movie ever made.” David Colton, Senior Editor USA Today

We might take it for granted today, but before King Kong there was simply nothing on earth like it. The closest thing would be The Lost World, a film that greatly influenced the film makers when making King Kong, but Kong took those concepts and upgraded them to the max.

image via RKO Pictures

So what makes it so special? What is it about this movie that drives film critics nuts to talk about it?

On its surface, the film is a majestic tale of colossal adventure. At the age I saw it I missed out on all the subtext the movie has to offer though. All I could focus on was the sprawling adventure: a majestic sea voyage that quickly turns into a prehistoric jungle adventure but then quickly becomes a monster masterpiece!

The flow of the film – aside being a testimony to the director’s talent – is seamless. The story builds upon poor Ann Darrow (Fay Wray), a starving young woman who must steal for her food is offered the opportunity of a lifetime. Money, fame, and the promise she’ll never have to go hungry again are all offered to her and just like that she sets out to live the Hollywood dream.

image via RKO Pictures

Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong), on the other hand, is desperate to make the greatest movie of all time. Something no one will soon forget and in this meta journey the director happens upon his lead actress as if the stars above have aligned and these two strangers were meant to cross paths and venture out on a wild voyage towards destiny.

Landing upon an unknown island, the two discover a land forgotten by Time, a place purposely hidden by God, a place untouched by modern man, and once modern man enters into this wild Eden all Hell breaks loose as we upset a natural order that’s existed since humanity crawled out of the primordial ooze.

Oh and little Ann is offered up as sacrifice to the island’s alpha predator, a beast we know as King Kong.

That’s when the film really takes off as we’re then, not only introduced to Kong himself in a mesmerizing reveal, but we soon learn about the terrors that reign supreme across the island itself. Primarily dinosaurs!

image via RKO Pictures

Little did my little child brain know that dinosaurs live in the swamps and jungles of this island! I was beside myself with excitement! I can’t imagine the impact this film had on its first audiences.

And – fucking hell! – the filmmakers knew what we wanted! They gave us some extraordinary scenes of these creatures. Brontosaurus, T-Rex, stegosaurus, plesiosaurus, and a pterodactyl all wreak havoc on not only our cast of heroes but also prove challenging to the titular hero of the movie itself, Kong!

image via RKO Pictures

My favorite part, as a kid, was seeing King Kong fighting a ferocious T-Rex! As a kid that was pure magic. I mean he had to fight my favorite dinosaur of all time. And that blew my mind. Today, that is still my favorite scene but for much deeper reasons. I’m still enthralled by the scene and how they made it work! It’s ingenious and for its time it was perfection.

image via RKO Pictures

I mean not only is Kong and a T-rex just wrestling around, but these beasts are flipping each other over their backs, getting tossed in the air, knocking down trees, and climbing atop each other as they both fight to the death. And this is all done by stop motion and it just feels so realistic.

Credit goes out to Willis O’Brien who was the stop-motion animator of The Lost World – a film that inspired King Kong – and, of course, King Kong. The animation talent behind Kong is breathtaking and holds up in 2021. It’s a piece of cinematic special effects history at it’s finest.

It’s worth mentioning that O’Brian also brought Mighty Joe Young to life, another big ape movie that’s worth seeing.

image via RKO Pictures

Merian C. Cooper, uncredited director of the film, must have been a fan of Jules Verne (Around the World in 80 Days, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea), a writer who is considered the Father of Science Fiction and is praised for his stories of world-challenging adventures to mysterious locations and the horrors (and giants) awaiting there.

Cooper’s imagination must have been brimming with adventures of unexplored far-off places where the layers of mystery veil the wonders that await us there.

image via RKO Pictures

And Merian C. Cooper was one hell of an interesting character. Not scared of a goddamn thing. The man survived a plane crash and was nearly mauled to death by a tiger while filming a shot.

He had the heart of a true adventurer, one that converted over to characters in his films. In reality the lead character of Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong) really is Mr. Cooper, a driven director Hell-bent on making the greatest movie ever filmed.

And really, I think Merian C. Cooper did just that.

image via RKO Pictures

So at its heart, it’s one helluva great adventure story, but it’s also a modernized retelling of the fairy tale classic Beauty and the Beast. In this case, the Beast is taken out of his castle of mystery and forced to deal with the skyscrapers of New York.

image via RKO Pictures

But the movie is more than just a ‘monster movie’ and won over film goers and critics alike. The movie pulled in viewers on a weekly basis despite the pesky little fact that it was released during the Great Depression! Now that’s fascinating.

The movie just works. In every way – the beauty of Fay Wray brings it romance, Denham gives us the adventure, the crew fills in the horror as the dinosaurs viciously attack them, and, I must insist, dinosaurs in movies need to be scary! The fantasy of Skull Island enthralls our imaginations and finally seeing Kong rampaging through New York is pure science fiction at its finest.

This is a movie history needed to happen.

As stated before, it gave audiences a magnificent distraction from the daily drudgery of the Great Depression. And it’s proven to be more than simply a product of its time as it’s reached out to kindle the flame of imagination across generations. No one watches King Kong without somehow being inspired by it.

Size Matters!

One of the greatest moments in my life (as a fan) was being at a convention and seeing King Kong face to face. I got to meet that little and sweet armature that climbed the Empire State Building and swatted fighter planes out of the sky. I couldn’t believe it! I stood in front of King Kong and all that nostalgic enchantment swept through me all over again.

It’s incredible how much life was put into that tiny armature. But that’s the brilliance of filmmaking. When I was a kid I sincerely believed Kong was real and, as an adult, I found myself standing in front of the real King Kong, in the presence of true magic.

image courtesy of Peter Jackson

And I cannot leave out the beautiful matte paintings that brought Skull Island to life. Being inspired by Gustave Dore, King Kong’s realm looks so lush and that jungle is rich in depth! I was shocked when I learned that was all done by painted glass.

But the way the puppets are set in the background and lumber about gives that glass imperial life. The jungle doesn’t just look real, it feels real. It has life, and it is brimming with danger. But, in a wild twist, it feels entirely other worldly.

image via RKO Pictures

Before I move on here’s a fun fact. King Kong is the first movie to feature character themes in its soundtrack. Today it’s a given that – and largely thanks to Jaws and Star Wars – characters should have their own themes. You hear the Imperial March and you think of Darth Vader. That’s just how it goes. But King Kong was the first movie to feature individual character themes.

It Broke Open A Way For Adventure, Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Horror!

Chances are if you name any of the big-name directors today King Kong had an impact on them. The reason a lot of them got into movie making in the first place was all due to seeing King Kong! They saw that movie and had to go work their own magic.

image via Universal

Think of any giant monster movie you know today and it will have ties back to the original King Kong. But among them all, there’s one name that stands out more than all the rest. And that name is GODZILLA!

No, wait, there’s that of course, but we’ll get to that later. What I meant is Ray Harryhausen. I mean Clash of the Titans is credit alone! The Kraken attack is still exciting. But there are the Sinbad films too, and that moment when you see the Cyclops stomping out of the cave. It’s all a tribute to the magic of Kong.

image via Universal

Peter Jackson, who, in 2004, gave us a beautiful remake of the Kong legacy, was heavily influenced by the original film. And Jackson is very vocal about it, King Kong is his absolute favorite movie.

It’s what got him into making movies. That stands to reason that had it not been for King Kong I can honestly say we would not have the legendary LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy.

image via Warner Bros

Something about the last march of the Ents rings of King Kong to me btw.

Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy, The Shape of Water, and Pan’s Labyrinth) is another King Kong fan.

I could go on and on. So many of our favorite classic films, horror, fantasy, you name it, are all directly influenced by the 8th Wonder of the World.

Oh Hell, even Rob Zombie credits King Kong as to why he started making movies. So in a way the Devil’s Rejects, Hell, Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig RIP) lives on in fans’ hearts thanks to Kong!

image via Universal

Directors, special effects artists, and actors all share a love for Kong’s magic. Due to all the movie has influenced it can be said King Kong molded pop culture and turned it into what it is today.

And the film was an international hit too. Sea borders couldn’t contain the beast as cultures around the world were uniquely captured by and reacted to Kong’s might and majesty.

Godzilla sure wouldn’t exist without Kong’s titanic success. So heavily was the influence over the project that Godzilla was originally planned to be stop motion. Now that would have been interesting but I’m glad they changed their minds. Godzilla went on to make history himself and likewise stands as an imperial icon amidst pop culture. And his legacy lives on today, right alongside King Kong.

It’s no secret I’m more of a Godzilla fan, and all you gotta do is search Godzilla on here to see how much the kaiju has influenced me. But I love Kong too and praise him for the impact he’s had on genre fans across generations.

And that brings us to today. Godzilla and King Kong are coming back together for a battle of the ages! It’s the monster fight fans have wanted since they first watched Toho’s original King Kong vs. Godzilla from the ‘60s.

image via Warner Bros. and Legendary

We wanted more! And we’re getting it!

So is King Kong the greatest movie ever made? Honestly, how can it not be? Given not only all it’s achieved over the years, and not to mention the impact it’s singularly had over multiple generations, but also every single person it’s inspired, and how they, the dreamers, went on to further enlighten generations with their own visions of adventure and horror of the great and mighty fantastique, King Kong is more than deserving to stand as the greatest film ever made.

image via Warner Bros. and Legendary

And Kong lives on to this very day! Without any sign of slowing down.

Thanos vs Darkseid: When Marvel And DC Crossed Over In Comic History

It might shock many fans to know that there is canon evidence of Thanos and Darkseid meeting in a battle to the death.

It’s a story of worlds colliding and two universes spilling one into another. The comic powerhouses of Marvel and DC gave fans one helluva’n epic crossover. One with plenty of victories on both sides, and, let’s be honest, the one thing fans needed to know: who would win in a fight, Thanos or Darkseid?

image via DC and Marvel

So we’re going to take a look at both characters, study their abilities and accomplishments, then prove to be proper geeks and wager which one will walk away victor over the other.

Darkseid


In 1970 Darkseid is revealed to the world of comics and ferociously became a menacing threat.

image via DC

This 8-foot tall mastermind rules from the Hell-existence of Apokolips and is an atrocity against all living things.

His divine power has proven to be the main scourge against those who oppose him and few have ever stood before him and lived to tell about it.

image via DC

Powers Include:

Omega beams – red laser beams that cut across matter and end it by a mere touch.

It takes a god to meet godlike strength though and Superman is one of the few who has withstood a powerful blast from one of Darkseid’s Omega Beams.

Anti Life Equation – the devastating ability to control sentient life. A domination of the will.

Emotional turmoil breaks the dikes of the mind– And releases the flood in which we must fish, Desaad! Perhaps in this very city is the mind which will yield the Anti-Life Equation! The ability to control all free will!” Darkseid

– DC Fandom
image via DC

Imperial strength – Small example, he crushed a Green Lantern ring with his bare fist. Something thought to be impossible to do. He wields exceeding might and a cunning mind to match his brute power

More powers – Immortality, the power to read minds and control them, and a fondness for breaking people’s souls. Not to mention he’s a genius and has turned thousands of worlds to ash heaps.

He’s easily taken down the Justice League before, but, rather than killing them he’d much rather corrupt them, destroy their will rather than their bodies, and force his once-enemies to serve under his throne.

image via DC

Not to mention that in his infancy he battled Olympian Gods, the full military might of Atlantis, and taken on the Amazons in their prime. All on his own I might add.

And did he break a sweat? Fuck no!

Origins

He is a descendent of the Old Gods, an ancient order perhaps older than time, an order he resented. By manipulation and lies, he sat back and allowed his own kind to decimate themselves while he rode in to drain and store up their energies for his own.

He forsook his given name, Uxas, and retitled himself Darkseid. Feeling now superior in his newfound might and majesty he took on his father, Yuga Khan, slew him in battle, and ended the ancient order, then proclaimed himself a New God.

image via DC

As aforementioned, he rules from Apokolips, an industrial Hell-scape planet, a thriving world of agony serving as a manifestation of its Master’s dark imagination.

He also possesses incredible powers of regeneration which grants him the gift of rebirth. He cannot be killed and will come back again, and again.

image via DC

He is Satan in the mythos of DC and to battle the Devil one needs a Messiah, Kal-El.

And Superman has been able to hurt and drive Darkseid back. Though it did take the whole Justice League to stop the daemonic will of the New God.

image via DC

By his hands alone planets have crumbled. Hundreds of thousands of planets have been left in ruin in his wake. He is relentless in pursuit of his goals as well as in battle. Perhaps his most deadly weapon is in fact his mind.

Thanos

Three years after the comic world met Darkseid, Thanos was introduced in Marvel Comics. He first appeared in The Invincible Iron Man # 55 of February 1973. To be fair, to those who say Darkseid is a copy of Thanos, the facts are the other way around.

image via Marvel

The ‘90s is when Thanos’s infamy took off (primarily due to Infinity Gauntlet 1991) and is how the character is now known among comic fans. I say comic fans because most people today know the Mad Titan thankfully due to the highly successful MCU where he’s served as the proverbial thorn in the Avengers’ side.

Marvel Studios spent ten years building the character’s infamy throughout their Avengers films. The end result was seen in Avengers: End Game where the whole Marvel Cinematicverse came together to fight Thanos and his army in a climatic battle.

Thanos is 6 feet tall and purple-skinned with a gnarly-looking chin. He is a descendent of the Eternals and a Titan. Due to a mutation in his genes (due to his lineage) he not only has the powers of an Eternal but to a magnified degree.

image via Marvel

I might also point out that (at least in his early days) he was dating Death herself. It might shock modern Marvel fans to learn that originally the Infinity War was, in part, a plan Thanos made in order to impress Death. Yup, he was a simp.

image via Marvel

Abilities:

He has super stamina and speed, plus a cool ability to absorb and master cosmic energy. He can manipulate matter itself and weaponize it to lethal effect. He is a master tactician. He is a warlord, trained by the best warmasters on his homeworld of Titan.

He’s easily beaten both Thor and Odin (gods), defeated a raging Hulk, and, took a double-fisted stab from Wolverine’s blades then shook it off as though it was nothing. He’s also punched Captain America’s shield into smithereens. And in the movie, threw a fucking moon at Iron Man.

image via Marvel

That shit’s hardcore.

He’s fought every major Marvel super hero you can name and remained on his feet while they each lay broken under his boots.

Origins And Accomplishments:

He was born on Saturn’s moon Titan, and, as aforementioned, is a descendent of Eternals.

image via Marvel

He led a mass genocide against his own race, slaughtering his own kind, and left Titan a wasted moon, or planet (something hinted at in Avengers: Infinity War) if you prefer, all just to impress the love of his life, Mistress Death.

He’s also known for murdering his own offspring, because what a nice guy.

Oh Snap

image via Marvel

What he’s most known for today – thanks to the cinematic interpretation of the character – is zealously gathering the Infinity Stones.

Or, to be more specific, using the infamous Infinity Gauntlet to snap away half the galaxy.

However, the events of Infinity Gauntlet (what Avengers: Infinity War/End Game are based off of) differ greatly as far as comic and film are both concerned.

Because…

image via Marvel

Well, you see, there was this girl…

Yup, Thanos had a crush on (possibly) the most powerful being in the universe. That being Mistress Death, as in Death. No not Lady Death, but you get the picture. Lady Death is still my crush.

image via Avatar

Unlike his galactic goals in the Avengers films, Thanos was out to impress that special lady in his life.

To the point where he’s literally on his knees groveling at her feet. It’s actually really awkward at times.

image via Marvel

But being brought back from the dead must do that to a guy. Mistress Death did seek Thanos out from among the dead and brought him back for a specific purpose.

Mistress Death knew there were more living beings across the universe than it could handle and so chose Thanos to do her dirty work. In return he worshipped her. He gladly would have been her sub.

It’s something that’s not talked about today, but, and shockingly I say this, before Anakin Skywalker was gushing over Padme, Thanos was desperate to get the slightest smirk of recognition from Death.

image via Marvel

It almost plays out like she’s the hot goth chick who couldn’t care less. And I’m dead serious this is how the comics canon went.

She uses him as her tool to vanquish half the sentient life across the universe. And he does so faithfully, almost as if on a whim.

Could you imagine if they went in that direction for the cinematic universe?

image via Marvel

Infinity’s Finale

Unlike the events of the film Avengers: Infinity War or End Game, Thanos’s master plan -to snap away most life across the cosmos – is undone by Adam Warlock.

Cinematically Infinity War and End Game largely adapt Infinity Gauntlet, but what I love more about the actual comic run is the sheer number of Marvel heroes present for the fight. 

image via Marvel

Primarily, the two most important characters, both Adam Warlock and the Silver Surfer, are, sadly, largely absent from the films. And they’re both paramount to the story.

Not to mention Galactus’ role as well as his fellow Cosmic Beings. Speaking of which, Silver Surfer tackles Thanos on a cosmic level while Warlock defeats the Mad Titan from the heart of the Infinity Gauntlet itself – the Soul Stone.

We’re even given a cool glance into the Soul Realm where Warlock operates.

image via Marvel

From within the Soul Stone Warlock discovers a deeply buried truth about Thanos – he doesn’t feel worthy of unlimited power. Because of this Thanos purposely sets up scenarios where he will be defeated just as he’s enjoying the fruit of his labors.

That alone chips away at his super villain rights.

image via Marvel

Unlike Palpatine from Star Wars, Jafar from Aladdin, Magneto from X-Men, or Darkseid in DC, Thanos knows he is unworthy of limitless power and allows himself to be constantly thwarted by mortals time and time again.

And therein could be the emotional appeal with his fans. The guy just wants the girl he loves to recognize his devotion. And despite all of his cunning and hard work he is a ‘man’ with self-doubt. He’s kind of just as fucked up as the rest of us.

image via Marvel

I may offend people now with what I’m about to say, but there are other villains in Marvel comics I’ve liked more than Thanos. Such as Galactus who just roams around the universe looking for planets to devour. I always thought that concept was scary on a Lovecraftian level.

Like imagine waking up one day and seeing a massive face filling the whole sky as Galactus prepares to eat Earth.

Thanos held godhood in his grip, he masterfully took down his enemies, wiped his ass with the Avengers, and basically called the universe a big bowl of bull fuck. He even went so far to become Eternity himself but then ‘conveniently’ lost the all-powerful Infinity Gauntlet to his daughter Nebula who then restored the galaxy back to normal.

Long story short Warlock ends up with the IG and promises to govern creation as a benign god.

image via Marvel

Thanos held omnipotence but inadvertently gave it all up.

It’s worth noting that Thanos was once defeated by Squirrel Girl. I had to look this one up too because I had no clue who the Hell she was. I was too busy reading Uncanny X-Men and McFarlane’s Spider-Man run I guess. But she has a bushy tail and can talk to squirrels. Her victory over Thanos is listed as ‘ambiguous.’ Well now I wanna see a movie about this fight!

A Mad Titan vs. The New God

image via DC and Marvel
  • Cinematically Thanos takes the win here. As of yet we haven’t seen Darkseid reveal all the Hell of Apokolips upon audiences. Not yet. A thing, thanks to Zack Snyder, will be remedied very soon in upcoming Justice League.

So Thanos will have some cinematic competition soon (March 18, 2021).

Physically, Darkseid stands two-feet taller than Thanos but in pure strength, it would be a very brutal, and, possibly, equal fight. However, Darkseid is without morals and has conquered multiverses in his evil pursuits.

image via DC

Also, Darkseid’s fetish is to destroy his foes’ souls. So I could see Darkseid targeting Mistress Death, turning her to his side by using the Anti Life Equation, and then punching her face off and make Thanos wear her bones like a necklace.

And Darkseid has no self-doubts. He knows he is worthy to rule everything and will not stop until its all his.

image via DC and Marvel

Unlike the devastation wrought by a snap of Thanos’s fingers, the cataclysms brought about by Darkseid cannot be undone. He will not relinquish power or put himself in a position to be compromised.

It would be a battle of intellect between two genius strategists too. Both have commanded legions of armies across the galaxy. However, going by their individual philosophies alone Thanos seeks to bring harmony to the galaxy by means of genocide. Darkseid seeks to rule it all.

Ok enough speculation. What actually happened when the two crossed over?!

When the two finally came face to face the question was answered: who would win in a fight?

image via DC and Marvel

Thanos approached the battle with respectful threat. Darkseid, however, dropped all candor, called Thanos a pale imitation of himself (BURN) and proceeded to tear the Infinity Gauntlet off Thanos’s arm – hand included in gauntlet. And just like that, the battle was over.

image via DC and Marvel

Now holding the power of the coveted Infinity Gauntlet Darkseid, having no need or use for it at all, tosses it aside. After all, he’s managed to annihilate over half the multiverse without the aid of mystical and cosmic stones.

Also, since the gauntlet was made in the Marvel universe it was purely useless in DC’s universe. Because of reasons.

image via DC and Marvel

When the story of Marvel vs DC was being planned out publishers from both sides made decisions for how certain battles would conclude. But they also allowed fans to determine the outcome of certain battles as well.

So this battle left some fans cheering while others were pissed.

Is this controversial? Oh, fuck yes, I know it is. And knowing its potential divisiveness was not lost on me. However, this is an event from our past, a moment many fans wanted to see, a crossover that needed to happen.

Fan of Both Sides

I grew up reading Marvel for the most part. With Batman and Superman being the exceptions of course.

As result, I got to know (and love) lots of Marvel’s rogues and my absolute favorites were always Magneto, Dr. Doom, Venom, Carnage, Apocalypse, Mephisto, Galactus, Scorpion, Electro…and this could go on and on.

image via DC and Marvel

Thanos, as far as the comics are concerned, just never really impressed me much. I admit I’m more of a fan of his cinematic portrayal than the ‘90s era comic run. And the dude was beaten by Squirrel Girl. That’s just hilarious.

As I got older I began reading more DC and thanks to Watchmen, Killing Joke, Dark Knight Returns, and Death of Superman enough of my interest was piqued that I’m still collecting comics today.

I’m more of a retro Marvel fan, meaning my favorite era is certainly the ‘90s when Jim Lee and Todd McFarlane were part of the artistic team.

Fuck sake McFarlane made Lizard and Hobgoblin Hellishly awesome! Not to mention Venom!

As a fan, I’ve seen Thanos reinvented on the silver screen and I applaud it. Amazing stuff, seeing the Avengers assemble and come to life to battle the Mad Titan was a treat!

But, also, as a fan, I cannot wait to see Snyder’s original vision of the Justice League finally take off and bring me Darkseid at long last!

It’s an event I’ve waited for for a very long time.

image via DC

Our heroes are now brought to life! And with them a host of challenging super villains. Whatever side you find yourself on don’t let fandom divide us. We’re a family and just as our comic publishers crossed over for fun there’s nothing wrong with loving both sides or having a side you favor.

For goodness sake Thanos got beaten by Squirrel Girl! I just found out about that and holy shit I love it. It’s little things like that that keep me smiling.

It’s a mean world out there and if heroes taught us anything it’s to stand (strong) together.