On the latest edition of The Substandard (subscribe and/or leave a review!), JVL, Vic, and I discussed Kong: Skull Island and other sundry monster movies. Give it a listen!
I have to say, I've never really been entirely taken by the whole creature feature thing, which probably helps explain why I was so down on Kong: Skull Island even as much of the rest of the critical corps was writing positively about it. It's not like I'm opposed to silly, mindless fun, per se—I like comic book movies! I'm "cool" and "hep to what's happening," as the kids say—but something about watching special effects punch each other has always left me feeling cold. There's rarely any real emotion in these pictures.
Perhaps this is why, on the podcast, I mentioned the fight between Hellboy and The Last Elemental in Hellboy II: The Golden Army. Here are the clips of its birth and Hellboy's fight with it:
But the key scene is actually the one that comes after, when the Elf Prince Nuada (Luke Goss) queries Hellboy (Ron Perlman) about why he is killing the massive monster. "What are you waiting for?" the villain asks Hellboy, who is about to deliver the final shot killing the elemental. "Look at it. The last of its kind. Like you and I. You destroy it, the world will never see its like again. You have more in common with us, than with them. You could be a king!"
The battle with the monster helps illuminate Hellboy's internal struggle, the fight between his desire to be loved and accepted by humanity and his knowledge that his monstrous appearance—his bright red skin, his massive stone hand, his constantly growing horns—will always cast him as an outsider more quickly feared than loved. Nuada is right: Hellboy does have more in common with the massive green monster than the baby he just saved or the ungrateful mother the child is delivered to. And that just makes his plight all the sadder.