Colossal

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In a nutshell:

Colossal does for Kaiju movies what Comic Book movies have been trying to do for the superhero genre for years–infuses it with wit, sophistication, and weight without taking all the fun away.

What I liked about it:

I love the acting from Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis.  Had either one of them phoned it in, their actions would have seemed inconsistent and unbelievable, and the whole thing would have fallen apart. Thankfully, both of them nailed it.

I also love how tight the storytelling is, thematically.  Gloria is out of control. We know this because Tim, her boyfriend, tells her so at the beginning of the movie. At the time, the charge seems an expression of concern aimed primarily at her drinking, but as the movie progresses, we see it’s not really about that at all, not for Tim, and certainly nor for Oscar, the childhood friend she bumps into on the way back into her old home town. It’s about undermining her agency, self-determination, and self-reliance. They may use different strategies with Oscar clearly being the more perverse of the two, but the end goal for each is the same–keeping Gloria safely under thumb. In a particularly satisfying reversal, Tim’s accusation is book-ended near the end of the film, only this time it comes not as a reprimand from Tim, but rather as a statement of emancipation and empowerment from Gloria: “I’m more out of control than ever,” she tells him. And then, because fortunately for us this is a kaiju movie, we get to see what this empowerment looks like played out on a grand scale. If that sounds fun, it’s because it is.

What I didn’t like about it:

I didn’t like what was done or rather not done with the Joel character. There is no sympathetic portrayal of masculinity in the film. I know, I know–Boo Hoo. That’s not what this movie is about, and arguably our entire culture is built on exploitative representations of women, so down with the patriarchy.  Still, I think they missed the boat a bit with his character.  I mean, I’m a beta too. I get it.  But I’m not that beta. Come on, Joel. Grow a pair.

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