I mentioned a couple weeks ago when I reviewed the Bob Odenkirk shoot-‘em-up Nobody that I was at a bit of a loss to explain my reaction to the movie. It’s not a good movie, and it’s exactly the sort of thing I’d usually hate, but for whatever reason, I didn’t. I thought at the time that might say something about the movie, and maybe it still does, but I’m starting to think now it says more about me.
It’s been a long time since I really enjoyed big action movies. A long time. I think more than anything, I just got numb. Numb to the half-hour fight scenes in the third act of all superhero movies, a number of which I enjoyed when they weren’t fighting. Numb to the computer-generated camera-whipping with no attention to real physical space. So numb that even universally praised thrillers like Mission Impossible: Fallout just turned into noise for me.
But something is shifting. Maybe it’s a thirst for anything after more than a year of a pandemic. I don’t know. But within the last week I watched both Godzilla vs. Kong and Mortal Kombat, two movies that would expect to be big at the box office right now if we lived in a normal world… and I liked them.
The Godzilla one is less surprising—I really do appreciate the massive scale of this new kaiju world they’ve created, and for whatever reason it feels more tactile to me than the Marvel universe. It’s stupid, don’t get me wrong, but it got me kind of juiced up.
Mortal Kombat, on the other hand, is probably objectively bad, at least in its story and structure—BUT! It really benefits from its “R” rating. It has the chance to be super gross, which is one of the obvious draws of the video game, and that increases the fun of the fight scenes. A PG-13 version would have just been an awful slog.
Now, these are just a few pieces of evidence, so we’ll have to see. But if something is changing for me, I welcome it—I like to like things, and my years spent in the action movie wilderness have to end sometime. Right?