Everyone is about to find out the answer to the question: Who would win out of Godzilla and King Kong if they were to go toe-to-toe in a rock-em-sock-em city-destroying brawl (or several brawls)? That’s kinda the entire premise of the MonsterVerse’s latest movie, Godzilla Vs. Kong. But which of these two icons of cinema would come out on top if the playing field were…. Dancing with the Stars? Or, say, The Great British Bake Off? Ahead of the new movie’s release, Rotten Tomatoes correspondent Nikki Novak sat down with the huge cast – which includes Millie Bobby Brown, Alexander Skarsgård, Demián Bichir, Rebecca Hall, and more – to see which monster they think would dominate on various reality TV shows. It wasn’t all fun and games, though: Novak also went deep on the long-coming clash of the titans, asking Brown, Skarsgård, Bichir, Hall, and fellow co-stars Julian Dennison, Eiza González, and Kaylee Hottle, what it was like to share the big screen with the big guys and how they worked to bring a bit of heart and soul to all the mayhem. Plus, director Adam Wingard reveals that he wanted the movie to be even bigger (!) and why audiences should keep their eyes peeled for action movie easter eggs.

Godzilla Vs. Kong is in theaters and available on HBO Max from March 31, 2021.


On an Apple device? Follow Rotten Tomatoes on Apple News.

This is the showdown we’ve all been waiting for, whether it’s been for the 59 years since the release of the cheesy old King Kong vs. Godzilla movie, through the three previous installments of the MonsterVerse franchise (particularly the divisive Godzilla: King of the Monsters), or just over the past year, hoping for a big blockbuster spectacle again.

Does Godzilla vs. Kong live up to expectations? For the most part, yes, according to the first reviews tied to the movie’s international release. It delivers on its title, and if you expect more than that, you probably shouldn’t. Still, this crossover sequel is said to pay off with great-looking action, if the cost is just a goofy plot and uninteresting scenes with puny humans.

Here’s what critics are saying about Godzilla vs. Kong:


Do you get what you came for?

When it comes to the promise of its title, Godzilla vs Kong delivers immensely.
– Kshitij Rawat, The Indian Express

If you’re going into this movie to watch Godzilla and Kong exchange blows and public property be destroyed in creative ways, you will get your money’s worth.
– Prahlad Srihari, Firstpost

The kind of gloriously silly blockbuster we haven’t seen in over a year, Godzilla vs. Kong revels in its own outlandish premise and delivers everything you paid for.
– Doug Jamieson, The Jam Report

[It’s] the best monster movie in years… It is everything you would want in this face-off.
– Jonathan Roberts, The New Paper

With its entertainment factor turned up to 11, Godzilla vs. Kong lives up to its promise of a monster good time.
– Matthew Pejkovic, Matt’s Movie Reviews

[It] never cuts loose the way a film titled Godzilla vs Kong should.
– Anthony Morris, It’s Better in the Dark


How are the fight scenes?

The two Titans cross paths several times in this chaotic spectacle and the results are nothing short of breathtaking… Its action and thrills are immaculate.
Doug Jamieson, The Jam Report

[It] will appeal to anyone who knows how much joy can be sparked watching a giant monkey lay the boot into an enormous, laser-breathing lizard.
Anthony O’Connor, FILMINK

Once the two CGI titans take their swings on one another – the sequence itself is glorious in its stupidity.
Peter Gray, The AU Review

The final clash (which takes place in an urban setting) could have had a bit more variety as far as the visuals go.
Anthony Morris, It’s Better in the Dark


Godzilla vs. Kong

(Photo by )

So the action is better than in the last movie?

Unlike in King of the Monsters, the colors here don’t overwhelm the frame to such an extent it becomes hard to see the action… It features some of the most seamless mayhem there ever was.
Prahlad Srihari, Firstpost

Unlike the previous Godzilla film, the action sequences aren’t hidden by a haze of clouds, smoke, or dust. Wingard showcases every move in the open.
Doug Jamieson, The Jam Report

Responding to earlier criticisms, Godzilla vs. Kong is stuffed with inventively staged action, most of which now takes place in broad daylight.
James Marsh, South China Morning Post


But what if I liked King of the Monsters?

If King of the Monsters tickled you, then this monstrous battle should suffice. If not, and you want your mindless action to have a little more ironic intelligence, this is one fight not worth the spectator fee.
Peter Gray, The AU Review

The storyline’s silliness might be a deal-breaker for those who appreciated the 2014 iteration’s more sombre storytelling.
Harris Dang, Impulse Gamer


How is Adam Wingard as director?

Wingard proves to be the right director for the job. He clearly knows what the fans and audiences alike want and for that, he delivers.
Casey Chong, Casey’s Movie Mania

Adam Wingard knows exactly what you came to Godzilla vs. Kong to see and he’s happy to serve it up in absolute spades.
Doug Jamieson, The Jam Report

Director Adam Wingard… treats Godzilla and Kong as action stars.
Jonathan Roberts, The New Paper

He has solid timing regarding being sincere and tongue-in-cheek with the story. It makes the time spent on the cast increasingly palatable.
Harris Dang, Impulse Gamer

Wingard has previously focused on smaller scale horror, which may explain why this really lacks the (occasional) sense of awe the earlier films had for these giant monsters.
Anthony Morris, It’s Better in the Dark

There will be fans of director Adam Wingard’s all-action, total-carnage approach, but I certainly wasn’t one of them.
James Croot, Stuff.co.nz


Adam Wingard and Brian Tyree Henry

(Photo by Vince Valitutti/©Legendary and Warner Bros. Entertainment)

How does the movie look overall?

One of the most visually spectacular films of the year.
Doug Jamieson, The Jam Report

What did catch me off-guard was how richly cinematic the film looks and how spatialized the action feels.
Luke Buckmaster, Flicks.com.au

Visually, there’s really nothing here that we haven’t seen before.
Jim Schembri, jimschembri.com

The bright lighting robs the VFX of heft.
Jamie Graham, Total Film


How is the writing?

The plot takes a turn for the better (and weirder)… [and] it gets even more bull goose loony in the third act.
Anthony O’Connor, FILMINK

Godzilla vs. Kong is an incredibly illogical yet unashamedly gonzo piece of work… that bring[s] the lore to new heights of ridiculousness and delirium that is truly entertaining.
Harris Dang, Impulse Gamer

The plot is unnecessarily complicated… Best to turn your brain off and ignore the temptation to apply logic and reason to such a piece of cinema.
Doug Jamieson, The Jam Report

If you’re going to hype such a film as Godzilla vs. Kong as the battle of all battles, you better not waste our time with overblown exposition.
Peter Gray, The AU Review

There are hints of a more intriguing film. One (literal) deep-dive into hard science-fiction world-building is a welcome shot of weirdness, if never fully explored.
John Nugent, Empire Magazine

So much is going on that the film’s running time feels scarcely enough to contain its threads.
John Lui, The Straits Times


Kaylee Hottle in Godzilla vs. Kong

(Photo by Chuck Zlotnick/©Legendary and Warner Bros. Entertainment)

And the human characters?

The film’s human characters… are an upgrade compared to previous films.
Matthew Pejkovic, Matt’s Movie Reviews

Finally, they have realized we do not care about humans… we thankfully do not have to spend much time with their problems and feelings.
Jonathan Roberts, The New Paper

They are enjoyably broad enough for the cast to play with and they are all game and know exactly the movie in which they are participating.
Harris Dang, Impulse Gamer

Any time the monsters are not on screen, in fact, is draining. Every MonsterVerse movie… has struggled to know what to do with the human characters on the ground, and in some ways, this is the worst offender yet for it
John Nugent, Empire Magazine

Unfortunately well over half the movie focuses on the humans, who are either boring, comedy relief, an occasional infodump, [or] utterly irrelevant.
Anthony Morris, It’s Better in the Dark


Does anyone stand out?

Jia is the one human who makes the film an emotional, sincere, and rousing spectacle. She is played beautifully by Kaylee Hottle.
Harris Dang, Impulse Gamer

The star human is Kaylee Hottle as Jia, the young girl who has a connection to the giant gorilla, which gives this movie the right amount of heart.
Jonathan Roberts, The New Paper

Hottle steals focus at every turn with her mute performance that’s the film true heart.
Rob Hunter, Film School Rejects


Godzilla vs. Kong

(Photo by Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures)

How is Godzilla in the movie?

Godzilla is reduced to a rampaging reptile for much of the film that feels out of step with his characterization in earlier movies.
James Marsh, South China Morning Post

When it comes to the acting showdown, there’s no contest… [Godzilla] has the voice, and the presence, but he doesn’t have the range.
Jake Wilson, The Age

Godzilla fans may feel irked that Kong gets more screen time.
Jonathan Roberts, The New Paper

The film dissolves Godzilla’s presence through its allegiance to Kong.
Harris Dang, Impulse Gamer


What about Kong?

Kong isn’t quite rendered as sensitively as Andy Serkis’s mo-cap version in the Peter Jackson film. But his eyes still convey so much emotion.
Prahlad Srihari, Firstpost

Aside from a few early scenes that really stress his size, he’s nothing to be afraid of.
Anthony Morris, It’s Better in the Dark


Godzilla vs. Kong

(Photo by Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures)

Will fans of both characters leave satisfied?

No matter which Titan you wanted to win, you would likely feel satisfied with the outcome.
Kshitij Rawat, The Indian Express

Those involved have clearly thought — a lot — about how to end things in a way that’s going to keep everyone happy.
Anthony Morris, It’s Better in the Dark


Godzilla vs. Kong releases in the U.S. in theaters and on HBO Max on March 31, 2021.

On an Apple device? Follow Rotten Tomatoes on Apple News.

It’s the ultimate movie battle royale, and one that is about to be decided – on the big screen as well as on HBO Max – in Godzilla vs. Kong. But before they meet (again) on the big screen, we decided to pit Godzilla and Kong against each other in this special city-smashing face-off! Who is king of the box office? Who is the Tomatometer god? And who can just do the coolest s–t? Find out in our fact-stuffed showdown.

Godzilla Vs. Kong is in theaters and available on HBO Max from March 31, 2021.


On an Apple device? Follow Rotten Tomatoes on Apple News.

(Photo by © Warner Bros.)

Neil Blomkamp is reassembling RoboCopJoaquin Phoenix is getting his own Joker movie, and Robin is about to lead the Titans on streaming. That’s the great thing about our favorite characters: they’re never really gone – someone new can always bring them back. But how many of these adaptations really capture what we love about our favorite characters? And which adaptations do it best?

To find out, we took a deep look at 15 characters who have had at least five different versions of them made, and which have current or upcoming adaptations on the way. For some who’ve had dozens (thanks to public domain), we stuck to the 10 most famous versions. If a role was just recast during the same series – as opposed to a wholly new take – we counted them together. For each character, we also found their highest Tomatometer-rated portrayal – the ultimate arbiter of which version is the best (and likely the ultimate argument-starter among those who disagree!).


RoboCop

(Photo by © Orion/courtesy Everett Collection)

Number of RoboCops: 6

All the RoboCops: Original Trilogy (Peter Weller/Robert Burke), 1988 animated series (voice of Dan Hennessey), 1994 RoboCop TV Series (Richard Eden), RoboCop: Prime Directives TV series (Page Fletcher), 2014 RoboCop (Joel Kinnaman), Neil Blomkamp RoboCop (TBD)

The Best RoboCop: RoboCop (1987) 90%

No surprise, the original 1987 RoboCop is still rated highest. But we would never bet against Neil Blomkamp giving that version a run for its money.

Poll: Vote for Your Favorite RoboCop


The Joker

(Photo by ©Warner Home Video)

Number of Jokers: 17 and counting

10 Most Famous Jokers: ‘60s TV Series (Cesar Romero), 1989 Batman (Jack Nicholson), Batman: The Animated Series including Mask of the Phantasm and crossover films and series (voice of Mark Hamill), The Batman (voice of Kevin Michael Richardson), The Dark Knight (Heath Ledger), Batman: The Brave and the Bold (voice of Jeff Bennett), Suicide Squad (Jared Leto), The LEGO Batman Movie (Zach Galifianakis), Joker Origin Movie (Joaquin Phoenix), Martin Scorsese-Produced Joker Movie (Leonardo DiCaprio)

The Best Joker: Batman: The Animated Series

At 97%, Batman: The Animated Series edges out even The Dark Knight’s 94% if we judge versions purely by Tomatometer. Morgan Jeffery of Digital spy praised the show’s voice cast, saying, “On top of its beautiful visuals and vocals, Batman also boasted a tone far more adult than one might expect from a comic book cartoon.” Hamill’s Joker is so acclaimed that he continued voicing him in many animated incarnations. However, as live-action Jokers go, Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning portrayal is hard to top. Will Phoenix or DiCaprio do it?

Poll: Vote for Your Favorite Joker


Batman

(Photo by © Warner Bros.)

Number of Batmans: 17 (including a radio show) and counting

10 Most Famous Batmans: ’60s Batman TV series (Adam West), The Batman/Superman Hour/Super Friends (voice of Olan Soule), Burton/Schumacher film series (Michael Keaton/Val Kilmer/George Clooney), Batman: The Animated Series through Justice League Unlimited (voice of Kevin Conroy), Batman Beyond (voice of Will Friedle), The Dark Knight trilogy (Christian Bale), Batman: The Brave and the Bold (Diedrich Bader), Gotham (David Mazouz), DCEU (Ben Affleck), LEGO Movies (voice of Will Arnett), The Batman (TBA)

The Best Batman: Batman Beyond 100%

Batman earned his highest Tomatometer score in the futuristic Batman Beyond with 100%. EW’s Ken Tucker said, “The new, black-winged, red-blooded Batman on display Saturday mornings will have you pouring a steaming mug of coffee and shouldering aside any nearby children to catch all the fresh fun and action.” In the live-action realm, Christian Bale’s Dark Knight trilogy is the most consistently Fresh Batman series with a high of 94% for The Dark Knight.

Poll: Vote for Your Favorite Batman


Robin Hood

(Photo by © Lionsgate)

Number of Robin Hoods: Dozens

The 10 Most Famous Robin Hoods: 1922 Robin Hood (Douglas Fairbanks), The Adventures of Robin Hood (Errol Flynn), Disney’s Robin Hood (voice of Brian Bedford), Robin and Marian (Sean Connery), Time Bandits (John Cleese), Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (Kevin Costner), Robin Hood (Patrick Bergin), Robin Hood: Men in Tights (Cary Elwes), 2010 Robin Hood (Russell Crowe), 2018 Robin Hood (Taron Egerton)

The Best Robin Hood: The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) 100%

With 100%, Errol Flynn is hands-down the most acclaimed Robin Hood. Not bad considering Rotten Tomatoes didn’t exist yet in 1938! But our critics still respect the classic, with Village Voice’s Elliott Stein commenting, “Movie pageantry at its best, done in the grand manner of silent spectacles, brimming over with the sort of primitive energy that drew people to the movies in the first place.”

Poll: Vote for Your Favorite Robin Hood

Mulan

(Photo by ©Walt Disney Pictures)

Number of Mulans: 15

The 10 Most Famous Mulans: Hua Mulan Joins The Army (Hu Shan), Lady General Hua Mu Lan (Ivy Ling Po), The Saga of Mulan (Bai Shuxian), Disney Mulan franchise (voice of Ming-Na), The Secret of Mulan (uncredited voice), A Tough Side of a Lady (Mariane Chan), Mulan: Rise of a Warrior (Zhao Wei), Once Upon a Time (Jamie Chung), Live-Action Disney Mulan (Liu Yifei), Alex Graves-directed Mulan (TBD)

The Best Mulan: Mulan (1998) 86%

Since most of the Chinese film and television productions of the Mulan story weren’t available to international critics, the Disney Mulan currently wins on the Tomatometer by default. Film Journal International’s Wendy Weinstein wrote, “it is in the subtlety of its characters’ ‘acting’ that Mulan excels” and it does have an 86% Fresh rating. We have every hope for the upcoming live-action renditions, too.

Poll: Vote for Your Favorite Mulan


Tinker Bell

(Photo by ©Walt Disney)

Number of Tinker Bells: Dozens

10 Most Famous Tinker Bells: 1924 Peter Pan (Virginia Browne Faire), Disney’s Peter Pan/Return to Neverland (Silent), 1960 Peter Pan (stage light), Hook (Julia Roberts), Peter Pan (Ludivine Sagnier), Neverland (Keira Knightley), Tinker Bell film series (voice of Mae Whitman), Peter Pan Live (CGI), Once Upon a Time (Rose McIver), Live-Action Tinker Bell (Reese Witherspoon)

The Best Tinker Bell: Tinker Bell (2008) 90%

Tinker Bell’s solo movie is even fresher than the original Disney Peter Pan, and subsequent sequels are Fresh too. The L.A. Times’ Michael Ordona wrote, “To its target audience, it will be another self-empowerment fable with loads of imagination and colorful, painterly images (and a keen marketing blast for Disney fairies).” The 1924 film is praised unanimously by a handful of critics, so it’s worth seeking out.

Poll: Vote for Your Favorite Tinker Bell


Superman

(Photo by © The CW)

Number of Portrayals: 16 (including radio)

10 Most Famous Superman: Live-action serials (Kirk Alyn), Superman and the Mole Men + The Adventures of Superman (George Reeves), Superman: The Movie through Superman Returns (Christopher Reeve, Brandon Routh), Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (Dean Cain), Superman: The Animated Series (voice of Tim Daly), Smallville (Tom Welling), Warner Animation Superman films (voices of Adam Baldwin, Kyle MacLachlan, Tim Daly, Mark Harmon, James Denton, Kevin Conroy, George Newbern, Matt Bomer, Sam Daly, Alan Tudyk, Jerry O’Connell, Benjamin Bratt), DCEU (Henry Cavill), Supergirl (Tyler Hoechlin), Teen Titans Go! To the Movies (voice of Nicolas Cage)

The Best Superman: Superman: The Movie (1978) 94%

You never forget your first Superman, so the franchise that began with Christopher Reeve’s 94% Fresh Superman: The Movie remains the most acclaimed. As recently as this May, The Times UK’s Ed Potton called Reeve “manlier and steelier than recent portrayals by Brandon Routh and Henry Cavill.” John J. Puccio of Movie Metroplis (appropriate name) said of Reeve “the casting department found someone with just the right charisma to pull it off.” Recently, Tyler Hoechlin’s portrayal of Kal El on a few episodes of Supergirl earned new raves. Digital Spy’s Morgan Jeffery says, “Tyler Hoechlin is the best live-action Man of Steel since the sorely underrated Dean Cain hung up his tights.” TV Fanatic’s Stacy Glanzman agrees that Hoechlin “nailed it.” Give him a few more seasons and see if he can catch up to Reeve!

Poll: Vote for Your Favorite Superman


James Bond

Sean Connery as James Bond

Number of Different James Bonds: 006

All the James Bonds: “Casino Royale” episode of Climax (Barry Nelson), EON Film Series (Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, Daniel Craig), Casino Royale comedy (Peter Sellers, David Niven, Woody Allen), “The British Hero” episode of Omnibus (Christopher Cazenove in re-enactments), Never Say Never Again (Sean Connery), James Bond Jr. (voice of Corey Burton)

The Best Portrayal: Goldfinger (1964) 99%

It’s the long-running EON films version of the character, obviously. At its height, these films scored a 97%. Roger Ebert remarked of Goldfinger and the franchise, “it is a great entertainment, and contains all the elements of the Bond formula that would work again and again.” Now, whether you pick Daniel Craig or Sean Connery as your favorite from this version…we’ll let that debate continue among Bond fans.

Poll: Vote for Your Favorite James Bond


Hulk

(Photo by ©Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Number of Portrayals: 13 including Marvel animated guest appearances

10 Most Famous Hulks: The Marvel Super-Heroes (voice of Max Ferguson), The Incredible Hulk TV series (Lou Ferrigno), The Incredible Hulk animated series (voice of Bob Holt), The Marvel Action Hour (voice of Ron Perlman), The Incredible Hulk (voice of Neal McDonough), episodes of Iron Man: Armored Adventures (voice of Mark Gibbon), Superhero Squad Show (voice of Travis Willingham), Hulk (Eric Bana), MCU (Edward Norton and Mark Ruffalo), The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes through Avengers Assemble and appearances on Guardians of the Galaxy and Spider-Man (voice of Fred Tatasciore)

The Best Portrayal: Marvel's the Avengers (2012) 91%

With a 92%, The Avengers‘ incarnation of Hulk smashes the rest – and the MCU version as a whole, including Ed Norton and Mark Ruffolo’s tale,s has a Fresh average of 81.8% . The animated Earth’s Mightiest Heroes scores higher even than The Avengers, but with only five reviews, we’re still giving the title to the MCU’s Hulk Matt Brunson of Creative Loafing said when reviewing The Avengers, “The scene-stealer is Ruffalo, who provides Bruce Banner with a soulfulness missing in the portrayals by Bana and Norton.” Even CNN’s Tom Charity singled out the Hulk among other Avengers, saying, “Never underestimate the entertainment value of the Hulk Smash.”

Poll: Vote for Your Favorite Hulk


Spider-Man

(Photo by © Columbia)

Number of Spider-Man: 16

The 10 Most Famous Spider-Men: The Amazing Spider-Man (Nicholas Hammond), Spider-Man (voice of Christopher Daniel Barnes), Spider-Man: The New Animated Series (voice of Neil Patrick Harris), Ultimate Spider-Man and LEGO Marvel (voice of Drake Bell), Sam Raimi Trilogy (Tobey Maguire), Amazing Spider-Man 1 and 2 (Andrew Garfield), Turn Off The Dark (Reeve Carney and Justin Matthew Sargeant), LEGO Spider-Man (voice of Jackson Buffington), (MCU/Homecoming (Tom Holland), Into the Spider-verse (Jake Johnson and Shameik Moore)

Best Spider-Man: Spider-Man 2 (2004) 93%

With a peak at Spider-Man 2’s 93%, the Sam Raimi trilogy remains the most critically acclaimed Spider-Man films (Holland’s appearances in Captain America: Civil War and Homecoming comess close though.) AP’s Christy Lemire praised the series when reviewing the second film: “The web-slinging sequences are bigger-better-brighter-faster than the already spectacular ones in 2002’s Spider-Man, and at the same time, the film’s smaller emotional moments are denser, richer and more resonant than those in the first.”

Poll: Vote for Your Favorite Spider-Man


Jughead Jones

(Photo by © The CW)

Number of Jugheads: 7

All the Jugheads: Radio show (voices of Hal Stone, Cameron Andrews and Arnold Stang), The Archie Show and spinoffs (voice of Howard Morris), The New Archies (voice of Michael Fantini), Archie’s Weird Mysteries (voice of Chris Lundquist), 1976 Archie pilot and ’78 special Archie Situation Comedy Musical Variety Show (Derrel Maury), Archie: To Riverdale and Back Again (Sam Whipple), Riverdale (Cole Sprouse)

Best Jughead: Riverdale 84%

Riverdale has a series Tomatometer score of 88%, crowning Cole Sprouse as the best Jughead. It’s also the only take who’s been reviewed enough to have a Tomatometer score, but we have a feeling this CW fan favorite would likely win against his animated competition even if the data was there.

Poll: Vote for Your Favorite Jughead 


He-Man

Number of He-Men: 5

All the He-Men: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (voice of John Erwin), Masters of the Universe (Dolph Lundgren), The New Adventures of He-Man (voice of Garry Chalke and Doug Parker), 2002 series (Cam Clarke), New Live-Action Film In Development

Best He-Man: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe 100%

Boy, did all the Tomatometer critics grow up on the weekday afternoon cartoon in the ’80s, or what? Well, this one may still be up for grabs if they make a really cool live-action movie, but for now the original cartoon is the master. Nerdist’s Rosie Knight puts it in perspective saying, “Beloved for many reasons. There’s the notoriously rushed production… giving it a unique and charming look. It’s also revered for its vision of a kid friendly techno-barbarian landscape.”

Poll: Vote for Your Favorite He-Man


The Punisher

(Photo by © Netflix)

Number of Punishers: 6

All The Punishers: 1989 The Punisher (Dolph Lundgren), Spider-Man: The Animated Series (voice of John Beck), 2004 The Punisher (Thomas Jane), Punisher: War Zone and Super Hero Squad Show (Ray Stevenson), Netflix series (Jon Bernthal), Avengers Assemble episode “Planet Doom” (uncredited)

Best Punisher: Marvel's Daredevil: Season 2 (2016) 81%

Bernthal remains the only certified Fresh Punisher, and his stint on Daredevil season 2 bested even his own series (though Marvel’s The Punisher is still Fresh). New York Observer’s Vinnie Mancuso singles out Bernthal’s haunted portrayal, “Jon Bernthal is the perfect Punisher because there is zero fun in his performance.”In reviewing Daredevil‘s second season, Aggressive Comix’s Steph Cozza adds, “The Punisher is the true MVP here.”

Poll: Vote for Your favorite Punisher


Godzilla

(Photo by © Toho Films)

Number of Godzillas: 9

All the Godzillas: 31 Toho Films, Hanna-Barbera Godzilla, Godzillaland, Godzilla Island, 1998 Godzilla, Godzilla: The Series, Nike commercial with Charles Barkle, Legendary Films’ Godzilla, Netflix Godzilla

The Best Godzilla: Godzilla (1954) 93%

With a 93% for the classic Gojira and seven more Fresh movies in the franchise, nobody’s done Godzilla better than Toho. The Washington Post’s Stephen Hunter put it best in 2004 when he said, “Its images of the destruction of the cities is far more powerful than in American films, where the cities are trashed for the pure pleasure of destruction, without any real sense of human loss.”

Poll: Vote for Your Favorite Godzilla


King Kong

King Kong, 1933

Number of Kongs: 9

All the Kongs: 1933 King Kong and Son of Kong (stop motion animation), 1966 King Kong animated series, King Kong vs. Godzilla and King Kong Escapes, 1976 King Kong (voice of Peter Cullen) and King Kong Lives (Peter Elliott), Kong: The Animated Series and Return to the Jungle, 2005 King Kong (Andy Serkis), Kong: King of Atlantis,  Kong: King of the Apes (voice of Lee Tockar), Legendary King Kong (Toby Kebbell)

The Best Kong: King Kong (1933) 98%

Certified Fresh at 98%, the original 1933 Kong is still King (its sequel, rushed into release later in 1933, not so much). Robert Ebert explained why it still works nearly a century later, writing that “there is something ageless and primeval about King Kong that still somehow works.”

Poll: Vote for Your Favorite King Kong


There are many more characters who’ve been portrayed over and over again. Who are your favorites? Tell us in the comments.

Moviedom’s main ape makes his first theater appearance since Peter Jackson’s 2005 remake with Kong: Skull Island, a 1970s-set adventure starring Tom Hiddleston and Brie Larson who travel to the King’s home to confirm his mythic existence. The thrill of seeing mammoths trashing cities and vulnerable public transit dates back to the movie-going experience’s earliest decades, which we cover in this week’s gallery of 24 Fresh giant monster films!

Movies can transport you from your life for a little while, but did you ever let the movies transport you in life? Every country and virtually every way of life has been captured on film, so it’s rather irresistible to catch the travelling bug from the silver screen.

Today, let Rotten Tomatoes be your travel guide, as we present 10 places whose architecture, landscape, and beauty have given life to some famous movies in history. Navigate the cities below and fire up your wanderlust!

What is your top movie vacation spot?


Bryan Cranston brings a true story to the screen with this weekend’s The Infiltrator, and in appreciation for his efforts, we decided to dig into his extensive filmography and select some of our favorite roles. Sure, you’ll find a nod to Walter White in here, but Mr. Cranston’s career is a heck of a lot more than Breaking Bad; from comedy to award-winning drama, there’s truly something for everyone in here. Make room in your queues, ’cause it’s time for Total Recall!


Titanium Rex (SuperMansion)

As Cranston’s profile has grown in recent years, he’s plowed some of that newfound clout back into his own production efforts — such as Sneaky Pete, recently ordered to series at Amazon, and the animated SuperMansion, which will debut its second season on Crackle in 2017. Working alongside a roster of voice talent that includes Keegan-Michael Key and Seth Green, Cranston stars as Titanium Rex, the aging leader of a past-its-prime group of heroes; although the results have thus far been neither universally acclaimed nor particularly widely seen, it’s worth checking out for Cranston fans and stop-motion enthusiasts with an off-kilter sense of humor. After all, how many cartoons give a guy the chance to play a character with a titanium hand and a prostate problem?


Lance (Last Chance)

In a 2009 interview, Cranston pointed to this little-seen 1999 drama — which he produced, directed, wrote, and starred in — as the one project from his filmography that he didn’t think had gotten the attention it deserved. “I think Last Chance was an interesting tale,” he mused. “It’s the story of someone who doesn’t believe that they have any hope left in their life, and when an opportunity presents itself, will you even recognize it? Do you take advantage of it? Do you ignore it? So it was all about that, and about hope, and taking your last chance if it’s offered.”


Tim Whatley (Seinfeld)

Seinfeld‘s comedy largely derived from the sturdy dynamics between the show’s central foursome, which meant there wasn’t much need for a lot of recurring characters — and as a result, the ones who did manage to return more than a time or two were generally pretty memorable. Case in point: Jerry’s dentist Tim Whatley, played by Cranston over a handful of episodes throughout the show’s run — some of which were among its most memorable. Aside from giving him a chance to show off his comedic chops, Cranston’s Seinfeld spots put him down in sitcom history as one of the people who helped bring the world “re-gifter” and “anti-dentite.”

Shannon (Drive)

After a few seasons of Breaking Bad, Cranston’s Hollywood stock had risen to the point where he was being actively sought out for movie roles — for example, Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive. Cranston was Refn’s first choice for Shannon, the body shop owner whose lucrative side business involves hiring out his star employee (Ryan Gosling) as a no-questions-asked getaway driver, and even though Cranston’s plate was already pretty full — and the part was far from the movie’s showiest — he was sufficiently intrigued to sign on. The result? Screen time in one of the year’s most critically adored movies. “This,” wrote Deadspin’s Will Leitch, “is pop art of the highest degree.”


Jack O’Donnell (Argo)

Like a lot of characters in Argo, Cranston’s character was an amalgam of actual individuals involved in the movie’s real-life story — and like many of the incredible actors assembled for the Oscar-winning drama, he didn’t have an overwhelming amount of screentime. But as Jack O’Donnell, the boss of CIA exfiltrator Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) during the Iranian hostage crisis in 1979, Cranston plays a crucial role — both for Mendez, who relies on O’Donnell as his lifeline back to the States during his mission in Iran, and for the audience, who feel the tension and urgency of the situation back home through his increasingly strained efforts to pull the whole thing off. “Is it me,” wondered the San Diego Reader’s Scott Marks, “or should Bryan Cranston be in every film released?”


Joe Brody (Godzilla)

Okay, so Bryan Cranston isn’t in Godzilla for anywhere near the length of time he deserved — but that doesn’t take anything away from the fact that his character is the emotional centerpiece of the first act. As Joe Brody, the nuclear plant supervisor who’s among the first to suspect that the human race might be staring down the barrel of an enormous catastrophe, Cranston carried the burden of setting up a hugely over-the-top story in an easily relatable way, and he pulled it off with aplomb. The movie would have been a lot better if Joe stuck around a little longer, but the results are still pretty entertaining, and they offered Cranston a too-rare opportunity to display dramatic range in a blockbuster action thriller. “This is exactly what big summer movies ought to aspire to,” wrote NPR’s Ian Buckwalter. “Never short on dazzle, but unafraid to let us catch our breath once it’s been taken away.”


Dalton Trumbo (Trumbo)

Cranston’s piled up a lot of screen credits over the years, but relatively few have been leading roles. One notable exception is 2015’s Trumbo, in which he portrays the legendary screenwriter during and after his politically motivated fall from professional grace. Delivering a full-bodied performance that neither lionized nor demonized Trumbo, Cranston proved he was more than capable of carrying a movie — even one that, as critics reluctantly pointed out, wasn’t necessarily up to its subject’s impeccable standards. “Cranston’s performance is the motor that runs Trumbo,” wrote Ty Burr for the Boston Globe. “And that motor never idles, never flags in momentum or magnetism or idealistic scorn.”


Lyndon B. Johnson (All the Way)

It takes a special kind of actor to disappear so far inside a character that the audience forgets it’s watching someone go to work, and that goes at least double when the character in question was a real-life individual. All of which is to say that Cranston deserves every bit of the voluminous praise he picked up for his work in All the Way, which dramatizes Lyndon B. Johnson’s actions during the period leading up to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. After winning a Tony for his portrayal of Johnson on the stage, Cranston reprised the role for HBO’s film adaptation, and earned another round of critical applause. “All the Way should be admired for going the distance,” wrote Ben Travers for IndieWIRE, “and Cranston rewarded for holding it all together.”


Hal Wilkerson (Malcolm in the Middle)

Long before he stripped down to his briefs for Breaking Bad, Cranston made a habit of it on Malcolm in the Middle, the long-running Fox sitcom about a quirky suburban family rounded out by a brood of boys and led by a no-nonsense mom. As the father, Cranston was often just as much of a kid as his onscreen sons — and twice as afraid of their mother (Jane Kaczmarek) — adding yet another sweetly clueless sitcom dad to an already lengthy list. Yet while Malcolm didn’t exactly reinvent the TV comedy wheel, it did what it set out to do consistently well, and earned Cranston a passel of Emmy nominations along the way.


Walter White (Breaking Bad)

Cranston’s done a lot of fine work throughout his career, but he’ll probably always be most closely identified with Breaking Bad. It makes sense, really — how often does an actor get the chance to star in a hit series about a high school chemistry teacher who turns to manufacturing and selling his own meth in order to shore up funds for his family after learning he’s dying of cancer? Critically acclaimed and consistently successful in the ratings, Breaking Bad was also an awards magnet — not least for Cranston, whose depiction of Walter White’s descent into the criminal underworld netted him four Lead Actor Emmys during the show’s run. “One way or another, you’ve got to figure Walt is going down,” wrote the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Mark Dawidziak during the final season. “And, thanks to Cranston, he’s going down in TV history as one of the medium’s most fascinating, memorable and grandly tragic characters.”

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RT Podcast: Ep. 055 – New movies & TV, plus Liam Neeson & Kevin Smith interviews
This week’s show is jam-packed with reviews and interviews! First up is Tim, with critics’ reactions to The Maze Runner, This Is Where I Leave You, A Walk Among the Tombstones, and Tusk. Ryan discusses two new home video releases, Godzilla and The Fault in Our Stars. Then Sarah talks about new TV shows, including Gotham, Scorpion, Forever, NCIS: New Orleans, and Black-ish. Finally, Grae shares her interview with Liam Neeson, Kevin Smith, Justin Long, and Dan Stevens.

In Theaters This Week:



The Maze Runner

65%

Rating: PG-13, for thematic elements and intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, including some disturbing images.

This is yet another sci-fi thriller based on yet another young adult novel set in a rigidly structured, dystopian future. The tween and teen readers who are the targets for the James Dashner book will know what they’re getting into here. Still, this is a pretty violent and often harrowing PG-13 film. Dylan O’Brien (from MTV’s Teen Wolf) stars as Thomas, a young man who winds up in a pastoral square called the Glade. He has no memory of who he is or how he got there, similar to the dozens of other teenage boys who preceded him and have built their own society there. But Thomas soon becomes curious about the dangerous maze that lies outside the giant concrete walls surrounding the Glade. Ravenous, fast-moving creatures await in those dark corridors, and we see them tear some of the characters apart. The big reveal which explains how all these kids ended up here and what they’re intended for is filled with gunfire and it grows deadly pretty quickly. This is not for the young or the squeamish.

New On DVD:



Godzilla

76%

Rating: PG-13, for intense sequences of destruction, mayhem and creature violence.

It’s big and noisy and scary, as you would expect from a sci-fi blockbuster monster movie. The latest incarnation of Godzilla starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen and Bryan Cranston, duly features mass urban destruction and masses fleeing in terror. This time, the big green guy stomps across San Francisco as he battles a couple of other enormous creatures that grow stronger through radioactivity. Untold thousands find themselves in peril, including a school bus full of kids on the Golden Gate Bridge. The special effects in director Gareth Edwards’ film are really sharp — crisp, textural, visceral — making some of the battle sequences truly tense and terrifying. The sound design is also quite vivid, with its ominous creaks, groans and roars. This is probably suitable for kids around age 10 and older.



The Fault In Our Stars

81%

Rating: PG-13, for thematic elements, some sexuality and brief strong language.

This is totally suitable for the teens and tweens who are familiar with John Green’s best-selling young adult novel about cancer patients in love. Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort’s characters, Hazel and Augustus, refuse to be defined by the mawkish pop culture clichés of the genre, however. They are self-aware and hyper-verbal. So they curse a lot and do stupid things and behave like typical teenagers in general. They also lose their virginity to each other in an Amsterdam hotel room, but it’s handled very tastefully and there’s barely any nudity. And Woodley gets to enjoy the one F-bomb you’re allowed with a PG-13 rating. The characters experience quite a lot of joy with each other, but the prospect of death lingers over their romance at all times. Probably too mature for anyone under the tween ages.



Think Like a Man Too

23%

Rating: PG-13, for crude sexual content including references, partial nudity, language a drug material.

Clichéd, wacky Las Vegas hijinks are in full force in this sequel to the 2012 hit comedy Think Like a Man. The whole crew has reassembled, with a handful of new characters, for the wedding of Mama’s boy Michael (Terrence J) and single mom Candace (Regina Hall). So in addition to the Sin City clichés, we also have all the usual bachelor/bachelorette party antics. That means strip clubs for everyone (although there’s very little actual nudity) and a ton of drinking and partying hard with hot men and women. Jerry Ferrara’s character complains that he can’t smoke pot anymore because he and his wife (Gabrielle Union) are trying to have a baby. But! He does think to bring along some marijuana-laced gum, which the ladies accidentally pop into their mouths. Everybody eventually ends up in a brawl, which lands them all in jail. Between the risqué activities and the talks about boring, adult subjects like careers, marriage and family, this is probably best suited for tweens and older.

This week on home video, we’ve got a couple of Certified Fresh releases: Gareth Edwards’ reboot of an iconic Japanese monster movie franchise, and a YA novel adaptation that was a hit with fans and critics alike. Then we’ve got a ton of TV being released, along with a comedy sequel, a Criterion edition of a David Lynch film, and a 40th anniversary of a horror classic. Read on for details:



Godzilla

76%

Before stepping behind the camera for Warner Bros’ reboot of Godzilla, Gareth Edwards only had one big screen feature under his belt. That film, however, was Monsters, a similarly themed story about giant aliens walking the Earth that he also wrote and provided visual effects. With a budget over 300 times as large as that of Monsters and a cast that included names like Bryan Cranston, David Strathairn, Juliette Binoche, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Elizabeth Olsen, Godzilla surprised a lot of folks still reeling from Roland Emmerich’s 1998 flopped attempt. Certified Fresh at 73 percent on the Tomatometer, the 2014 update could possibly have used a bit more action from the big guy himself, but critics largely felt the film maintained a fine balance between its human drama and its spectacular setpieces. The Blu-ray comes with three featurettes presented as items from within the movie’s universe and four longer featurettes on the making of the film.



The Fault in Our Stars

81%

One of the few young adult novel adaptations not intended to spark a franchise, The Fault in Our Stars featured a shocking lack of dystopian landscapes, oppressive governments, and conveniently categorized teens hungry for revolt. Thankfully, it didn’t need any of that to satisfy fans of the source material and impress critics to the tune of a Certified Fresh 80 percent. Hazel (Shailene Woodley), a spunky high schooler with terminal cancer, meets Augustus (Ansel Elgort), whose own battle with osteosarcoma resulted in an amputated leg, at a support meeting, and the two immediately form a bond and eventually fall in love. The tale is a simple one, but critics found it honest, thought-provoking, and mature, without resorting to cheap, unearned sentimentality. There isn’t much specific info available on the release’s bonus features, but we do know there are six promotional items totaling about 11 minutes. Also, Ansel Elgort is a terrific name.



Think Like a Man Too

23%

Back in 2012, Kevin Hart, Taraji P. Henson, Michael Ealy, and Regina Hall headlined an ensemble comedy based on a relationship advice book by Steve Harvey, and though the critics were fairly split on the film, it resonated with audiences to the tune of $96 million. Enlisting the same cast as the first film, Think Like a Man Too follows the gang as they travel to Las Vegas for the wedding (and requisite premarital festivities) of Michael (Terrence J) and Candace (Hall). Compromising situations arise, dirty laundry is aired, and high jinks ensue. Unfortunately, critics were even less enthusiastic this time around, saddling the film with a mediocre 24 percent on the Tomatometer; though Kevin Hart remains a comic force of nature, the film borrows too heavily from other Vegas party movies and basically reiterates the same points hammered home by its predecessor. The Blu-ray comes with the expected gag reel, some deleted scenes, and a few featurettes on the making of the film.

Also available this week:

  • The Certified Fresh second season of Hannibal (100 percent) is out on DVD and Blu-ray.
  • Season two of Arrow (100 percent) is out on DVD and Blu-ray.
  • Season seven of The Big Bang Theory (100 percent) is out on DVD and Blu-ray.
  • Season three of Grimm (100 percent) is out on DVD and Blu-ray.
  • Season four of Hawaii Five-0 (100 percent) is out on DVD and Blu-ray.
  • Season six of Castle (86 percent) is out on DVD.
  • Season nine of Bones (83 percent) is out on DVD.
  • Season one of From Dusk Till Dawn (78 percent) is out on DVD and Blu-ray.
  • Season one of Sleepy Hollow (77 percent) is out on DVD and Blu-ray.
  • The Certified Fresh first season of About a Boy (76 percent) is out on DVD.
  • The entire series of Starz’s sword-and-sandal drama Spartacus is available on DVD and Blu-ray this week.
  • We’ve got one new release from the Criterion Collection this week: David Lynch’s Certified Fresh 1977 debut film Eraserhead (91 percent), which includes a new digital restoration, a 2001 documentary on the making of the film, hi-def restorations of six of Lynch’s short films, archival interviews, and more.
  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (91 percent) celebrates its 40th anniversary with a new Blu-ray release featuring a brand new 4K scan and 7.1 surround sound, as well as the same extras found on previous Blu-ray releases. There’s also a special Black Maria Deluxe Edition, packaged in a collectible cattle truck, that’s coming in October, if you’re inclined to wait for that.

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