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Our monster is scaly, spiky, reptilian — a cross between a dinosaur and an irradiated insect that shrieks like an angry bird. Our hero is lean, faintly muscular in a rubbery skintight suit with inscrutable praying-mantis eyes. They face one another, stomping left to right like sumo wrestlers, posing karate-style. The humans below clasp their hands in hope, their city fragile as cardboard.

When the battle begins, the urban landscape — a meticulously detailed scaled-down model — is in flames, its buildings easily smashed and tossed through the air. A few lasers and fireballs fly, but in short order monster and hero grapple, engaging in hand-to-hand combat, tumbling into one another, grabbing body parts and twisting, turning, punching. It’s mano-a-mano — and it’s thrilling.

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