Godzilla vs. Kong: Who Will Win?

Angela McKinzie ’21, News Editor

On January 24, 2021, Warner Bros dropped the Godzilla vs. Kong trailer and it soon became clear that it was going to be a hit. Within the first 24 hours, the trailer earned 25.6 million views across YouTube and on the Warner Bros website, surpassing The Batman‘s 22 million views and Dune‘s  20.8 million (Screenrant). Even though these Titans have been fighting monsters in their own movies, it is clear that the public wants more. 

 

Both Godzilla and King Kong have long histories in the film industry, with King Kong debuting in 1933 and Godzilla in 1954. The conception of both stories closely relates to either historical events or was inspired by real-life creatures. After the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the creators Tomoyuki Tanaka, Ishirō Honda, and Eiji Tsubaraya created Godzilla to be a metaphor for nuclear weapons and the effects of them. Since then, there have been a little over 30 films created about the prehistoric monster and it has become a well-known image in pop culture. King Kong, on the other hand, was created by Merian C. Cooper and he imagined the iconic image of King Kong on a building with planes flying around him after becoming inspired by the book Explorations and Adventures in Equatorial Africa. Despite their vastly different origin stories, the world fell in love with anatomically huge animals or “monsters” that wreak havoc on the neighboring cities. Since their debuts, there have been about 35 films about Godzilla and 11 films about King Kong–all depicting both monsters as just as they are: monsters. But, what if they weren’t actually the villains? 

 

With Warner Bros. and Legendary Productions combined, the MonsterVerse was made into a reality. As the name suggests, it is a shared cinematic universe that is centered around both Godzilla and King Kong. In 2014, the film Godzilla was released and the movie depicted the monster as a protector instead of the instigator, as he fought off the other Titan-creatures named MUTO (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism). With the ~$524 million success of the $100 million movie, Legendary continued the series with the sequel Godzilla: King of the Monsters. Across both films, Godzilla was revered as a savior that reigned over all creatures and monsters, hence his title of “King of the Monsters.” The production team even rebranded King Kong in the same light in his movie “Kong: Skull Island”; in the film, King Kong was protecting a native island off the South Pacific from other monsters before humans came and tried to kill him for protecting the people who lived there. The film was yet another success for the franchise, as it amassed $566 million worldwide in box office revenue. Now, both Godzilla and King Kong are both heroes and kings in their respective rights, but there can only truly be one king. 

 

Before I go into my own thoughts on the movie, here is the following plot synopsis provided by Legendary and Warner Bros.: Legends collide in Godzilla vs Kong as these mythic adversaries meet in a spectacular battle for the ages, with the fate of the world hanging in the balance. Kong and his protectors undertake a perilous journey to find his true home, and with them is Jia, a young orphaned girl with whom he has formed a unique and powerful bond. But they unexpectedly find themselves in the path of an enraged Godzilla, cutting a swath of destruction across the globe. The epic clash between the two titans–instigated by unseen forces–is only the beginning of the mystery that lies deep within the core of the Earth (IMDB

I saw Godzilla on opening night and have followed all of the movies in the franchise ever since. While the plot of the characters in the movie is interesting, I personally think the movies give what they advertise: fight sequences and high stakes. In Godzilla vs Kong, I feel like the production companies catered to the audience and had the human characters take a back seat to the Titans at play. The visual effects alone make the movie worth watching because it makes both creatures seem as if they could be real. While the movie does reference some events that took place in earlier movies, I think that a person can jump right into this one and still enjoy it overall. I know I said that the human characters are only there to build up the showdown, but I do think the connection between them and Kong makes the audience care more about his life more specifically. After seeing it four times, I can honestly say that it is a fun movie to watch and really deserves all of the hype it has been given because the visual effects were absolutely stunning as well as how entertaining it was to watch the fights.   

 

So, who won? Well, you’ll have to watch it to find out. However, the real winner here is Warner Bros and HBO Max. With the pandemic still going strong, some people are still uncomfortable with movie theaters, so the content that streaming services provide is crucial for the success of the movie. Since Warner Bros allowed the movie to stream exclusively on HBO Max from March 31 to May 1, it received “a larger viewing audience than any other film or show on HBO Max since launch” (https://deadline.com/tag/warnermedia/). The profit backs up the vast viewership, as it grossed $423 million in box office revenues worldwide after it was released on March 31, 2021. Now, Godzilla vs. Kong joins Warner Bros efforts to rebuild a name for themselves in the action-movie world; other popular films they have released like Wonder Woman 1984 and Zach Snyder’s Justice League started this rebranding in December of 2020 and early March of this year, respectively. 

If you’re looking for a fun, action-packed film, then Godzilla vs. Kong is the right choice for you!