Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Godzilla vs. Kong: My Thoughts

Written by Arlo Hansen

This article is several months late, but please humor me...

Last October, the Internet was set ablaze with the astonishing news that movie monster giants, Godzilla and King Kong, will once again clash in an epic crossover in 2020's Godzilla vs. Kong. The possibility of King Kong intertwining with Godzilla was foreshadowed several weeks earlier when news broke out that Legendary Pictures, currently partnered with Universal Studios, will release Kong: Skull Island (2017) alongside Warner Bros., which was rather shocking. Almost everyone knew that Legendary and Warner Bros. are still partnered for the currently untitled Godzilla sequel set for 2018, so the chances of a crossover were significantly increased. Then sure enough, BAM! Confirmation in the form of a sudden press release from Legendary Pictures.

From that press release, Legendary stated that the Godzilla and Kong films will be tied together by the presence of Monarch, the internationally joint organization that searches out and studies these giant creatures, which they refer to as M.U.T.O. - Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms. Chances are that members of Monarch will have key roles in next year's Kong: Skull Island. Speaking of the new Kong film, it is NOT related to Peter Jackson's 2005 remake of the original 1933 film. Kong: Skull Island is a brand new and possibly modern take on the Kong story. In order for it to tie into Godzilla, and the eventual crossover, Kong would need to be re-imagined and resized immensely in order to take on the King of Monsters in a fair fight. According to Legendary, Godzilla vs. Kong (2020) will be the culmination of a trilogy that begins with Kong: Skull Island, which means that perhaps the sequel to Godzilla (2014), which releases in summer 2018, will either openly reference the events in the new King Kong movie or end up developing subplots that will become relevant in Godzilla vs. Kong. Does that mean Legendary's shared giant monster cinematic universe ends there? Not according to Legendary who also hints that other giant monsters, both classic and new, will eventually be included into the shared universe. Perhaps Gareth Edwards' dream of doing a modern take of Destroy All Monsters (1968) is not so far fetched after all!

So, with all that being said. How do I think the new film will play out? The original King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962) pitted King Kong, who was largely well known back then, against Godzilla, who was pretty brand new in both Japan and the United States at the time. With this being both their third film, and first film to have both creatures featured in color, it was a financial success domestically and abroad. King Kong vs. Godzilla ended with the two titanic creatures falling into the sea. After a few tense moments we see the supposed victor of the fight, Kong, as he swims away back home to Faro Island. There was a rumor for many years that stated that the endings shown in Japan and the United States are different with the Japan ending with Godzilla winning and the US ending with Kong winning. This is absolutely false and the ending is the same in both versions of the film. This, however, does raise a critical question regarding Godzilla vs. Kong, who will win?

It is a safe bet that neither monster will win or lose against one another. Why? Toho has certain ground rules regarding how Godzilla is portrayed. One of these rules is that he can't be killed. This of course was largely ignored by Roland Emmerich for his 1998 abomination, but fortunately enough, Gareth Edwards kept true with Godzilla's capability of surviving despite some worrying teasing after the final battle. Also Universal may not want to see Kong defeated or killed by Godzilla either. So, you have two monsters from two separate movie studios who do not want either of them killed. What can Legendary do about that? Let us take a look at Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) as an example. You have two superheroes, Batman and Superman. They're both good guys, but have different ideals. Through some sort of misunderstanding they fight each other. However, they set their differences aside as a greater threat [Doomsday] makes himself known. This is the only way I can see Godzilla vs. Kong play out. You have Godzilla and Kong fight each other by the second act of the film, however a far more devastating monster arrives and threatens the lives of both Godzilla and Kong. Though probably not aligned with one other, they both fight this terrible third baddie side by side as a means of survival. I won't go and assume that Legendary's Godzilla is as "dumb" and reliant on instinct as the American version of King Kong vs. Godzilla made him out to be. This new Godzilla seems to have a spark behind his eyes, so to speak - especially since he was able to fire his atomic breath straight down the MUTO's throat and decapitating it. And Kong, in retrospect, is a rather intelligent creature. So, in my opinion, it wouldn't be too out there to assume that these two would mutually ally themselves with one another if it meant their own survival. Just look at how the Tyrannosaurus Rex and Blue, the Velociraptor both battled the Indominus Rex, and parted ways without even snarling at each other during the climax of Jurassic World (2015). That could be how Godzilla and Kong end up. Both go their separate ways and continue on in future sequels.

While I don't object a Godzilla/Kong alliance against a much more evil third party, I hope that the writers do think up something much more original. Perhaps Universal may allow Kong to perish at the claws or atomic breath of Godzilla. It would make things pretty even after the ending of the original. Despite my hope for originality, the whole unlikely partnership angle seems to be the most plausible for this film.

What are your thoughts on Godzilla vs. Kong (2020) or even for Kong: Skull Island (2017) or Godzilla 2 (2018)? Mention it in the comments section below!

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