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The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

Godzilla vs Kong: Titanic Success? (Spoilers ahead)


Last month, “Godzilla vs Kong” was released in US theaters and on HBO Max, and according to Deadline’s Nancy Tartaglione, has grossed $285.4 million as of April 4. Almost immediately, the movie has become the most successful box office release during the COVID era.

Coming in at 75% for the Tomatometer and 92% for the audience score, the movie sees a noticeable jump from its three predecessor movies in the current Monsterverse, with “Godzilla” (2014), “Kong: Skull Island,” and “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” all coming in at notably lower percentages.

The crossover between the alpha titans was better received among the critics and the audience. The flaws found in the other films, such as weak character development and not enough titans punching each other, were addressed considerably well in “Godzilla vs Kong,” according to its audience. 

With that in mind, even with the flaws still present (such as a B-plot taking up a relatively significant amount of time without much payoff other than comic relief and exposition) it’s clear that director Adam Wingard listens to the fans. However, instead of completely shifting the focus to the titans and abandoning the humans, he seems to have taken a more unique approach.

Similar to much of the Toho era of the Monsterverse, “Godzilla vs Kong” embraced an element of lighthearted silliness and fun. Several homages to the 1962 “King Kong vs Godzilla” were made in this film. These homages included Kong shoving his ax handle into Godzilla’s mouth as a reference to the iconic tree scene, the Kong helicopter/balloon transport, and Godzilla smashing face-first into a building as a reference to Kong knocking himself out after attempting to throw a rock at Godzilla.

Fleeting references and details brought so much more depth to the titans to the point where we saw more than just epic fight scenes. Exponentially more than the previous films, “Godzilla vs Kong” allows each of their personalities to shine.

Through their mannerisms, the audience can better see what motivates them, what they’re thinking, and how they’re reacting. A subtle moment of this is when MechaGodzilla, controlled by the surviving left head of King Ghidorah, (affectionately dubbed by much of the fanbase as Kevin) finds the real Godzilla, goes berserk, and turns the King of the Monsters into a punching bag. Even when Kong rejoins the fight to attack Mecha and poses more of a threat, he still seems to focus on Godzilla as he’s not forgotten his defeat in 2019’s “King of the Monsters.”

Although some critics, such as Brad Curran from Screenrant, have proposed a titan-only film due to the underwhelming human characters involved in the story, what was shown in the most recent film proves that the human characters have a chance to play an integral role in upcoming plots.

Kaylee Hottle played Jia, a deaf girl indigenous to Skull Island, and is easily one of the best characters in the franchise so far. Being the only survivor of Skull Island’s Iwi population, we see Kong has established a sort of paternal bond with her, going as far as learning sign language to communicate with her. (Secretly, despite being under heavy surveillance 24/7… Somehow). 

After his family was wiped out by the invasive Skull crawlers when he was young, Kong is the last of his kind and feels empathy for Jia, being the last of her people and orphaned at a young age as well. This context makes their relationship so much more authentic and genuine, and it smoothly drives the plot forward without forcing it. The general human cast was able to sit on the sidelines and do what is necessary, without taking too much screen time away from the monster fights we all came to see.

Nothing has been confirmed for upcoming films, but with numerous other titans introduced in the past, there are plenty of options to go around. Director Adam Winegard expressed his opinions in a recent interview, saying:

“I would love to do another and I know where I’d go, but I don’t want to say anything too detailed, because if anything, a lot of things could change,” explains the director. “Even if I was hired to do another, let’s say, maybe we come up with an even cooler idea. So I know where I’d go with it, but I don’t want to box myself in any corners.”

It’s unclear whether another film will be announced soon, let alone one being released in the foreseeable future but whatever happens, high hopes and expectations are to be had, and all we can do at this point is congratulate everyone involved for another successful addition to the Monsterverse.

Featured Image courtesy of chiendol via Flickr Creative Commons

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Godzilla vs Kong: Titanic Success? (Spoilers ahead)