Two monsters enter, one monster leaves - that definitely sounds the case with Godzilla vs. Kong. Getting in on the current popularity of shared universes, Legendary are building the MonsterVerse - a kaiju-focused series that will eventually pit the two most iconic movie monsters of all-time against each other. It kicked off with Godzilla in 2014, expanded with Kong: Skull Island earlier this year and after Godzilla 2 in 2019 will come to a head in Adam Wingard's 2020 film where the pair finally meet.
Versus movies bring with them a lot of tricky considerations, not least deciding who's actually going to win; the filmmakers are realizing generations of schoolyard debates and risk offending massive fanbases if they do it wrong. That's why even when a character in these team-up movies "wins", it's often of a muted victory; Freddy vs. Jason went on the side of the Friday the 13th killer but kept Kruger alive, while Alien vs. Predator had the victorious Yautja fall foul of a chestburster. It doesn't look like Godzilla vs. Kong will be skirting any middle-ground though.
"I do want there to be a winner. The original film was very fun, but you feel a little let down that the movie doesn’t take a definitive stance. People are still debating now who won in that original movie, you know. So, I do want people to walk away from this film feeling like, Okay, there is a winner."
As the director alludes to, his film won't be the first time the two icons have fought on screen. The first case was King Kong vs. Godzilla, a 1962 Japanese film that had the Toho icon take on a gigantic version of the big ape. The film ends with the pair falling into the sea and only Kong emerging but makes it seem very likely the giant lizard also survived. The ending was so weird that an urban myth even sparked up that the ending varied on territory and in Japan Gojira came out on top (it's not true).
Wingard's comments suggest that this time one kaiju will leave victorious, a rather bold move. Of course, it's a little easier with monsters than it was in the superheroes of Batman v Superman or Captain America: Civil War; the combatants are already antagonistic in some ways and so can be defeated without creating as many problems. Having a proper victor is a strong creative choice that bodes well for the film; versus movies often feel gimmicky, but it appears Wingard is treating the concept seriously.
As for which monster it'll be who wins, that'll likely remain a closely guarded secret. Although given that Kong was the only confirmed survivor of their previous bout, maybe it's time Godzilla rebalanced the scales.
- Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) release date: May 31, 2019
- Godzilla vs. Kong (2020) release date: Nov 20, 2020