Many have fantasized about big films between heroes and protagonists we love, and when it comes to fruition, the hype massively begins to build until the theatrical film is released, and people swarm to theaters for the execution. It is like watching one of those dream matches in mixed martial arts or professional wrestling, and the reactions are explosive.
Famous examples in previous years are Warner Brothers’ Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Marvel Studios Captain America: Civil War, and M. Night Shyamalan’s Glass. The reception of those was ridiculously varied, and now we have another big-budget film pitting two adored heroes against each other, Godzilla vs. Kong. The million-dollar question is, will it be worth it?
Setting asides any external circumstances that have delayed this blockbuster to the 2021 list of films, we must consider how the MonsterVerse (owned by Legendary Entertainment Warner Brothers) has performed so far.
The first Godzilla film that initiated this franchise came in 2014. It reimagines the origins of Godzilla to contemporary times and set over a decade after a nuclear meltdown in Japan that awoke two monstrosities called “MUTOs.” They battle it out throughout the film, albeit in a limited capacity as the story weaves with a family caught amid this warfare. The movie was enjoyable but hit by multiple flaws such as Godzilla having only a few screen time minutes, reduced to a secondary character, and the action cutting away too much. The finale did make up for it, though, and it gave audiences a glimpse of the future for this franchise (and monsters).
Then, Kong: Skull Island arrived in 2017 as the second feature of the franchise. Audiences witness a film with scientists and soldiers of the Vietnam War converging at an uncharted island to discover the legendary Kong and other terrifying creatures. With similar motives and battle sequences to Godzilla, this was another work that secured a complimentary reception. Not perfect by any means, but entertaining.
Finally, Godzilla: King of the Monsters released in 2019. This sequel introduced more titans to the universe and more kaiju action (after its predecessors lacked in this department). Unfortunately, the result was a mundane film that tried to cover its flaws with all the action and ended up becoming worse. Overstuffed and action-packed, but severely paper-thin and not exciting in the slightest. It fell because the storytelling was dilapidated and packed with too many cute spots to the point it became preposterous. This sequel did not warrant its stay and ended up remarkably close to being dubbed as a box-office bomb (unlike its predecessors).
So, what is the problem? Even though Godzilla vs. Kong could potentially be a fantastic film, it pains this writer to believe it may fall into the same category Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice did. On paper, this should be one of the most anticipated films next year, but the execution could leave a lot to become desired.
Batman v Superman was a film that was supposedly Warner Brothers’ answer to Marvel Studios’ Captain America: Civil War masterpiece. The marketing gave way too much away, and the result was a head-scratching feature that polarized audiences over issues of storytelling, the acting, and the foolish twist in the third act. We spend two hours watching a film surrounded by journalistic jargon and lousy obstacles to get an eight-minute fight between two guys who would have been better off not being in the feature altogether. The same fate could fall upon the 2021 release and could taint the franchise for the foreseeable future.
The other major thing is Godzilla vs. Kong also deals with the fallout from the mediocre King of the Monsters, and it now must be a sure-fire hit to ensure audiences will pay the ticket to view it. If not, it will cost Warner Brothers and their production team a lot for failing to promise on a much-awaited feature. The action needs to be stable but effective, and the storytelling must be fulfilling and comprehendible. One can only hope Warner Brothers delivers with Godzilla vs. Kong. Still, the final result will reveal to audiences if they should ever keep their hopes up again or bluntly accept the truth that not every film can meet expectations.