2014, 2017, 2019
DIRECTORS: Gareth Edward’s, Jordan Vogt-Roberts & Michael Dougherty
Beginning with Godzilla in 2014, the 1998 debacle has been consigned to history, finally a decent westernized version of the Toho classic, Gojira was finally realised.
This version of Godzilla was modified not just for the 21st century but also for some very practical reasons.
Originally conceived as a metorphor for the US atomic attacks on Japan in 1945, and due to the continued US occupation of the country which prevented the Japanese from openly criticising their occupiers, Gojira was a way of tackling the horrific issues surrounding the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki under the radar, as it were.
Godzilla was a walking nuclear bomb. He destroyed cities and irradiated the population in the process. But this is not as relevant now as it was then so Director Garath Edwards reversed this. Making Godzilla an ecological force for good.
A hero who absorbed radiation rather than spreading it. An Alpha who keeps the other Titans, or prehistoric monsters to us, in line.
Whilst many found the 2014 film to be a bit slow, filled with under developed characters, I did not agree. The pacing and focus on build up rather than the pay off of an epic monster mash at every turn, reminded me of a good Spielberg movie and was well judged in my opinion.
This point would be proven the 2019 sequel, Godzilla: King of the Monsters. Not a bad film, and a good sequel, moving the plot forwards and world building but hindered by a large and again, slightly under developed set of characters and way too much action to keep up with.
If you want over two hours of monster mashing then this is your film.
But in the middle of all this titanic carnage was Kong: Skull Iskand in 2017. Set in 1973 we are reintroduced to King Kong himself. This time he is ruling a land of Titans rather than dinosaurs and the field is set for the next big showdown, Kong vs. Godzilla later this year (2020).
Kong was ok. It is my least favourite of the three Monster-verse movies so far. A bit slow going and the plot is just one of those “trapped on a Island being picked off one by one till they can escape.
But the stage is set for the King of the Monsters (Godzilla that is) to fight to keep his crown.
Who will be victorious? We will have to wait and see as we also wait to see whether Kong and Godzilla’s smackdown will be enough to drive this franchise forward or just serve as a conclusion.
In the 1962 original, it was a draw…
Personally, even though I am not loving this series, I do like it and really hope that Warner Bros. may be able to make a success out of this franchise, certainly more so than the DCU series. At least in the battle for extended universes, this is both different and well established, with Kong debuting in 1933 and Godzilla back in 1954.
And the latest news seems to be that the next installment (Godzilla vs Kong) will have the shortest runtime yet, at just 105 mins, with a reassurance that the plot and character development will not be compromised.
Personally, I like this. Brevity can be very welcome in a film like this, where the main cut and thrust of the movie is just monsters beating each otherq. How long does it take?
Let battle commence…