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As the fate of the MonsterVerse remains uncertain, even in the afterglow of Godzilla vs. Kong’s amazing opening, there’s no question who won the title match at the heart of the film. However, there’s another question that has come up during the discussion of director Adam Wingard’s new entry in Warner Bros’ revitalized MonsterVerse. While the movie is titled Godzilla vs. Kong, is it more of a Godzilla movie or more of a prequel depicting the rise of the future King, Kong?
The Godzilla Movie In Godzilla Vs. Kong
If you were to follow Godzilla’s story in Godzilla vs. Kong, then this is a Godzilla movie akin to something like Diamonds Are Forever. On the trail of the evil corporation Apex Cybernetics and its plans to create a Mechagodzilla, the lizard god’s grudge against Walter Simmons (Demian Bichir) is like the epic rivalry between Bond and Blofeld. The big exception, of course, is that Godzilla’s actions force him to be painted as a villain to Monarch and a majority of the humans in the film.
That distinction leads to Godzilla’s plotline including Madison Russell (Millie Bobby Brown) and her human friends trying to blow the lid off of Apex’s foul deeds. The Godzilla vs. Kong plot that Team Godzilla’s portion moves through is a tale of conspiracy and revenge, which helps ensure that Godzilla’s seen not as a total villain but is instead seen as a scorned anti-hero. Which, to be fair, is exciting stuff; unfortunately that’s also not the bulk of this particular movie.
The King Kong Movie In Godzilla Vs. Kong
Not yet a king, but not the young Titan from Kong: Skull Island, Kong’s world is one of seclusion and protection. With Skull Island sealed off by a Monarch dome, and overseen by the watchful eye of Dr. Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall) Godzilla vs. Kong sets this particular Titan up as the underdog the audience can root for. Especially when, by all comparisons, Kong has historically been underpowered and smaller in stature compared to Godzilla.
Throughout Godzilla vs. Kong, Kong’s story reveals the existence of the Hollow Earth, which was introduced in Godzilla: King of the Monsters, as well as the history of his kind ruling that dominion. From this point, Kong becomes King, taking his throne in the center of the Earth, and fighting the various Titans that occupy that realm. Both of these plots sound like they’d drive an entire film, but who’s really the star of Godzilla vs. Kong?
Godzilla Or Kong: Whose Movie Is Godzilla Vs. Kong Anyway?
To me, Godzilla vs. Kong is, without question, a Kong movie. Yes, it’s got huge Godzilla fights and Kong does technically even lose to the lizard god in the third and final round. Yet, both of those components make the Kong portion of this MonsterVerse matchup the thematic fulcrum that the movie pivots on throughout.
Not only is the Hollow Earth that’s central to the film the actual home court of Kong’s kingdom, but most of the huge story beats revolve around Kong. Godzilla vs. Kong sees the Simmons family and Apex Cybernetics basically trying to hire Kong to find the Hollow Earth, leading to a way to defeat Godzilla. If it wasn’t for Kong, that grudge match between Godzilla and Mechagodzilla would have probably ended fatally for our large lizard friend.
The sprinkles that really seal this argument see Godzilla vs. Kong’s overall story hinging on Kong’s actions, as well ending things with his ascension to the Hollow Earth throne. Godzilla heads off to the sea, as he always does when the job is done; however, by this time we already know he’s going to do that because we dove into his story in Godzilla: King of the Monsters. With more details revealed about his lineage, and even more set up for his future being presented in its execution, I think it's safe to say Godzilla vs. Kong is totally a King Kong prequel.
What Adam Wingard Has To Say About Godzilla Vs. Kong
Director Adam Wingard promised the world that Godzilla vs. Kong would have a definitive winner, and he delivered on that promise. But just as the film has a surefire victor, it also has a clear focus as to which Titan it favors with its story, and Kong comes out on top once again. When talking to Film School Rejects about the matter, Wingard laid out why Godzilla vs. Kong follows the son of Skull Island’s story more prominently:
Kong is also the underdog. He’s at a severe disadvantage in terms of this fight. Nobody wants to watch Rocky and have it be about Apollo Creed because he’s already ahead. What even is that movie? It’s just [Apollo] relaxing, having fun, being confident. Then he fights this guy at the end of the movie, and he’s kind of surprised that the guy’s pretty good? You want to follow the character that has the most to prove and has the most odds stacked against them.
There you have it, dear readers. Even if there’s a case for talking out whether Godzilla vs. Kong is a Godzilla sequel or a King Kong prequel, Adam Wingard and the folks behind the MonsterVerse’s writers room have a definitive answer to this very question. Kong reigns supreme, and holds court in the bigger picture of Godzilla vs. Kong.
Though this seems to be the definitive take on the matter, that doesn’t mean the audience needs to roll over and accept the result. There’s still room to respectfully disagree with what’s been said above, in order to construct an alternate theory that sees Toho’s legendary creation still reigning supreme. Which means it’s time for some research on your part.
Godzilla vs. Kong is a key component to these studies, and can be found at a theater near you, or through streaming on HBO Max. However, if you want to revisit both previous Godzilla films, as well as Kong: Skull Island, you’re going to need a subscription to Warner Bros’ big ticket film library. If you’re not already in the HBO Max subscriber’s pool, then you should absolutely check out the six-month prepaid subscription offer that will fix your woes instantly.