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At the end of 2014’s Godzilla, after the titular beast has prevailed over the MUTOs and saved what was left of San Francisco, the news reports declare him King of the Monsters and query if he is the savior of the city. The idea of Godzilla as a savior is apt for the sequel, Godzilla: King of the Monsters. The film’s director, Michael Dougherty, really wanted the film to put the ‘god’ back in Godzilla, as he explained:
Myself and my writing partner, Zach Shields, we kept saying that we wanted to put the 'god' back in Godzilla. By that, I mean, the way that I always saw the creatures growing up. I didn't see men in rubber suits. I saw ancient, powerful, mythic creatures. To me, these creatures were intelligent beings fighting out old grudges. They were the equivalent of dragons and giants, and all the creatures you read about in mythology and the Bible. That's what they were. That's sort of element that we wanted to add to the film.
By saying they wanted to put the ‘god’ back into Godzilla, Mike Dougherty meant that he and Zach Shields saw Godzilla a certain way and they wanted to bring their vision for the character to life in the film. The way that they saw Godzilla and the Titans was not as cheap movie monsters or the result of a science experiments gone awry, but like dragons, giants, the Old Ones or any other mythological beasts and creatures so wondrous and magnificent that they defy comprehension.
As he told Total Film Magazine, Mike Dougherty wanted Godzilla and the other Titans to feel ancient and unknowable, mythic and biblical, with a power and scale that is truly godlike. Like gods, these are creatures whose motivations and machinations take place on a higher plane beyond our understanding, and when they clash, looking to settle scores millennia in the making, the result is truly apocalyptic, like something out of the Bible.
Mike Dougherty has really leaned into that biblical feel with the film, and not long ago he even tweeted a new image out from the film accompanied by a verse from the Book of Job. This sort of ancient, god-like feel really sets Godzilla 2's Titans apart from the monster in Cloverfield or the Kaiju in Pacific Rim.
This element may have been lacking in the previous MonsterVerse movies, although I would argue Kong: Skull Island did some work to expand the mythology, but Mike Dougherty really wanted to bring it to the fore in Godzilla: King of the Monsters. And although we have yet to see the film, he appears to have done just that based on the trailers.
This word is often overused, but the trailers for Godzilla: King of the Monsters have felt truly epic, and I think a big part of that is because of what Mike Dougherty talked about, putting the ‘god’ back in Godzilla. The trailers have talked about the leviathans known as Titans being the planet’s original inhabitants and the images of their battle has looked like something out of the end times, with one side fighting to protect humanity and another looking to destroy it.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters roars into theaters on May 31. Check out our 2019 release schedule to keep track of all this year’s biggest movies.