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The ultimate battle for supremacy over the world’s largest beasts is about to commence when Godzilla vs. Kong comes to theaters and HBO Max on Wednesday, March, 31, 2021. This is an earth-shattering conflict years in the making, having first been set up in 2014’s Godzilla reboot, followed by our reintroduction to King Kong three years later in Kong: Skull Island, and a revisit with the big lizard in 2019’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters.
However, as any successful shared universe has been smart enough to do, the idea of this “MonsterVerse,” as it has since become known as, was never officially made public until a year after the release of its first installment. When Warner Bros. and Legendary Entertainment confirmed in 2014 that they were acquiring the rights to a new King Kong film, fans and media began to speculate if the building-sized ape was destined to, once again, cross paths with his reptilian adversary. Their theories were proved correct amid the announcement of Godzilla vs. Kong in 2015.
Of course, as even the most successful shared universes have been prone to, not every chapter has been told in chronological order. Well, to ensure you are properly prepared for the moment this titanic tussle hits the big screen (or your own small screen), we have taken the time to conduct a quick, convenient, and spoiler-free breakdown of each film in the MonsterVerse and their most important events in their canonical order, starting with a trip back to a time when B-movies ruled the Earth.
Kong: Skull Island (2017)
Our first introduction to the larger-than-life primate with an even larger heart in 1933’s King Kong saw him captured from his mysterious home and brought to his demise on our own turf. In the sixth live action feature starring the legendary monster from director Jordan Vogt-Roberts, a group of explorers including a government official (John Goodman), a former British Special Forces captain (Tom Hiddleston), an intrepid photographer (Brie Larson), and more fall prisoner to his jungle.
Set in 1973, Kong: Skull Island sees Monarch, a government organization studying primeval creatures, receive validation for its theories upon the moment they lay eyes on the titular ape. However, according to MonsterVerse canon, their true validation came in the form of another figure of gargantuan royalty.
More than 40 years after the events of Kong: Skull Island (but released three years earlier), Monarch’s best kept secret is finally revealed… at about the halfway point, that is. Following his acclaimed 2010 debut Monsters, director Gareth Edwards' Godzilla reboot from 2014 establishes the bulky reptile as the hero of the story when a winged creature known only as a MUTO (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism) emerges from its chrysalis in Japan.
We also meet Aaron Taylor-Johnson as U.S. Navy officer and family man, Ford Brody, once a disbeliever in his physicist father's (Bryan Cranston) theories about monsters, who learns about Godzilla (awaked in the mid-1950s) and how he may be humanity's last hope against the MUTOs from Monarch’s Ishiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) and Vivienne Graham (Sally Hawkins). Despite the titular monster's atomic-breathtaking appearance, he receives less screen time than his human allies, which proved polarizing to many fans. The producers of the MonsterVerse were sure to correct this for the return or the king.
Rent Godzilla on Amazon here.
Godzilla: King Of The Monsters (2019)
In Trick ‘r Treat director Michael Dougherty’s direct Godzilla sequel, a flashback reveals former Monarch researchers Mark Russell (Kyle Chandler) is reluctantly called back when disaster strikes. His ex-wife Emma (Vera Farmiga) and daughter Madison (Millie Bobby Brown) are kidnapped by a terrorist (Charles Dance) using a Titan communication device of his invention of Russell's invention to set monsters amok. The worst of them all is the three-headed, self-healing dragon King Ghidorah, whose beastly army also includes the winged Rodan.
Our scaly hero is then called out of his five-year hibernation for his greatest challenge yet to prove if he truly is, as the title suggests, Godzilla: King of the Monsters. Fortunately, he does receive some much-needed help from his human allies (including Ken Watanabe returning as Ishiro Serizawa) and insect-like Mothra. Of course, true ultimate battle for dominance is upon us.
Godzilla Vs. Kong (2021)
Admittedly, this crossover event will not be the first time audiences have been treated to a face-off between the iconic monsters as 1962’s King Kong vs. Godzilla saw the ape saving Japan from the reptile. However, both Titans have already been established as “good guys” so, this time, there does not seem to be a clear choice of who to root for… between the two of them, that is.
I would not be surprised if all it took to end the the titular monsters' quarrel is a common enemy, a la Doomsday in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and, considering the amount of Titans introduced in Godzilla: King of the Monsters, there are more than a few worthy contenders. Yet, director Adam Wingard has said he wanted Godzilla vs. Kong to have a definitive winner and maybe Millie Bobby Brown’s reprisal as Madison Russell will be key in determining who should come out on top as the true king. Whatever the results of this royal rumble turn out to be, one is for sure: it is going to get messy.
Stream Godzilla Vs. Kong on HBO Max on March 31, 2021.
You know, the ability to watch Godzilla vs. Kong from the safety and comfort of your own home on HBO Max is something to appreciate in the Covid-19 era. Yet, I just cannot imagine that could ever do justice to a film in which size is an important theme. Once the popcorn epic drops, how do you intend to make sure you have the best viewing experience possible?