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Team-up movies are one of the hardest concepts to crack when it comes to the world of cinematic universes. Godzilla vs. Kong director Adam Wingard absolutely understands that fact, particularly when it comes to introducing those two titular Titans in the showdown of the century. But when he was given the task to push the MonsterVerse forward in a major way, Wingard actually took an important lesson from Zack Snyder’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and it was something that even classic Godzilla franchise history had reinforced. In order to make a proper fight night, you need to have the proper stakes surrounding your combatants.
During a recent virtual roundtable I attended on behalf of CinemaBlend, Adam Wingard was on hand to talk all things Godzilla vs. Kong, and his approach to the film couldn’t have been clearer. A fan of sequels and their awesome power to expand a universe, Wingard threw out some of the most revered titles in progressing the stories of massive and iconic stories. But when it came to what Wingard wanted to avoid in Godzilla vs. Kong, he had a clear vision of how both Godzilla and Kong needed to be grounded in a particular way before they could ever believably fight. And thanks to Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, this is how that thought process played out in Adam Wingard’s head:
Now, in all absolute fairness, and with great deference to Ben Affleck’s exemplary performance as Bruce Wayne/Batman, one of the problems that most people agree befell Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice was the fact that it kind of rushed the DCEU into that big, blockbusting match-up. We were being introduced to Bruce Wayne later in his career, as well as Affleck’s interpretation of the character, in a film that was technically a sequel to Henry Cavill’s introduction as Superman in Man of Steel. No matter how you feel about Zack Snyder’s DC Comics output, it can at least be agreed upon that Batman v. Superman was putting the cart before the horse a bit.
What makes Adam Wingard’s approach to avoiding such problems in Godzilla vs. Kong is the fact that, if he really wanted to, he could have put more of his own signature on the film. Hearing him tell the next part of the story was rather surprising, as that gorgeous trailer for Mr. Wingard’s MonsterVerse follow-up seemed to already be coated in that colorfully gorgeous aesthetic that the director has used in the past; especially with his 2014 barn-burner The Guest. Continuing his discussion of having the proper stakes involved with these gigantic creatures fighting it out for dominance, Adam Wingard continued to outline his intent as follows:
When Godzilla vs. Kong was initially announced, people were already concerned with how the Kong we saw in director Jordan Vogt-Roberts’ Kong: Skull Island would measure up against the Godzilla we’d already seen in the big 2014 reboot. Their relative sizes were an issue that a lot of people worried would make this adventure hard to take seriously, even though the caveat that Kong was a young man when we first met him was already in place. So right there is all the justification you need for Adam Wingard to be as concerned as he was that, if he wasn’t careful, he’d make a Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice style misstep.
It all ties back into Adam Wingard’s love of sequels, which in itself is yet another Hollywood construct that fans already love to hate. While we all want more of what we love, getting what we want isn’t always the happiness we’d hoped for, as seen through the scores of subpar second acts we’ve seen throughout history. Perhaps the greatest asset that Adam Wingard had in his director’s toolbox, especially when tackling a movie like Godzilla vs. Kong, is the fact that he absolutely loves the medium of sequels, invoking two of the greatest examples to have ever existed in this final quote:
As a sequel and a team-up movie, Godzilla vs. Kong already felt like it had two strikes against it from the start. Though, thanks to a trailer so impressive fans everywhere lost their minds over its contents, Adam Wingard’s film seems to have started its journey to crowd pleasing off on the right foot. March 31 will prove to be the big day of destiny for the massive undertaking, and if you don’t feel like heading to a theater near you, you’d better have an HBO Max subscription to enjoy the fun.
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Mike Reyes is the Senior Movie Contributor at CinemaBlend, though that title’s more of a guideline really. Passionate about entertainment since grade school, the movies have always held a special place in his life, which explains his current occupation. Mike graduated from Drew University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, but swore off of running for public office a long time ago. Mike's expertise ranges from James Bond to everything Alita, making for a brilliantly eclectic resume. He fights for the user.