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If you’re looking forward to Godzilla vs. Kong, then chances are you’re rooting for one of the title two Titans… or maybe you don’t care who emerges victorious and simply enjoy watching giant monsters pummel each other. Either way, upon watching the Godzilla vs. Kong trailer, one wouldn’t be faulted for thinking that King Kong is being presented as the hero, while Godzilla serves as the villain. But according to Godzilla vs. Kong producer Alex Garcia, neither of the Titans really fill these straightforward categories.
Among the many topics brought up in conversation with Alex Garcia during my visit to the Godzilla vs. Kong set in 2019 was whether there was an effort to establish both characters as heroic, or if one of them is specifically labeled as an antagonist. He answered thusly:
It depends on how you’re looking at them. I think they’re both characters who are fighting for something, which is distinct to them. And those things happen to sometimes be what’s good for us, but they don’t always align. Neither of them is inherently evil, but they’re also not inherently good, right? And I think that’s where the complexity of us, of mankind, and our relation to them really come into play.
Although Godzilla: King of the Monsters made it clear that the Titans’ presence on Earth are necessary for the planet to heal from the damage humanity has inflicted, these monsters are also responsible for a lot of human casualties, whether it’s as collateral damage during a fight or simply by walking/swimming/flying around. That said, the Godzilla vs. Kong trailer showed that Godzilla is behaving erratically and leaving a trail of destruction across the globe significantly bigger than usual, leaving it up to King Kong to stop him while he’s being transported away from Skull Island.
Obviously the full scope of Godzilla vs. Kong won’t be revealed until the fourth MonsterVerse premieres in theaters and on HBO Max later this month (use this link to sign up for the streaming platform if you’re not already subscribed to it), but Alex Garcia added that the eponymous monsters aren’t carrying actions that can be looked at as all good or all evil, but simply reacting to how their respective worlds are changing. In his words:
… Neither of them is an antagonist per-say… What’s cool about this movie also is that it’s the first time we see Kong leave Skull Island in our mythology. There’s a lot that comes with that. He’s now sort of coming to terms with this new reality, and what does that mean? And similarly, Godzilla is frantically trying to defend his own power structure. And it’s not like Godzilla is a tyrant, but he is trying to maintain this bigger balance that he feels is under threat, and he sees Kong as potentially being one of those threats.
Now all this isn’t to say that Godzilla vs. Kong doesn’t have an antagonist. There’s some kind of conspiracy involving the corporation known as Apex, and merchandise leaks for the movie have revealed a surely greater threat to the world (no spoilers here). But as far as Godzilla and King Kong are concerned, the latest chapters of their lives will see them colliding in several locations, and it’s been made abundantly clear that one of them will ultimately emerge victorious. Whether that means one will be slaughtered by the other, or the loser will be left alive by the winner, allowing for them to team up at a late date, we’ll just have to wait and see.
Godzilla vs. Kong arrives on March 31, and while there’s no word yet on if the MonsterVerse will continue after that, Alex Garcia noted that seeds are planted in this movie for the franchise to explore its “greater mythology” in more installments.