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Something happened when the trailer for Godzilla vs. Kong was released that sort of blew me away: people got really excited about it. I mean, that's not to say that I expected the new film's trailer to go by completely unnoticed, but i was surprised by the degree to which people seemed to get really excited about Godzilla vs. Kong. That's because they certainly didn't seem to feel the same way about the movie's direct predecessor, Godzilla: King of the Monsters.
If you enjoyed seeing Kong punch Godzilla square in the face in the new trailer, then you really need to see the previous film. Godzilla: King of the Monsters is basically that taken to an extreme level. And since we can be fairly certain that Godzilla vs. Kong is going to be much more than just the two title characters, all signs point to the new movie taking a few cues from its predecessor. Still, there are several different reasons you need to give King of the Monsters a watch:
You Probably Didn't See It In Theaters
The main reason that you need to see Godzilla: King of the Monsters before you see Godzilla vs. Kong is that, based on the box office response of that film, you didn't see it the first time around. It feels, based on the degree of excitement surrounding the upcoming film, that a lot more people are interested in this movie. Which means many of the people looking forward to this one didn't see King of the Monsters, and that's a borderline criminal offense.
Godzilla : King of the Monsters is everything you want if what you want is a movie where massive beasts beat the hell out of each other. Unlike the previous Godzilla movie or even Kong: Skull Island, which were movies about people dealing with these massive creatures, King of the Monsters is squarely about Godzilla, and the human story just sort of goes along for the ride. That's the way it should be, right? That's certainly the vibe we're getting from Godzilla vs. Kong as well.
The Kaiju Action Is Excellent
First and foremost, if what you see in the Godzilla vs. Kong trailer looks good to you from an action standpoint, then Godzilla: King of the Monsters is going to be a total blast. There are three massive monsters in addition to Godzilla who are part of the main story and throw down with each other on multiple occasions throughout the film. In addition to Godzilla, you get Mothra, Rodan and King Ghidorah, and they all tear each other, and occasionally human civilization, apart.
If you were somebody who did not give King of the Monsters a chance because you were underwhelmed by the lack of action in Godzilla, then you can take comfort knowing that's not a problem here. The 2014 film decided the best thing to do was with Godzilla was go the Jaws route and hide the creature until the end of the movie. That's a valid idea in some cases; the problem is that by the time Godzilla actually appeared at the end, the audience reaction was one of relief, not excitement. No worries about that here, as there's all monsters, all the time.
Godzilla: King Of The Monsters Was Not Afraid To Have Fun
At the end of the day, these movies are about giant monsters causing mass destruction while humanity runs for cover. The premise is intrinsically silly, and while the original Godzilla movie from the 1950s was played entirely straight, most of the ensuing sequels in Japan are well aware that this whole thing is difficult to take seriously. Godzilla: King of the Monsters embraces this fact by letting the movie have moments of comic relief.
While the movie never gets too silly (at least in my opinion), it does allow the characters, specifically Bradley Whitford's Dr. Stanton, to say the things that we're all thinking. These movies are supposed to be fun and they're supposed to be a spectacle, not heavy dramas. Kong: Skull Island found that balance, and so did King of the Monsters.
It May Have More Connections To Godzilla Vs. Kong Than Other Films In The Franchise
Technically speaking, Godzilla vs. Kong will be the fourth film in the current "Monsterverse" but if you only actually watch one other movie before the new one, Godzilla: King of the Monsters is really the one you need to see. The sequel to 2014's Godzilla has almost nothing in common with its sequel. Almost all the characters of the first film do not return for King of the Monsters. However, a significant number of King of the Monsters characters, like those played by Millie Bobby Brown, and Kyle Chandler, will play a role in the next movie.
And Kong: Skull Island is the same way. While that movie is also really good and you should see it, it's set decades before the Godzilla movies, and so it seems unlikely that many specific details from that movie will be important here. The handful of characters that actually survived Skull Island are going to be dead or too old to go fighting monsters by the time of Godzilla vs. Kong.
It's Easy To Watch On HBO Max
If you're looking forward to Godzilla vs. Kong, then you've probably set yourself up with an HBO Max subscription whether or not you had one previously. Or if not, you're planning to get one soon. And the good news is, now that you have that subscription, you can watch Godzilla: King of the Monsters as well, as it's already part of the streaming service. At that point, you might as well give it a watch as you're paying for it anyway. If you've already seen it, you should watch it again.
There's really no reason not to watch Godzilla: King of the Monsters, and perhaps by now, many more people who skipped out on this movie's theatrical run have caught up with it. But honestly, everybody who didn't go see this on the biggest screen possible at the time missed out on something. In this case, if you're going to watch Godzilla vs. Kong on HBO Max and not in theaters, you're forgiven, as there are significantly extenuating circumstances here.