Why Godzilla vs. Kong Has A Lethal Weapon 2 Reference And Almost Had A Lot More

Mel Gibson and Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon 2

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Mentioning Godzilla vs. Kong and Lethal Weapon 2 in the same sentence might seem like a weird thing to do at first. The former movie sees two of pop culture’s most famous kaiju finally fighting each other in a Hollywood blockbuster setting, while the other was the sophomore outing of Mel Gibson’s Martin Riggs and Danny Glover’s Roger Murtagh, one of the most iconic buddy cop duos. What could these two possibly have in common? Well, nothing really from a narrative sense, but it turns out that Lethal Weapon 2 was all the rage with the Godzilla vs. Kong team, so much so that a reference to the 1989 sequel were thrown into the latest MonsterVerse movie, and many more were cut.

Having heard about this passion for Lethal Weapon 2 ahead of my interview with Godzilla vs. Kong’s Max Borenstein, I asked the co-writer about working those references into the script and why that specific movie was chosen. Here’s what Borenstein had to say:

[Adam Wingard] is obsessed with it, it happens to be one of my favorite movies too. I don’t know how many made it in. A lot of the ones I remember most being in the script didn’t make it in. It was a lot with Alex Skarsgard’s character where he was obsessed with the film and he gave this exposition at a bar before Simmons arrived, and it wound up on the cutting room floor, but he talked about sequels and how some sequels, like maybe Godfather 2, people who like 2 [think it’s] actually better than the original. And I think it was was a kind of meta thing having to do with the ambitions of this film and the franchise, fun stuff like that.

So within the MonsterVerse, we can count Alexander Skarsgard’s Dr. Nathan Lind as one of Lethal Weapon 2’s biggest fans, so much so that he was talking about it before he was approached by Damian Bichir’s Walter Simmons, the head of Apex Cybernetics. But that cut aspect also doubled as meta commentary on Godzilla vs. Kong and the MonsterVerse as a whole, and since we’re four movies deep into this franchise, obviously opinions will range on which is the best of the bunch. Maybe you like how Godzilla kicked things off, or perhaps you prefer one of the middle offerings, i.e. Kong: Skull Island or Godzilla: King of the Monsters. Going off the critical reception, there will definitely be a lot of people who rank Godzilla vs. Kong at the top of their MonsterVerse list.

But just how deep did Godzilla vs. Kong’s Lethal Weapon 2 references go? During his recent appearance on the Reelblend podcast, director Adam Wingard shed some light on the subject with the following:

If you look at the end credits, there’s still a reference -- at the very end of the credits, it kind of mentions a lot of stuff that we had to give thanks to for copyright reasons. And we had to give a thanks to, or a credit to, Lethal Weapon 2. I can’t remember if it’s still in the film, or if they had to leave it in for legal reasons. But Skarsgard’s character used to drink out of a Lethal Weapon 2 mug in the movie. Actually, he used to wear a Lethal Weapon 2 t-shirt, but it was like a Japanese [version], so you would only know what it said if you spoke Japanese or read Japanese.

Look, if the MonsterVerse keeps going, I’m all for more classic action franchises being referenced in these movies. We could meet a Monarch scientist who really enjoys Die Hard or peek in on someone who’s in the middle of a James Bond marathon when a Titan starts attacking their city. Yes, the main draw will always be watching the Titans duke it out for supremacy, but there’s no reason we can’t have a little fun on the side by name-dropping some more grounded action cinematic tales… well, grounded in comparison to giant monsters, anyway.

Godzilla vs. Kong is now playing in theaters and will also be available to watch on HBO Max for one month, so make sure you’re signed up for the streaming service. We’ll keep you apprised of any news regarding future MonsterVerse endeavors, and Lethal Weapon fans, don’t forget that a fifth movie is still in the works.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.