Godzilla vs. Kong marks the fourth movie in the massive kaiju Monsterverse, that began in 2014 with Gareth Edwards' Godzilla. In between we had Kong: Skull Island and Godzilla: King of the Monsters. Every movie in the franchise has now had a different director, and almost entirely unique casts. The plots of the four movies aren't even that closely tied together, making the series films feel more like four stand alone movies as opposed to a connected universe. But that's not to say that the previous movies weren't important in their own way, as Godzilla vs. Kong director Adam Wingard says he was inspired by each of them in their own way.
Adam Wingard told Yahoo that he was in a strong position being the fourth director involved in the franchise, as those that came before him didn't have the benefit of three other movies to draw from. He did, and he says he was able to pick and choose the elements that worked best in those movies and combine them together for Godzilla vs Kong. Wingard explains...
I had the advantage that all those directors didn't, looking at those three movies, which all had very different approaches. And I was able to kind of say, ‘OK, I liked the tone, for instance, of parts of Kong: Skull Island. And then I liked Gareth Edwards’s commitment to realism with his Godzilla movie. … And then the thing I liked about Dougherty’s King of Monsters movie was his sort of like larger-than-life conspiracy tone that he had [with] all the crazy Monarch stuff. I loved his approach to all that.
It's certainly true that the first Godzilla has a realism that the rest of the franchise does not. It's a much more human story about the impact that these massive creatures are having on people. By comparison, Godzilla: Kong of the Monsters is a very different movie, where everything is much more exaggerated, where secret government organizations are flying experimental aircraft around the world while chasing after massive kaiju. You can't really combine these two ideas together into anything that isn't going to clash, but it at least gives you the ability to see the two different takes and figure out which direction you want your movie to go.
What Adam Wingard says he liked about Kong: Skull Island was the tone, and that's pretty clear in Godzilla vs. Kong, they're both movies where the characters inside them are taking the events very seriously, but that doesn't mean the audience needs to take it all too seriously. It is a giant monster movie, after all, and that's designed to be entertaining.
Based on the reaction to Godzilla vs. Kong. It's all working out pretty well. A lot of fans and critics alike are enjoying the new film, whether they're seeing it in a theater or on HBO Max.