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Kaiju movies have always been a weird film genre for reasons beyond the fact that they revolve around giant monsters. Godzilla and other giant monster movies are often the focus and title characters of their respective movies. And yet, they share their screen time with several humans who aren't nearly important enough to have their own names in the title.
These characters were perhaps necessary back when Godzilla and King Kong were first made. However, in the modern era of filmmaking, where special effects are at an all-time high, I legitimately question if we really need humans to play any significant role in any kaiju movies after Godzilla vs. Kong. Let's talk it out:
We Don't Go To See Godzilla To See People Who Aren't Godzilla
Since the dawn of the kaiju genre, audiences have packed theaters to see these massive monsters destroy environments and other monsters. More often than not, even as far back as the original Godzilla, audiences spend more time watching characters exchange dialogue on screen than they ever see of the actual monster.
Let me just start by saying there are times this is valid. The original Godzilla was more of a metaphor about nuclear weapons, and it's been cemented as a timeless classic. That story doesn't come across so well if we just see Godzilla rampaging through a city rather than witnessing the devastating effects of his destruction and how they've affected characters on a personal level.
Moving ahead to the modern Godzilla movies, the plots certainly feel less substantial. The general message is, "The monster is here, and he's going to fuck shit up." That's something I knew before I even heard the movie was announced, and yeah, it's what I expect from a kaiju movie. I didn't see Pacific Rim: Uprising because I expected the dialogue to be better than the original, though I did kind of assume it would be somewhat better as a proven successful IP.
The movie's dialogue, story and even the music are all secondary to the monster. As long as the action is good and the monster gets adequate screen time wreaking havoc, audiences are pleased. Like I said at the beginning, I'm here to see the monster, and if I wanted deep commentary, nuance and Oscar-worthy performances, I'd see another movie. I'm not saying kaiju films are incapable of being award-worthy, but they definitely don't need to be that to be considered successful.
A Monster Dominant Kaiju Movie Would Actually Be A Novel Concept
There was once a time where it perhaps would have seemed stupid to have humans lack any substantial role in a monster movie. After all, the story is being made for humans, and as humans, it's easy to convey emotion and many other things when seeing how we'd be affected by the same situation. By now though, I think many of us would agree that a kaiju attack would suck, and we'd all fear for our lives during such destruction.
One thing I don't know is where the hell Godzilla is when he just wants to chill and not hibernate, but not necessarily wreak havoc on the world either. Where is he when he's just hungry and looking to snack? Where does King Kong take a dump, and why have we never seen an errant mega primate turd in any of his outings?
I don't have to see King Kong drop a deuce, but with the current way that kaiju movies are filmed, I doubt I'll ever get to. I also won't get to learn who these monsters are in their most natural moments or see them as anything beyond a sentient Titan that can level a city without much of a strain on its conscience. I think the only way to do that is to remove humans from the equation and see these creatures at their core. This hasn't happened yet in kaiju movies, and Hollywood could get a big win at the box office maximizing creature screen time.
Could The Next Monsterverse Movie Feature Little To No Humans?
Look, I don't have a crystal ball. At the moment, we have absolutely no idea whether or not Legendary will greenlight yet another Monsterverse movie. What I do know is that we have now met a solid number of Titans and gotten more than familiar with them and what they're about over the past four movies. Now that Godzilla and King Kong have fought each other, maybe they could shoulder a different kind of movie together?
The stage is set for something like that, especially with King Kong now holding dominion down in Hollow Earth. The unique space, as a setting for a future Monsterverse movie, is ideal for me because it's not the most human-friendly environment. I would also like to point out that Hollow Earth has a lot of Titan history embedded within it, which would open up the potential for flashbacks and stories that conceivably can be told without much human narration.
As I mentioned before, it's all about the monsters and destruction, but with Hollow Earth firmly established in the Monsterverse, there's an opportunity for there to be so much more. We've seen humanity in danger due to the actions of these monsters several times over. What if, hypothetically, there was a force that was capable of putting the planet at stake, thus giving the Titans a chance to band together in a battle for their own lives as well? Hollow Earth is close to the Earth's core, so surely there's some risk in a massive beast causing too much trouble in that immediate area that would set the stage for an epic next film, right?
This is a story that can be told entirely without humans in the mix. Just make the plot simple because, once again, audiences are mainly signed on to see massive monsters wreck shit. I know I wouldn't be mad as long as I can see some visually stunning monsters kicking ass and taking names. As I've stated, it's not like the bar is incredibly high in terms of expectations, so why not try to raise them by taking a chance on keeping humans as far away from it as possible?
Would you like to see a MonsterVerse movie where humans don't play a meaningful role in the plot whatsoever? Let us know in our poll, and check out Godzilla vs. Kong on HBO Max and in theaters.