When will the humans learn to hold hands and sing "Kumbaya’" with the monsters?
Godzilla vs. Kong hit theaters and HBO Max this past Wednesday, and it delivered exactly what we expected from two mega-monsters beating each other up. For the first time since the start of the pandemic, I feel like a major blockbuster has been released. I’ve never felt closer to normal than I did while watching two monsters become BEF (best enemies forever).
This is the fourth installment to Legendary’s and Warners’ MonsterVerse, and it is off to a rather well-received start. Looking a little closer at the films, the ever-changing relationship between humanity and the giant monsters had me thinking: how are we any different from the monsters?
Profound, I know.
But, when I watched Godzilla vs. Kong, I noted that I had a lot of sympathy for Godzilla and King Kong. Maybe it's the fact that Kong can admit that he feels fear or that Godzilla is probably tired of having to save the Earth over and over again. Perhaps this feeling I have comes from the shifting roles of humans in the film. Their role as the antagonist or weak being to being cooperative and accepting (for the most part) has impacted the films in a major way.
Sorry, Avengers—Godzilla and Kong are Earth’s greatest protectors
In Godzilla and Kong: Skull Island, the humans don't do much besides try to take down the poor Titans before realizing that they aren't evil.
Then, Godzilla: King of the Monsters gives humans a bigger role outside of antagonist or protagonist. The humans in this film are guided by their own ideas of how the Titans are affecting their lives. Monarch goes full Heisei-era by using a flying fortress called the Argo that follows Godzilla and the other Titans across the globe. The Titans are not a threat as much as they are cleansing the planet, and the humans must accept that they are not the most powerful beings in the universe.
As IGN puts in its breakdown of humans in the MonsterVerse, neither destruction nor control was ever an option for humans, and it takes nearly wiping out most of humanity for them to realize this.
The Titans are beyond human ability, and it really takes three movies to establish this. In the end, Godzilla takes out the "false king," Ghidorah, whose corruptive force causes the other Titans to destroy the Earth they were initially protecting, and he roars into the heavens as the other Titans bow down to him with the promise of healing the Earth—which they do.
What about the humans? Well, they realize that they have no hold on Earth. They are no longer the biggest or baddest thing to walk the planet, and for some people, that idea doesn’t sit well with them. With this idea of Godzilla and the Titans being protectors of Earth rather than humankind’s doom, Godzilla vs. Kong takes this message and adds to it with a deep dive into the compassion of both Godzilla and King Kong.
In Godzilla vs. Kong, Godzilla's out trying to stop humans from becoming their own destruction (again), while Kong was out soul searching against his will because Hollow Earth has a potentially groundbreaking power source that could be used by Apex Cybernetics.
Then, Mechagodzilla enters the chat.
Humans are the true antagonist
When I saw Mechagodzilla, I was excited yet nervous. I was getting major Batman v Superman vibes the entire time, but the team-up of the two Titans to take down the man-made monster had me on the edge of my couch.
Although there is debate about who won the initial fight between Godzilla and Kong (I strongly believe Godzilla won), nothing was better than watching an epic two-on-one fight to the death.
But I am not here to focus on Godzilla or Kong—back to the humans.
Humans in this franchise have a hard time finding their place. The problem was partially solved in Godzilla: King of the Monsters, but Godzilla vs. Kong establishes their place a little better. The people at Apex Cybernetics believe that the Titans are going to bring nothing but destruction and chaos to the world, and want to take them out through their own monster. Then, there are the people of Monarch who want to give the Titans a place to roam freely without the constant threat of humans. Humans play both parts of murder and martyr.
The wonderful part of Mechagodzilla’s existence is that it exists because of humans, but outgrows them almost immediately. Since Ghidorah’s consciousness possesses Mechagodzilla, the monster becomes its own being and wipes out those who try to control him.
He becomes a manifestation of humankind’s fear—the inability to control something that has defeated them time and time again. This helplessness against a mostly peaceful monster that humans feel in the MonsterVerse will inevitably be their doom.
In short: mankind is always on a path to self-destruction. Titans are just here to stops us from being dumb while occasionally punching each other in the face for dominance.
It’s safe to say, without the humans in these movies, there would be no story. Whether they are helping and destroying, their action is necessary for the movie to move forward. Eventually, humans will learn to live in harmony with the Titans, but when that happens, the MonsterVerse will need a new enemy.
But what does this mean for Kong and Godzilla? I assume they’ll team up again when humanity tries to take back the title of the protector of Earth, but with no news of the fifth installment to the MonsterVerse being released yet, it’s hard to say what the future has in store.
What do you think is coming next in the MonsterVerse? Let us know in the comments!