Godzilla vs. Kong director Adam Wingard compares Kong’s MonsterVerse arc to Clint Eastwood. The atomic monster with the fiery breath first squared off with the giant ape from Skull Island in 1963’s King Kong vs. Godzilla. Now the two Titans will battle again in a CGI extravaganza as part of Legendary and Warner Bros.’ MonsterVerse run of films.
Kong of course made his MonsterVerse debut in 2017’s Kong: Skull Island, while his green atomic Titan adversary emerged in his newest form beginning with 2014’s Godzilla. 2019 also saw the release of Godzilla: King of the Monsters, a kaiju battle royale featuring Mothra, Rodan, King Ghidorah and other characters from classic Japanese cinema. After King of the Monsters somewhat underwhelmed at the box office (taking just $386 million worldwide on a budget reported to be upwards of $200 million), the studio hopes a showdown between the most famous of all giant movie monsters will bring audiences and reviewers back around. Indeed, response has been positive to early Godzilla vs. Kong trailers, as anticipation builds for the latest MonsterVerse entry.
Continuing to add to that sense of anticipation, Godzilla vs. Kong director Wingard teased an emerging aspect of Kong’s character that may sound surprising to some movie fans. Speaking to Total Film (via GamesRadar), Wingard drew an interesting parallel between Kong’s character arc throughout the MonsterVerse and the progression of classic Western star Eastwood from his “Man With No Name” days through his later grizzled gunfighter phase. Wingard said:
“I see him as not just an animal. He’s the gunfighter without the gunfight. He’s this over-the-hill action hero who is not in a great place in his life. The way I always look at my version of Kong… in Kong: Skull Island, in the ’70s, he’s basically Clint Eastwood in The Good, The Bad And The Ugly. In my version, this is Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven. He’s at the end of his rope. He’s not having a great time. But when action calls, he’s always still ready to step up and take it on!”
Eastwood’s Oscar-winning 1992 film Unforgiven indeed presented a new take on the actor’s iconic Western image, offering up a character who thought his fighting days were behind him until the chance to right a wrong called him back to action. It truthfully seems unlikely that Godzilla vs. Kong will present the same layers of moral complexity that Unforgiven featured in its depiction of Eastwood’s over-the-hill gunfighter. However, Wingard’s point is taken about Kong being an older version of himself in the new movie, and having to be roused from “not having a great time” to once again fight Godzilla.
All this indeed sounds like an interesting way to give King Kong something of a character arc instead of just having him be a big ape fighting a giant atomic monster. It however remains to be seen if this extra character baggage means anything to the finished film, or represents window dressing to what is otherwise just a massive CGI spectacle. Fans of kaiju fights probably don’t care that much about Kong’s motivations, but just want to see him and Godzilla throw down in some epic fight scenes. Prior MonsterVerse films were of course criticized for getting bogged down too much in the human action and giving short-shrift to the monsters. It will be interesting to see if Godzilla vs. Kong avoids this particular pitfall on its way to wrapping up the tale of the Titans.
Source: Total Film (via GamesRadar)