Godzilla vs. Kong was not changed to respond to criticism of the previous MonsterVerse film says, director Adam Wingard. Godzilla vs. Kong is set to hit theaters and HBO Max next month after various delays. The film is the fourth installment in Legendary Pictures MonsterVerse which started in 2014 with Godzilla and continued in 2017’s Kong: Skull Island and 2019’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters.
While Godzilla: King of the Monsters had its fair share of fans, a common criticism leveled at the film was the framing of the fight scenes. While the film had more monster action than Godzilla, it was typically obscured by smoke, blizzards, and particle effects that made certain action sequences difficult to make out. In contrast, the trailer for Godzilla vs. Kong depicts the two titans fighting amid a bright orange sunset and neon-lit streets. With the various delayed release dates to Godzilla vs. Kong, many expected this is due to the film reworking fight sequences to make up for the previous installment. Yet it appears nothing was changed from the original design of the film.
In an interview with Collider, director Adam Wingard went into detail about how the audience’s reaction to Godzilla: King of the Monsters didn’t impact how he approached his film. He was not forced to change or alter the fight sequences based on critiques of the previous film and the finished product is always how he intended it to look. He goes on to say:
Well, I mean, one of the reasons why they brought me on is I think a follow up to King of Monsters is because I am so different than Michael Dougherty as a director, I mean he definitely leans more into the kind of horror realm, and his approach to Godzilla is really kind of scary in a lot of ways, and I think that they knew that the next film after that had to be different regardless of how it was going to be received, and I think I was kind of chosen ultimately because my take was always going to be very tonally very fun, and, colorful and all those kinds of things, and so fortunately it didn’t really affect us too much in a literal way. Like there wasn’t like a major course correction in terms of what the film was going to be about or how we had to approach certain action scenes or any of that kind of stuff, because fortunately we were kind of already doing our own thing and it just sort of matched up with what it felt like people had kind of been wanting anyways, you know, like, I mean, obviously I’m aware of like the… You know, some of the stuff where, you know, people felt like the movie was like too dark in places, or there was too many particle effects and stuff.
Attempting to course correct a franchise after one film failed to resonate with audiences while the next installment is currently filming is what happened to Justice League after the reaction to Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Warner Bros. replaced Zack Snyder as the director with Joss Whedon and multiple reshoots were commissioned to alter the tone, which raised the budget and resulted in the film being a box-office disappointment that Warner Bros. and HBO Max will attempt to correct again with the release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League. Legendary’s faith in Wingard’s approach to the fights in Godzilla vs. Kong seemed to have paid off as the film’s trailer was the biggest trailer ever for Warner Bros.
One of the reasons Adam Wingard was hired onto the project was because his approach to Godzilla vs. Kong would be different not just from the previous film, but from all of the other films in Legendary Pictures MonsterVerse. This speaks to how Legendary sees this franchise as a cinematic universe that allows the various directors to build off each other’s work while also allowing them a certain amount of artistic freedom in how to interpret these characters. This fits with the Godzilla franchise spirit of having the character jump back and forth between destructive villain to heroic monster depending on the needs of the story they are telling.