As anyone with even the slightest interest in giant rubber or cgi monsters has heard, Legendary Pictures’ King Kong movie Skull Island will be distributed by Warner Brothers, not Universal, as originally intended. You’ve probably also seen the resultant headlines, most of which read something like, “KING KONG VS GODZILLA 1,000 PERCENT ULTRA CONFIRMED YES”.
This is maybe a bit hyperbolic. Legendary Pictures did produce the most recent Godzilla and Warner Brothers did distribute it, so if they were planning to make such a film, this would be the way to do it. And King Kong and Godzilla do have historical beef.
But to treat this as any kind of confirmation is premature. Of course Legendary is thinking about a team up movie. That was obvious when Skull Island was announced. Since The Avengers, all anyone with a big budget franchise wants is a cinematic universe. So all this move is, really, is confirmation that the idea hasn’t been nixed yet. This all goes away the second any of these kaiju movies Fantastic Fours at the box office.
Now that we’ve established that King Kong vs Godzilla is only probably, but not definitely, happening, let’s talk about how exciting it is that King Kong vs Godzilla is probably happening! The mass loads of crap that have been released since 2012 in ill conceived attempts at a cinematic universe is enough to make any nerd sick at the thought of another. Not to mention the logistical issues of Ape vs Radioactive Lizard combat.
But while everyone was praising Marvel for pulling off this revolutionary concept in the 2000s, Toho just stood back and laughed. Mothra, Rodan, and Varan, among others, all started in standalone solo films in the 1950s before joining Godzilla on the screen. In 1968’s Destroy All Monsters all the kaiju from previous films are gathered together. At first, they don’t get along and fight each other. Then alien invaders use mind control to turn some of the good guys to their side and in the end, all the kaiju team up to defend the Earth from a larger threat. Destroy All Monsters was The Avengers 44 years before The Avengers. So if there’s any franchise that deserves the shared universe treatment, it’s Godzilla.
King Kong vs Godzilla is the perfect way to start this universe. Their original bout was possibly the best of the Japanese series and it’s probably a good idea if Godzilla isn’t always fighting another scaly dinosaur thing. The move to Warner Brothers isn’t confirmation of anything, but it is an exciting step in the right direction, even if it’s a small one.