How can Godzilla: King of the Monsters separate itself from its predecessor?

The final trailer for Godzilla: King of the Monsters came out about two weeks back. The film looks to have some nice looking effects and grandiose monster battles, but how would that make it different from 2014’s Godzilla? Check out the trailer below:

When Godzilla came out in 2014, I saw it in theaters and actually enjoyed the movie quite a bit. As awesome as the fights were, with that open mouthed flame thrower from the big guy at the end, the more compelling part of the story was on a character level with Bryan Cranston and company. He, Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson had a meaningful story in the grand scheme of the plot. The trouble with this, though, is that the movie is about Godzilla. As this franchise transforms into a shared universe with Kong: Skull Island, we see that the end goal here is for a showdown between the two. Focusing the whole film one these giant titans who can’t speak forces creators to devise some sort of plot surrounding them. This is why they failed to relaunch the Godzilla series back in 1998. It is a difficult task to make your audience care about some random people while monsters are dropping cities.

Godzilla, starring Cranston, did a fair job of it and the film is still divisive. The box office alone warranted that a sequel be made, so the studio did the best thing they could do. They gave Godzilla a rest. Instead, they pushed forward with a King Kong reboot. Another monster with divisive movies in his catalog because, yet again, why do I care about these people if there’s a giant ape in the air. Kong: Skull Island was a great film, in my opinion. It established why no one from Godzilla would know that there was a giant ape loose on earth. It also created some very interesting characters. Both films, however, may have wasted that character development. The sequel will not feature Olsen or Taylor-Johnson and instead opps out for Stranger Things sensation Millie Bobbie Brown. Ken Watanabe and David Strathairn will be the only returning characters of consequence to the film’s second round. They are doctor and admiral from the base, which definitely isn’t the most memorable portion of that film’s cast. I get that giant monsters are a big thing and maybe it is not completely illogical that different people will be involved in the plot, but for a film that focused so much on the small characters you’d think they want to uphold that running story.

The same can be said for Kong: Skull Island. The film brought on great characters in Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson and show stealer John C. Reilly. Despite an after credits scene hinting at further adventures for the gang as they mix with the Godzilla franchise, none of these characters will be back for 2020’s Godzilla Vs. Kong. Even more disheartening, Millie Bobbie Brown is the only centric character to be listed for the big showdown that was in the previous three. So nobody but her from the upcoming Godzilla: King of the Monsters will be back for that either. The question is this, why should the viewer continue to care about the characters of the franchise if their roles are interchangeable and the only mainstays are the monsters themselves?

Godzilla: King of the Monsters will have to succeed in making the human characters as compelling as possible. Of course people will go see the films regardless, but why not make an effort to have the films somewhat resemble the same world? I could be way off base here, maybe everyone from this movie will die and that will explain why they aren’t in Godzilla Vs. Kong. Until then, I can only hope for some continuity in the franchise. It can definitely still thrive in the box office because a lizard is fighting an ape, but it can be so much more if handled with a bit more care.

Did you like Godzilla and Kong: Skull Island? What is your favorite monster movie?

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