Godzilla vs. Kong (2021)
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One will fall
Godzilla vs. Kong (ゴジラvsコング is a Gojira buiesu Kongu)2021 American science fiction monster film produced by Legendary Pictures, and the fourth entry in the MonsterVerse. It was released to American theaters on March 31, 2021, becoming available to stream via HBO Max the same day until April 30. Toho distributed it to theaters in Japan on July 2.
The second film to pit Godzilla and King Kong against each other, Godzilla vs. Kong is the culmination of every entry in Legendary and Warner Bros.' MonsterVerse so far. When Godzilla and Kong engage in a battle for supremacy, Monarch embarks on a quest to discover the Titans' origins while a human conspiracy threatens to wipe out all of the ancient creatures.
|“||Legends collide in “Godzilla vs. Kong” as these mythic adversaries meet in a spectacular battle for the ages, with the fate of the world hanging in the balance. Kong and his protectors undertake a perilous journey to find his true home, and with them is Jia, a young orphaned girl with whom he has formed a unique and powerful bond. But they unexpectedly find themselves in the path of an enraged Godzilla, cutting a swath of destruction across the globe. The epic clash between the two Titans—instigated by unseen forces—is only the beginning of the mystery that lies deep within the core of the Earth.||„|
The year is 2024. Five years have passed since Godzilla defeated King Ghidorah and took the title “King of the Monsters.” Somewhere on Skull Island, Kong awakens as a flock of Leafwings flies overhead. Kong strolls into a nearby lake and stands underneath a waterfall, letting the water run down his body. Kong uproots a tree as the young Iwi girl Jia finishes putting together a doll of him. Jia approaches Kong and presents her doll, causing Kong to briefly lean forward to observe. Kong then turns and throws the tree into the sky, where it suddenly collides with a disguised barrier. The sky is merely a projection, part of Monarch Outpost #236, the Kong Containment unit. The rest of Skull Island is now enveloped in the perpetual raging storm that once surrounded it. Dr. Ilene Andrews, an anthropological linguist, observes Kong while another Monarch member says to her that the Outpost can no longer contain him, as he has grown too large. Andrews dismisses the notion of relocating Kong, as the second he leaves the island Godzilla will undoubtedly come for him, since there cannot be two alpha Titans. Jia approaches Dr. Andrews and signs to her that Kong is angry, and she signs back to Jia to wait in the car for her.
In Pensacola, Florida, Bernie Hayes records an episode of his Titan Truth Podcast, explaining that he is about to obtain incriminating evidence of Apex Cybernetics’ illicit activities. He exits his car and enters the Pensacola Apex facility, where he works under deep cover as an engineer. Bernie enters the office of another Apex employee, who tells him he is not supposed to be here. Bernie annoys the employee before he finally dismisses himself, allowing Bernie to insert his flash drive into the office’s computer and begin downloading data. Bernie observes unusual shipping manifests which show technology being shipped to Apex headquarters in Hong Kong. While the download is proceeding, an alarm suddenly sounds alerting the facility of a Titan attack. Godzilla surfaces from the ocean and comes ashore to attack the facility. Bernie begins to evacuate with the other employees, but he slips through a door into a restricted area. On a rooftop, Apex CEO Walter Simmons and Chief Technology Officer Ren Serizawa flee the scene in a helicopter. Fighter jets open fire on Godzilla, who swats them aside and fires his atomic breath. Two guards demand to see Bernie’s clearance and aim their guns at him, only for a blast of Godzilla’s atomic breath to burst through the wall and incinerate them. Bernie looks through the ruins and sees a suspicious piece of glowing machinery resembling a gigantic robotic eye nearby. Godzilla then decimates the rest of the facility with his atomic breath.
In the aftermath of the attack, public opinion has turned against Godzilla, who is no longer viewed as humanity’s savior. Madison Russell views a CNN report on the situation in her classroom, then after school heads to Monarch’s relief camp in Pensacola. There, she tries to convince her father, acting Monarch director Mark Russell, that Godzilla is being provoked somehow. However, Mark dismisses his daughter’s belief in the Titan Truth Podcast and says that creatures, just like people, can change.
At the Denham University of Theoretical Science in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Simmons and Serizawa visit the office of former Monarch geologist Dr. Nathan Lind. Simmons compliments Lind’s writing on the Hollow Earth, which Lind dismisses by citing the negative reviews of his book. Serizawa presents Lind with a schematic of the Hollow Earth, which shows a tremendous energy signature similar to that possessed by Godzilla. Simmons says that if they can harness this energy, they can develop a weapon capable of competing with Godzilla. Lind says that Hollow Earth exploration is impossible, as the gravity inversion experienced when entering it instantly crushes anyone who dares to venture within. Simmons apologizes for the loss of Lind’s brother David in an earlier failed exploration mission, but he says Apex has developed a vehicle capable of withstanding the harsh gravity inversion and making exploration possible: the Hollow Earth Aerial Vehicle, or HEAV. Convinced, Lind tells Simmons he has an idea. He asks the two men if they are familiar with the concept of genetic memory, the idea that Titans are naturally drawn to their place of origin, like spawning salmon or homing pigeons. By this logic, Serizawa deduces, a Titan could show them the way to the energy source.
Lind travels to Outpost #236 to meet with Dr. Andrews and proposes that they have Kong lead them into the Hollow Earth. Andrews is again against the idea, saying that Godzilla will come after Kong as soon as he leaves the island. Lind says that Kong obviously cannot stay on the island; they can find him a new home in the Hollow Earth. He tries to convince Andrews, saying that they need to find this energy source in order to stop Godzilla. Finally, Andrews agrees, but on the condition that she is in charge of Kong. Lind agrees ecstatically and kisses Andrews, then apologizes and shakes her hand. He promises that she won’t regret this, but Andrews immediately tells Jia she regrets it.
Kong is loaded onto a ship in chains, escorted by a Naval fleet, bound for the Hollow Earth entrance in Antarctica. Lind heads to the deck to greet Apex executive Maia Simmons, the CEO’s daughter, who says she is here to “babysit” them on this mission. She tells Lind about the HEAVs, which she says are far more advanced than anything else Monarch has flown and have enough power to “light up Las Vegas for a week.” On the bridge, Lind explains the plan. They will bring Kong to Antarctica, after which they will enter the Hollow Earth. He warns that the gravitational inversion will be intense, but if the HEAVs are as good as Apex says they are, they should be able to withstand it. That night, Kong becomes restless and begins pulling at his chains, prompting Jia to come onto the deck and hold out her finger to him. Kong responds by touching his finger to hers. Andrews runs to Jia and signs to her that it is dangerous. Jia responds that Kong is sad and angry. Andrews replies that Kong doesn’t understand they are trying to help him, but Jia signs that Kong doesn’t believe that. When Andrews asks how Jia knows, she replies that Kong told her. To Andrews’ amazement, Kong signs the word “home.”
Madison’s friend Josh Valentine travels to her house in his brother’s van. Madison immediately gets into the driver’s seat and sets out to find the host of Titan Truth Podcast and figure out the secrets of Apex. En route, she explains to Josh that she tracked the host down by tracking the purchase of large amounts of bleach, which he uses to shower in order to avoid biological trackers. The two arrive in Chinatown and ask a store clerk about the host’s whereabouts. The clerk is unhelpful until Josh tries to bribe him, after which the clerk says they must mean Bernie. He says he will tell them where Bernie lives if they buy a live fish. The two track down Bernie and come to his door, but he refuses to let them in until Madison reveals her name, with Bernie recognizing her as Mark’s daughter. At a restaurant, the three discuss the situation. Madison says she believes Godzilla was provoked into attacking the Apex facility, and Bernie says he is of the same opinion. He presents her with his flash drive, which he says contains suspicious shipping manifests for cargo headed to Apex HQ in Hong Kong, which is suspicious as the facility was not supposed to be equipped for heavy shipping. Josh asks what is in Bernie’s gun holster, which he reveals to be a flask of whiskey, a keepsake from his late wife Sarah. The three then decide they will break into Apex to figure out what is really happening.
In the Tasman Sea, Andrews asks Jia why she didn’t tell her that Kong could communicate with her before, and Jia responds that Kong didn’t want anyone to know. Andrews signs that everyone knows now then leaves to talk to Lind. Lind remarks that it is incredible that Kong is capable of communication, and Andrews responds that she had tried to establish communication with him before. Though he showed signs of recognition of some basic commands, she had no idea he actually understood sign language. Lind asks if Jia could give commands to Kong, but Andrews says she cannot and is just a child. Lind says they have to try, and that they need Kong to find the energy source. Jia, meanwhile, feels vibrations through the ship and runs to Andrews, warning her that Godzilla is coming.
Battleships open fire on Godzilla as he approaches, but do nothing to slow his approach. Fighter jets fire at him, but also fail to harm him before he uses his tail to swat one out of the sky. Godzilla plows through a ship and dives, then swims up underneath Kong’s ship. Kong roars into the sea below, after which Godzilla bursts up from the water and capsizes the ship. As the ship fills with water, Lind releases Kong’s chains, allowing him to fight back. Godzilla and Kong grapple underwater, with Kong breaking free and climbing back aboard the ship as it shifts back to its original position. Godzilla circles around the fleet, and Kong leaps across the fleet onto an aircraft carrier. Kong grabs a fighter jet and throws it at Godzilla as he approaches. Godzilla climbs onto the carrier, only to be greeted by a punch from Kong. Godzilla retaliates with a vicious slap that knocks Kong down, then charges his atomic breath. Missile fire from jets interrupts his charge, allowing Kong to ram Godzilla off of the carrier. Godzilla fires his atomic breath from under the carrier, with Kong leaping off just in time as the carrier explodes. Godzilla grabs Kong in the water, trying to pull him under. Kong kicks himself free and tries to surface, but Godzilla wraps his tail around Kong and drags him deeper and deeper. Andrews tells the commander of the fleet to fire depth charges to disorient Godzilla before Kong drowns, and he gives the order. The attack works, as Kong is able to free himself and pull himself back onto the ship. Lind tells the commander to deactivate all of the fleet’s weapons and engines, in order to “play dead” and make Godzilla think he’s won. Godzilla surfaces and observes the destroyed fleet around him, and is seemingly satisfied before swimming away. Jia waves to Kong from the bridge, signing her thanks to him. Andrews asks what they will do now, since the second they move Godzilla will come back. Lind then asks how Kong deals with heights.
Madison, Josh, and Bernie arrive at the ruined Apex facility in Pensacola and infiltrate it. They reach the area where Bernie had earlier seen the strange robotic eye but find it gone. Madison finds an elevator, which the three take to sub-level 33. There, they find a tram car and hide inside of it when they hear people approaching. Inside the car they see several Skullcrawler eggs, prompting Madison to ask what Apex is doing with them. The door to the car closes, and the tram system begins sending the car through an underground tunnel to Hong Kong.
A fleet of helicopters and Ospreys carries Kong in a net to Antarctica and sets him down near the entry point to the Hollow Earth. Kong investigates the unfamiliar snow around him, then turns to see Jia standing on a nearby platform. She signs to Kong that his home is through the entrance, but Kong does not go through. Lind asks Andrews if Kong will go if he thinks there are others like him through there. Andrews tells Jia to tell Kong his family might be through there, and she obliges. Kong immediately charges through the entry point, and the expedition members pursue him in three HEAVs. Kong swings along the ceiling of the tunnel before falling into a pit, with the HEAVs hot on his tail. After passing through a vortex, they find themselves within the Hollow Earth. Kong runs across the landscape with the HEAVs behind him, before a Warbat flies past and destroys one. Before the Warbat can destroy another HEAV, Kong grabs the Titan’s tail and slams the beast onto the ground, killing it. A second Warbat flies at Kong, who swings the dead Warbat into it. The second Warbat recovers and constricts its body around Kong, then tries to smother him with its wing. Lind’s HEAV fires missiles at the Warbat, causing it to release Kong. Kong punches the Warbat to the ground and pounds it with his fists until it goes limp, then tears off its head and eats the contents of its skull. Kong resumes running across the landscape until he comes to a cliff near a number of floating rocks. Kong jumps off the cliff and floats across to another surface.
The tram car arrives in Hong Kong, and Madison and the others disembark. They find themselves inside a huge dark chamber. As they walk through the chamber, Walter Simmons gives the order for a "demonstration" to begin. A massive mecha bearing Godzilla's frame is lifted into the chamber, while in another room Serizawa places a device on his head and activates a neural interface. The machine begins to move, with Bernie recognizing it as a "robot Godzilla," only for Josh to correct him by calling it "Mechagodzilla." Simmons orders "Number 10" to be released into the chamber, after which a giant Skullcrawler is unleashed. The beast gives chase after Madison and the others, but Mechagodzilla grabs it and holds it by its arms. Under the control of Serizawa, Mechagodzilla fires its proton scream and cleaves the Skullcrawler in half with it, then powers down. Serizawa reports that Mechagodzilla reached 40% of its power, with Simmons saying they will soon no longer need to worry about power when his daughter recovers the energy source from the Hollow Earth. Madison realizes that Mechagodzilla is the reason Godzilla attacked Pensacola; Apex is trying to replace him. Detecting Mechagodzilla’s activation, Godzilla begins swimming directly for Hong Kong.
Kong continues moving through the Hollow Earth before coming upon a huge stone temple. Recognizing the handprint of his species, Kong places his hand over it and pushes open a door into the temple. Kong roars into the massive chamber, but his roar echoes unanswered. Kong begins walking through the temple and finds a gigantic axe embedded in the skull of a fallen Titan. Kong pulls out the axe and wields it, beating his chest and roaring triumphantly. Kong then sits upon a giant throne.
While trying to find an exit to the Apex facility in Hong Kong, Madison and the others are horrified as they come upon a room housing Ghidorah’s skull, which has been turned into a biological supercomputer used to control Mechagodzilla. Serizawa sits inside of the skull, in some kind of trance. Meanwhile, Godzilla arrives in Hong Kong and makes his way into the heart of the city before charging and firing his atomic breath directly at the ground.
In the Hollow Earth, everyone disembarks from the HEAVs. Maia asks where the energy source is, just before Kong’s axe begins to glow blue. Kong sees a depression in the ground in the shape of his axe, and places it into it. This causes the floor to glow and pulse with energy, revealing the sought-after energy source. Apex releases a drone to harvest the energy, but Andrews protests, saying Apex cannot simply take the find of the millennium. Maia says they can do whatever they want and has her men aim their guns at the Monarch members, causing the angered Kong to roar at the guards in their defense. The drone sends the data to Apex HQ, allowing the energy signature to be copied. Simmons excitedly tells Serizawa to prepare himself to pilot Mechagodzilla, but Serizawa warns that the uplink is untested and that they can’t be sure what effect the energy will have on the mecha. Simmons dismisses these concerns and tells Serizawa to activate the mecha. When the temple begins to shake, the Hellhawks roosting on the ceiling become active and attack the humans. Maia and her guards enter a HEAV and try to escape, while Kong and Monarch deal with the attacking Hellhawks. Lind, Andrews, and Jia rush to the other HEAV, but they are confronted by a Hellhawk. Lind throws a rock at it, but it only serves to aggravate the beast. Godzilla’s atomic breath breaches the temple, sending the Hellhawk flying and allowing the three to reach the HEAV. Maia orders her HEAV to fire at Kong as it tries to escape, but Kong catches it and crushes it in his hand. Kong grabs his axe and leaps through the hole created by Godzilla’s atomic breath, then begins climbing to Hong Kong.
Madison and the others continue infiltrating Apex headquarters but are caught by security. Kong surfaces in Hong Kong and exchanges roars with Godzilla. The two Titans begin fighting, with Kong trying to hit Godzilla with his axe. The axe gets stuck in a building, and Kong resorts to trying to physically fight the larger Godzilla. Godzilla tries to fire his atomic breath but is stopped by Kong. Godzilla frees himself from Kong’s grip; Kong retaliates by striking him in the head. Kong kicks Godzilla to the ground, after which he tries to fire his atomic breath again. Kong shoves the handle of the axe down Godzilla’s throat, stopping the blast. Godzilla fires again, but Kong uses the axe to block it. Godzilla tackles Kong, who embeds his axe into Godzilla’s leg. Godzilla retaliates by throwing Kong into the water, then pulls the axe out of his leg. Godzilla fires his atomic breath, with Kong running through the city to avoid it. One blast strikes Kong in the back, burning him and knocking him down. Kong gets back up, only for Godzilla to fire his atomic breath again and forcing Kong to dodge it again. Kong climbs a skyscraper, which Godzilla knocks over with his atomic breath. The surviving HEAV travels through the crater into Hong Kong, narrowly weaving between the two battling Titans. Kong tears off a radio dish from a surrounding skyscraper to utilize as a makeshift shield against the beam. Closing the distance, Kong grabs his axe again and climbs onto a building, then leaps off at Godzilla who fires his atomic breath. Kong blocks the blast with the axe and strikes Godzilla, creating an explosion that knocks both monsters back. The axe loses its charge as Lind declares that it appears Kong won the second round.
Back inside Apex HQ, Madison and the others are brought before Simmons, who recognizes Madison. Madison accuses Simmons of causing all of this, but Simmons says he is proud of having created a weapon to stand up to Godzilla. Kong and Godzilla get back to their feet, with Godzilla dropping onto all fours and hunting for Kong. Kong throws a crane to distract Godzilla, then leaps at him. The Titans exchange blows again, before a furious Godzilla bites down on Kong's hand and throws him into a building, dislocating his shoulder. Godzilla drops onto all fours again and aggressively pursues Kong, who kicks at Godzilla’s face as he tries to crawl away. Godzilla pounces onto Kong and claws into his chest repeatedly, then stomps on his chest twice. Kong weakly tries to pull Godzilla’s foot off of him, but to no avail. Godzilla roars angrily in Kong’s face, who answers him with a roar of his own. Godzilla takes his foot off of Kong and begins to walk away, while Kong tries to get back to his feet. However, Kong is too badly hurt and passes out.
As Mechagodzilla is activated with the new energy source, Simmons brags that his mecha is now Godzilla’s superior. However, something goes wrong as Serizawa is disconnected from the mecha, which becomes possessed by Ghidorah’s consciousness instead. The rogue Mechagodzilla punches into the control room and kills Walter, after which an electrical shock kills Serizawa. Mechagodzilla frees itself from underneath Victoria Peak Mountain with its proton scream, then begins rampaging through the city. Godzilla sees his mechanical duplicate and roars before charging at it. Mechagodzilla fires a barrage of missiles at Godzilla, then uses its jet boosters to outmaneuver Godzilla and lands several vicious hits on him. Madison and the others see this taking place, and Josh tries to hack into Mechagodzilla’s control system to stop it. The HEAV lands near the fallen Kong, with the occupants witnessing the battle between Godzilla and Mechagodzilla. Jia feels Kong’s heartbeat slowing and relays this information to the others. Andrews says they can’t produce a charge big enough to restart Kong’s heart, but Lind remembers what Maia said about the HEAVs producing a charge big enough to power Las Vegas for a week. Godzilla and Mechagodzilla engage in a beam lock which Mechagodzilla wins, blasting Godzilla to the ground and badly burning his chest. Lind flies the HEAV onto Kong’s chest and sets it to self-destruct. He quickly exits the craft and runs before it explodes. Kong is instantly revived and looks at Jia, who signs to him that Godzilla is not the enemy. Kong roars in anger, but Jia signs to him that Mechagodzilla is the real enemy. Kong watches Godzilla fighting Mechagodzilla and seems to accept this, then pops his shoulder back into place.
Mechagodzilla continues badly beating Godzilla, then grabs him by the mouth and begins prying his jaws apart. Just before Mechagodzilla can fire its proton scream down Godzilla’s throat, Kong leaps onto its back and pulls its head back, causing it to fire into the sky. Godzilla sees this and gets back up, grabbing Mechagodzilla’s arm as Kong grabs the other arm. Both Titans then pull the mecha through a building to the ground. Mechagodzilla gets back up and grapples with Godzilla and Kong. Mechagodzilla is still too powerful and knocks both Titans aside. Kong sees his axe and grabs it, then begins swinging it at Mechagodzilla. Mechagodzilla pins Kong against a building and begins spinning the blades at the end of its tail, trying to shove them into Kong’s face. Josh is unable to hack into Mechagodzilla’s control panel, which locks him out. With all hope seemingly lost, Bernie pulls out his flask and suggests they have one last drink. This gives Josh an idea, and he grabs the flask and pours it all over the control panel. This causes it to spark and explode, making Mechagodzilla momentarily stall. Using this opportunity, Godzilla fires his atomic breath at Kong’s axe, charging it. Kong swings his axe at Mechagodzilla’s arm, freeing himself, then continues to swing it until he hacks off the arm. Kong then cuts off the mecha’s other arm, then its leg. Mechagodzilla falls to the ground and begins charging one last proton scream before Kong strikes it in the neck, then leaps onto it and tears off its head. Kong holds up Mechagodzilla’s severed head and roars triumphantly, ending the Terror of Mechagodzilla. Exhausted, Kong then slumps down.
Andrews finds Lind among the ruins of Hong Kong and helps him through the rubble. Madison runs through the streets and finds her father, and the two share an embrace. Josh tells Mark that the whole thing was Madison’s idea, and Mark simply tells him to “shut up.” Madison introduces Mark to Bernie, who says it’s a pleasure to meet him and asks if he can invite him on his podcast sometime. Lind, Andrews, and Jia sit together, exhausted, among the rubble. Godzilla then roars loudly, drawing everyone’s attention. Kong grabs his axe again and approaches Godzilla, and the two Titans stare each other down. Kong hesitates and then drops his axe, they briefly acknowledge each other after which Godzilla roars at him before turning around and returning to the sea peacefully.
Inside the Hollow Earth, Lind, Andrews, and Jia watch Kong from an observation post as he goes on his morning walk. Kong signs the word "home" to Jia, who smiles back at him. Kong then swings onto a cliff and pounds his chest triumphantly.
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
- Directed by Adam Wingard
- Screenplay by Eric Pearson, Max Borenstein
- Story by Terry Rossio, Michael Dougherty, Zach Shields
- Produced by Mary Parent, Alex Garcia, Eric McLeod, Brian Rogers
- Executive producers Kenji Okuhira, Yoshimitsu Banno, Jon Jashni, Thomas Tull
- Music by Tom Holkenborg
- Japanese theme song "INTO THE DEEP" performed by MAN WITH A MISSION
- Cinematography by Ben Seresin
- Edited by Josh Schaeffer
- Production design by Owen Patterson, Tom Hammock
- Assistant directors Ashley Douglass, Nick Satriano
- Visual effects supervisor John "DJ" DesJardin
- Sound design by Jason W. Jennings, Erik Aadahl, Ethan Var Dye Vin, Brandon Jones, Malte Beiler, Jhon Marquis
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
- Alexander Skarsgård as Dr. Nathan Lind, Monarch Chief Cartographer
- Millie Bobby Brown as Madison Russell
- Rebecca Hall as Dr. Ilene Andrews, Monarch anthropological linguist
- Brian Tyree Henry as Bernie Hayes, Titan Truth Podcast host
- Shun Oguri as Ren Serizawa, Apex Cybernetics Chief Technology Officer
- Eiza González as Maia Simmons, Apex executive
- Julian Dennison as Josh Valentine
- Lance Reddick as Guillermin
- Kyle Chandler as Dr. Mark Russell, Monarch Director
- Demián Bichir as Walter Simmons, Apex CEO
- Kaylee Hottle as Jia
- Hakeem Kae-Kazim as Admiral Wilcox
- Ronny Chieng as Jay Wayne
- John Pirruccello as Horace
- Chris Chalk as Ben
- Conlan Casal, Brad McMurray as Apex Cybernetics security guards
- Benjamin Rigby as Sonar operator
- Nick Turello as Apex Cybernetics armed guard
- Daniel Nelson as Hayworth
- Priscilla Doueihy as Monarch mission tech
- Kei Kudo, Bradd Buckley as HEAV pilots
- John Walton, Daniel Tuiara as HEAV co-pilots
- David Castillo, Kofi Yiadom, Jim Palmer as Maia's Apex Cybernetics guards
- Eric Petey as King Kong (motion capture, uncredited)
- Kenjiro Tsuda as Dr. Nathan Lind
- Mana Ashida as Madison Russell
- Maaya Sakamoto as Dr. Ilene Andrews
- Matsuya Onoe as Bernie Hayes
- Shun Oguri as Ren Serizawa
- Minami Tanaka as Maia Simmons
- Yuji Tanaka as Josh Valentine
- Shinsuke Kasai as Guillermin
- Kei Tanaka as Dr. Mark Russell
- Kazuhiro Yamaji as Walter Simmons
- Jin Yamanoi as Admiral Wilcox
- Hidenori Takahashi as Jay Wayne
- Daiki Hamano as Ben
Weapons, vehicles, races, and organizations
Rumors of a King Kong vs. Godzilla remake began as soon as Legendary Pictures announced Kong: Skull Island in 2014. On September 10, 2015, Deadline reported that the project's move from Universal Pictures to Godzilla distributor Warner Bros. was meant to facilitate a rematch between the two monsters. The Hollywood Reporter published its own article on the impending crossover six days later. On October 14, 2015, Legendary confirmed its intent to launch a cinematic universe featuring both Godzilla and King Kong, as well as other giant monsters including Mothra, Rodan, and King Ghidorah. Godzilla was the first entry in this cinematic universe, later officially dubbed the MonsterVerse, and it was to be followed by Kong: Skull Island and the Godzilla sequel Godzilla: King of the Monsters before finally culminating with Godzilla vs. Kong in 2020.
On March 10, 2017, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Legendary would be assembling a writers room to come up with the story for the film, comprised of Terry Rossio (who previously worked on the original version of TriStar's Godzilla film), Patrick McKay, J.D. Payne, Lindsey Beer, Cat Vasko, T.S. Nowlin, and J. Michael Straczynski. Adam Wingard finalized a deal to become the film's director on May 30.
On June 1, That Hashtag Show revealed that Deadpool 2 star Julian Dennison had been cast in the film in a supporting role, while Millie Bobby Brown and Kyle Chandler would both be reprising their roles from Godzilla: King of the Monsters. The article also reported that Legendary had offered Frances McDormand a starring role in the film, which it later retracted. The following day, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed this report, save for the talks with McDormand, adding that Zhang Ziyi would be reprising her role from Godzilla: King of the Monsters as well.
Further casting announcements followed as the film neared the start of production: Brian Tyree Henry on October 10, Demián Bichir on October 17, Alexander Skarsgård on October 25, Eiza González and Rebecca Hall on October 30, Jessica Henwick on November 8, Shun Oguri on November 11, and Lance Reddick on November 14. Henwick and Zhang were ultimately cut from the film, with Reddick's role reduced.
Principal photography on Godzilla vs. Kong began on November 12, 2018 in Hawaii, under the title Apex. The production wrapped in Hawaii on December 20 and resumed at Village Roadshow Studios in Oxenford, Australia, in the third week of January. Outdoor shoots took place at various Gold Coast locations, wrapping in early April. Five days of reshoots were conducted afterwards.
After the film's release, production assistant Ryan Unicomb detailed elements of the story that were removed or reshot:
- Nathan Lind's initial attempt to explore the Hollow Earth would have led to the death of his fiancée instead of his brother. As in Kingdom Kong and the novelization, their entry point was Skull Island. The experience would have made him "a depressed drunk who hangs out at dive bars."
- Maia Simmons would have used a device called the ORCA-Z to cause Godzilla to attack the Apex facility in Pensacola, with the hopes of setting up her father as a hero when he killed Godzilla with Mechagodzilla. This would have further explained Godzilla breaking off his attack against the naval fleet and Kong, as shutting off the fleet's power would have disabled the ORCA-Z as well. In the novelization, Madison Russell speculates that Apex built a new ORCA, but nothing comes of it.
- As in the novelization, Madison would be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after the events of Godzilla: King of the Monsters and have a strained relationship with her father.
- The film only implies Ren Serizawa is Ishiro Serizawa's son through their shared surname; initially, this would have been made explicit. Serizawa would have also betrayed Simmons, using a hitman to murder the CEO and deliberately uploading Ghidorah's consciousness into Mechagodzilla. Bernie Hayes would kill the hitman before he could dispatch Madison and Josh Valentine.
- Jessica Henwick's character, who was cut from the film entirely, was a reporter. In the novelization, Mark Russell fields questions from reporters after Godzilla attacks Pensacola, although they only have one line each.
- Paintings in Kong's temple would have depicted Mothra, Rodan, and Behemoth as participants in an "ancient war." The finished film shows a cave painting of Mothra, Godzilla, a member of Kong's species, and a Skullcrawler, but only in the opening credits.
On May 30, 2019, the day before the American release of Godzilla: King of the Monsters, an advertisement for Godzilla vs. Kong was shown at Licensing Expo 2019, featuring artwork of the two titular monsters battling with the tagline "One will fall." Two short clips from the film, including a shot of Nathan Lind exiting the HEAV, and a clip of a Kong throwing a punch at Godzilla, played before the Warner Bros. presentation at Comic-Con Experience in Brazil on December 8, 2019.
On January 7, 2020, photographs from a toy expo surfaced online showing much of the Playmates toyline for Godzilla vs. Kong. Most noteworthy were figures of Mechagodzilla, a new monster later identified as Warbat, a Skullcrawler, Godzilla wearing red armor (labeled "Mega Godzilla"), and Kong wielding an axe. On May 20, Legendary Comics held a digital WonderCon panel discussing the upcoming graphic novel tie-ins for the film. The panel revealed the authors and illustrators behind the Kong- and Godzilla-centric graphic novels, as well as The Art of Godzilla vs. Kong and an untitled Kong picture book. Images from the graphic novels were shown as well. Two shots of Godzilla and Kong were included in a Warner Bros. sizzle reel shown at Comic-Con Experience on December 6.
Marketing for Godzilla vs. Kong did not begin in earnest until just over two months before its release, owing to multiple release date changes during the COVID-19 pandemic. On January 21, Legendary Pictures unveiled the first poster for the film, showing Godzilla swimming towards Kong in Hong Kong, and announced that the trailer for the film would be released on Sunday, January 24. They also launched Twitter and Instagram accounts specifically for the film. MonarchSciences.com, originally created to market Godzilla: King of the Monsters, came back online with an emergency warning instead of its map: "TITANUS GOJIRA AND TITANUS KONG ON COLLISION COURSE." The website later changed back to its usual global interactive map format. YouTube began running short ads for the film the same day. When the trailer dropped, it accumulated 25.6 million views in 24 hours, a record for a Warner Bros. trailer in that time frame. Toho released the film's Japanese trailer, containing new footage, on February 7. On February 14, the official Godzilla vs. Kong Twitter released a teaser with new footage. New TV spots and posters continued to drop throughout the rest of the month and into March.
On March 8, Tamashii Nations opened a pop-up shop in New York City which displayed their Godzilla vs. Kong S.H. MonsterArts figures, Jia's costume, props of two Skullcrawler eggs, and a DougheGoji statue. The shop will close on April 25.
- Main article: Godzilla vs. Kong/Gallery.
- Main article: Godzilla vs. Kong: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack.
- Kong vs. Godzilla (Indonesia)
- Godzilla vs. King Kong (哥吉拉大戰金剛 Gējílā dàzhàn Jīngāng; China)
- (哥斯拉大戰金剛 Gēsīlā dàzhàn Jīngāng; Hong Kong)
- (哥吉拉大戰金剛 Gējílā dàzhàn Jīngāng; Taiwan)
- Godzilla V Kong (Official YouTube playlist for the film's soundtrack)
- France, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Singapore, Taiwan, Ukraine - March 24, 2021
- Argentina, Australia, Chile, Germany, Hungary, Mexico, Netherlands, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea - March 25, 2021
- Bulgaria, China, Spain, Vietnam - March 26, 2021
- Canada, United States - March 31, 2021
- Lithuania - April 1, 2021
- Sweden - April 28, 2021
- Brazil - April 29 / May 6, 2021
- Portugal - May 6, 2021
- Slovakia - May 20, 2021
- United Kingdom - May 21, 2021
- Israel - June 3, 2021
- Japan - July 2, 2021
Warner Bros. changed the American release date for Godzilla vs. Kong repeatedly:
- Legendary Pictures dated the film for 2020 when revealing it on October 14, 2015.
- The first specific release date was May 29, 2020, announced on May 10, 2016.
- Moved to May 22, 2020 on May 3, 2017.
- Moved to March 13, 2020 on February 21, 2019, to avoid competition with F9.
- Moved to November 20, 2020 on November 25, 2019.
- Moved to May 21, 2021 on June 12, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Moved to March 26, 2021 on January 15, 2021.
- Moved to March 31, 2021 on January 26, 2021, to better take advantage of the Easter holiday.
On November 25, 2020, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that WarnerMedia and Warner Bros. were in talks to release Godzilla vs. Kong on HBO Max the same day it would open in theaters, echoing plans for Wonder Woman 1984, after the former blocked a $200 million-plus offer from Netflix. Warner made these plans official on December 3, unveiling a new Godzilla vs. Kong banner in its announcement video. The film will only be available on the service for one month after its theatrical premiere. The following day, it was reported that Legendary may take legal action against Warner Bros. over its plans to place the film on HBO Max, as the studio was largely kept out of the loop of this plan and supplied a sizeable portion of its $160 million budget.
- 3D (post-converted)
- IMAX 3D
- Dolby Vision and Atmos
Godzilla vs. Kong was released theatrically in Japan by Toho. It was initially scheduled for May 14, but was pushed back to July 2 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was released with both a Japanese-language dub and in its original English audio with Japanese subtitles. Like Godzilla: King of the Monsters before it, the film received its own Japanese tie-in song: "INTO THE DEEP" by the band MAN WITH A MISSION.
Godzilla vs. Kong was one of many Hollywood films initially scheduled for 2020 but postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In December 2020, Warner Bros. announced it would release a full 2021 lineup to theaters, in tandem with one-month HBO Max releases in the United States, rather than continue to delay its films until COVID-19 vaccines became widely available. This meant Godzilla vs. Kong opened at a time when many potential viewers were reluctant to visit a movie theater for fear of infection; in addition, many theaters faced seating capacity restrictions or were temporarily shuttered. However, with the other major studios continuing to push back most of their films, it faced minimal box office competition in its first three weeks of release.
Godzilla vs. Kong began its international rollout on March 24 and opened to $121.8 million, easily the best figure for a Hollywood movie in the past year. In China, it made $70.3 million in its opening, narrowly exceeding the debut of Godzilla: King of the Monsters. The film launched on March 31 in the United States, an unusual Wednesday release to take advantage of the Easter holiday. It made $9.6 million on its opening day and $48.5 million in its first five days, both records for the pandemic era at the time. Its release prompted Regal Cinemas, the second-largest chain in the country, to begin reopening its theaters on April 2, after closing them all in October. It remained the #1 film at the U.S. box office in its second and third weekends, and would not fall out of the top 10 until its eleventh frame. It surpassed the $386.6 million global box office take of Godzilla: King of the Monsters in mid-April, and became the second pandemic-era film to earn $100 million domestically.
- Region: Various (Blu-ray and DVD)
- Discs: 2
- Audio: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese (Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1, and Dolby Digital 5.1 for the English audio on 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray; all other options in Dolby Digital 5.1) [U.S. release - will vary depending on country]
- Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese [U.S. release - will vary depending on country]
- Special features: Audio commentary by director Adam Wingard and ten featurettes ("Godzilla Attacks", 6:25; "The Phenomenon of Gojira: King of the Monsters", 9:52; "Kong Leaves Home", 7:26; "Kong Discovers Hollow Earth", 7:53; "Behold Kong's Temple", 5:52; "The Rise of Mechagodzilla", 7:06; "Round One: Battle at Sea", 5:01; "Round Two: One Will Fall", 5:58; "Titan Tag Team: The King and the God", 7:59)
- Main article: Godzilla vs. Kong/Videos.
- With a runtime of 113 minutes, Godzilla vs. Kong is the shortest entry in the MonsterVerse, as well as the shortest American Godzilla film.
- Godzilla vs. Kong is the first Godzilla movie to feature "vs." in its English title since Godzilla vs. Megaguirus in 2000. Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla, released in Japan as Gojira tai Mekagojira ("Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla"), was the last to use "vs." in its title overall.
- It is also the first film to include the English "vs" in its Japanese title since 1995's Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (ゴジラvsデストロイア. Gojira tai Desutoroia)
- In 2013, Peter Jackson approached future Godzilla vs. Kong director Adam Wingard with an offer to direct a sequel to his 2005 King Kong remake called Skull Island, written by Simon Barrett and produced by Mary Parent. According to Wingard, the film was never made because it "was set up at Universal, and the King Kong rights somehow ended up at Warner Bros." Parent also produced Godzilla vs. Kong.
- Both Zhang Ziyi and Jessica Henwick were cast for Godzilla vs. Kong, but neither appears in the finished film. Ziyi was set to reprise her role as Dr. Ilene Chen from Godzilla: King of the Monsters. Her name even appeared in the online description of the film's novelization, although Chen does not make an appearance in the novel either.
- Madison and Mark Russell are the only human characters in the film to return from a previous entry in the MonsterVerse.
- Mechagodzilla is the final "Big Five" Toho monster to appear in a MonsterVerse film, the others being Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah, and Rodan.
- This is the second film in which Kong fights a mechanized version of a monster. The first time was in King Kong Escapes, where he fought his own mechanical duplicate, Mechani-Kong, who inspired the creation of Mechagodzilla.
- Denham University of Theoretical Science is named after Carl Denham from the original King Kong.
- Mechagodzilla emerges from a mountain, engages in a beam-lock with Godzilla, and is defeated by Godzilla and another monster by having its head torn off, much like its Showa counterpart. In this telling, however, Kong tears off the machine's head instead of Godzilla.
- Mechagodzilla being built using King Ghidorah's severed head as a neural interface is reminiscent of the film Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II, where it was constructed using technology salvaged from Mecha-King Ghidorah's severed mechanical head.
- Furthermore, Mechagodzilla going berserk and turning on its creators is similar to the Shogakukan manga adaptation of Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II, where Mecha-King Ghidorah's programming takes over Mechagodzilla and brutally attempts to kill Godzilla. In both stories, another monster helps him take down the machine: Fire Rodan in the manga and Kong in the film.
- As in many of his films, Kong is transported from his island by boat. Furthermore, Kong being airlifted is reminiscent of scenes in both King Kong vs. Godzilla and King Kong Escapes.
- Godzilla attacking Kong at sea while he is being transported is reminiscent of his attack on Mothra's egg in Godzilla vs. Mothra.
- During Godzilla and Kong's Hong Kong battle, Kong shoves the handle of his axe down Godzilla's throat, referencing a famous scene from King Kong vs. Godzilla where Kong shoves a tree down Godzilla's throat. Kong is also revived by electricity at the end of the film.
- Mechagodzilla attempts to finish off Godzilla by firing its proton scream into his mouth, a callback to Godzilla's "Kiss of Death" attack he performed on the female MUTO in Godzilla.
- The name of Lance Reddick's character, Guillermin, is a reference to British filmmaker John Guillermin, who directed the 1976 King Kong remake and its sequel King Kong Lives.
- Wingard offered James Rolfe a cameo in the film, but he declined due to the impending birth of his second child.
- The film's opening credits plagiarize a piece of Skullcrawler fanart by DeviantArt user Ramul. A Chinese MonsterVerse celebration poster plagiarized a piece of Skullcrawler fanart by Twitter user @endorosu as well.
- During the film's opening credits sequence, Godzilla and Kong's Japanese names of ゴジラ (Gojira) and キングコング (Kingu Kongu) are briefly displayed.
- Terry Rossio received a story credit on Godzilla vs. Kong after writing an unused Godzilla script for TriStar Pictures in 1994 with Ted Elliott. As in that script, Godzilla walks on all fours in Godzilla vs. Kong, albeit briefly.
- The film's English audio description identifies the crab-like creatures Kong awakens in the Hollow Earth as Arachno-claws and the giant lizard that eats one as a Foetodon. Both of these names were originally used for species in the 2005 King Kong remake.
- This is the third movie to feature both King Kong and Mechagodzilla, after Godzilla vs. Destoroyah and Ready Player One, but the first in which they meet.
- Actor Kyle Chandler had previously appeared in a King Kong movie (the 2005 King Kong remake) and a Godzilla movie (the previous MonsterVerse entry, Godzilla: King of the Monsters).
- Kong popping his shoulder back into place is a reference to Martin Riggs doing the same in Lethal Weapon 2. The film is listed in the "Photos / Artwork / Footage Courtesy of" section of the end credits.
- Kong attempts to pry open and break Godzilla and Mechagodzilla's jaws, a technique he has performed on many adversaries in past films.
- During the Hong Kong battle, Kong's left arm clips through a building, likely an animation error.
- Godzilla's grunt can be heard at the end of the end credits.
- Official site
- Official Twitter
- Official Facebook
- Official Instagram
- Collider set visit
- Comicbook set visit
- ComingSoon set visit
- JoBlo set visit
- Nerdist set visit
- Japanese poll
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