The years leading up to GODZILLA VS KONG have been a mixed bag depending who you ask, but all share one thing in common: indie directors. Gareth Edwards had made a name for himself with photogenic Monsters before starting the Monsterverse with his 2014 take on Godzilla. That opening night crowd I saw it with was cheering and having a blast for the iconic moment being reimagined for modern American audiences. Two days later, lots of Twitter trolls decided they hated it and wanted more action. While Michael Dougherty had worked on blockbusters like X2 and Superman Returns, his directorial efforts found their success with cult followings in the horror genre, prominently with Trick R’ Treat. After the release of the Christmas horror-comedy Krampus, Dougherty was hired to co-write and direct the follow-up Edwards’ film with Godzilla: King of the Monsters. The trailers and behind-the-scenes photos promised more fights and the return of fan favorites missing from the previous film. The movie came out and the fans still found things to complain about. While the fights were bigger (and looked more expensive), this time the humans were uninteresting.
The franchise might have died then if it weren’t for the studio already working on another follow-up with fellow indie horror director, Adam Wingard. Plus, Kong: Skull Island was an instant success so why not try pitting the two together as it was already teased in a post-credits sequence in Kong. Godzilla: King of the Monsters was deemed a financial disappointment when taking into account its budget and marketing costs. GODZILLA VS KONG would be the last attempt in evolving the increasingly expensive Monsterverse, placing lots of pressure on Wingard.
GODZILLA VS KONG had plenty of odds against it between the reputation of the previous films and being released during a pandemic. However, it was these odds that pushed the film towards success. So many films were delayed during this time and it was probably the first big movie to be released as a vaccine was beginning to roll out. The property helped draw audiences of all ages to the movies. Despite also streaming at no extra cost on HBO Max, GODZILLA VS KONG broke records and drew acclaim from both fans and critics. It was a big-budget neon-colored palette of iconic monsters fighting over a synth-pop score and was the refresher audiences were hungry for.
Anyone familiar with Wingard’s previous efforts could see his touch on the franchise especially for those who are fans of The Guest. His commentary on the 4K/Blu-ray release touches on his influences and is notable that he is indeed a fanboy of these properties. While the film could easily have been seen as possibly his biggest check, Wingard instead took creative license and created a monster mash-up that he would have wanted to see growing up. The Easter eggs are fun to point out and the references are clear to those who geeked out on science fiction movies throughout the decades.
If one does not have the patience for commentaries, then there are multiple short extras included here, divided into multiple categories. Godzilla fans can delve into “The God,” where cast crew from all the Monsterverse films get into the history and their own experiences with Godzilla. “The King” is similar but this time with King Kong himself as well some more in-depth conversations into the creation of Hollow Earth. Fans will love the short bit on the creation of (SPOILER ALERT!) Mecha-Godzilla and how that design came to be. The last three featurettes focus on the primary fight sequences.
With top-notch audio and visual transfers, GODZILLA VS KONG delivers a monster-sized home video release that is a must-own for fans. On June 15, GODZILLA VS. KONG will be available on 4K, Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD.