Godzilla and King Kong each have headlined their own films over the years. But at the end of 2020, they’ll go toe to toe once again on the big screen, and audiences will be dying to know which monster has the upper hand.
To catch you up on their best films before the main event, we have cultivated a list that can help you get up to speed on the traits each creature will bring to the fight. Read on, and then place your bets before GODZILLA VS. KONG opens in theatres on November 20, 2020.
King Kong (1933)
We have to include the originals, and that starts with the 1933 horror-creature classic. Fay Wray meets the enormous ape on Skull Island, and then brings him back to New York City where he becomes a circus freak. The explosive finale on the top of the Empire State Building remains one of the greatest scenes in Hollywood history.
Decades after King Kong got his first movie, Godzilla got his origin story, and we owe this launch pad for the rest of the adventures that would bless our screens. The creature is born from the atom bombs dropped on Japan, and GODZILLA has plenty of geopolitical messages weaved into its screenplay. Though sluggish, 1954’s GODZILLA still gets credit for opening the door to this series.
Kong: Skull Island (2017)
Hollywood doesn’t let these franchises rest for too long, with contemporary filmmakers often asking for a shot at telling stories in these sandboxes. Brie Larson and Tom Hiddleston were the stars who ventured to Skull Island for this update, but as usual, Kong was the real star of the show.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)
It’s Wrestlemania… with monsters! Earlier this year, Michael Dougherty blew the doors off of the GODZILLA franchise with the action-packed GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS, and it’s the one you need to watch right before GODZILLA VS. KONG. The sequel extends the story of Monarch, the evil corporation that’s resurrecting monsters. But it’s also wall-to-wall creature action, featuring every major Godzilla nemesis known to man.
King Kong (2005)
Essentially a remake of the 1933 classic, Peter Jackson’s KING KONG shows what the myth would look like when told using modern filmmaking tools. It’s shiny and beautiful, though a little overstuffed. But the New York City sequences that end Jackson’s epic are breathtaking, and earn the rights for the remake to exist.
Godzilla: Final Wars (2004)
FINAL WARS is another sort of "greatest hits" approach to the Godzilla story, with our famous lead creature facing off with almost every enemy he’s ever encountered on screen. It’s not great, but it sure is wild, with Godzilla even having to fight (briefly) the version of the monster from 1998’s Roland Emmerich blockbuster. This movie was meant to retire Godzilla from big screen action for a few years, and it made sure he went out with a bang.
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