It was inevitable that comparisons would be drawn between the upcoming Godzilla vs. Kong and Warner Bros.’ previous box-office super-slugfest, Batman v Superman. And why not, when you have two films featuring two different pairs of icons going at it in some big-budget fantasy warfare?
But to director Adam Wingard, there is a vast difference between BVS and what he’s doing in Legendary’s MonsterVerse. For one, he tells Collider, he isn’t starting over with a brand-new take on either beast like Zack Snyder did with the Dark Knight.
He explained that his “issue with [Batman v Superman] is really that it’s a new Batman. It’s Ben Affleck is Batman… And up until then, Christian Bale was the definitive Batman, and so it felt like, okay, now that we’re doing Batman versus Superman, we’re also restarting Batman. So this feels like a different universe, which it is, and so this is a different Batman.”
Wingard went on to say that this ‘different’ Batman issue made BVS feel less like a definitive matchup between the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel and more like a film with “something off about it.”
He also felt that Toho’s blueprint for GVK, 1962’s King Kong vs. Godzilla, had similar problems. Pointing out that the film featured “the first Toho version of King Kong”, Wingard testified that this Kong looked “a little weird, and if I have to be honest, and he’s not stop motion either, you know? So he feels like a totally new character. It’s a totally new interpretation.”
“And so in a weird way, you don’t feel like this is really King Kong versus Godzilla,” he continued. “You’re like, ‘It’s Godzilla, but this other guy is a different version of King Kong. So it’s the best we got,’ You know?”
Wingard then shared how he cared about the two behemoths being more established, like “actual characters,” rather than big, dumb, and interchangeable monsters.
“Yeah, I mean, for me that was one of the most important things going into this film was treating Godzilla and King Kong like actual characters,” said the director. “That they’re not just these big props that are kind of in the background, or, you know, they’re just big monsters.”
According to Wingard, Kong is very actualized, with the director seeing the hairy icon as the “conduit” for the humans, as much of the film is experienced through his eyes.
“Like, basically Kong for instance, as almost like a human conduit, like we can actually cut to Kong in this movie without having to cut back to the human characters for relatively large chunks of the film, because we can experience things through him,” he said.
He then added, “[Kong is] emotive and all these kinds of things like his eyes, and the way he experiences things is relatable, and so it allows us to be able to just treat him just like any other character, and the humans are always going to back that up.”
Humans will back up Kong and Godzilla on opposing teams. On Kong’s side are Rebecca Hall, Alexander Skarsgard, and the deaf-mute girl the ape talks to. On Godzilla’s side are Bryan Tyree Henry, Millie Bobby Brown, and Julian Dennison.
Godzilla vs. Kong lands in theaters and drops on HBO Max March 21st.
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