When thinking of the older comic book movies that came out, whether it was Tim Burton’s Batman in 1989 or Blade several years after, there was never a thought of what the other heroes in those universes were doing or any mention of them. Even recently with the boom of comic book movies, DC’s Batman trilogy by Christoper Nolan was contained in it’s own existence, as well as their other (failed) ventures such as Green Lantern. Yet with the recent boom and multi-billion dollar success of Marvel’s movies the last few years, more and more of the upcoming slate of summer blockbuster’s will be beginning or part of a shared cinematic or themed universe. DC has followed suit and what began as just Man of Steel now will be a shared DC cinematic universe that leads into next year’s Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, and eventually the Justice League movies and solo films for each of it’s respective members. This is basically what Marvel did with The Avengers and their solo films, albeit much later. Yet those examples are comic book universes, which make alot of sense with the immense amount of characters and rich history. I’m a bit thrown off by the recent announcement of a shared universe made up of Godzilla/King Kong/Toho monsters universe.
Now anyone who knows me knows I have been a huge Godzilla fan since I was a kid. I anxiously awaited Gareth Edwards’ portrayal of my favorite atomic lizard with bated breath. The movie came out and I can say I was not disappointed, and was stoked by the easter egg nods and hints of some of Godzilla’s well known foes showing up in the inevitable sequels. With monsters like Rodan, Mothra, King Ghidorah and a slew more, I knew that they had plenty of content to set up numerous Godzilla films while being able to focus more and more on the big guy himself. I had heard that Universal was going to be making a new King Kong movie as well, and the success of the new Godzilla would only make that film more likely. Never did I think that Universal would give the rights of Kong to Legendary Pictures, who also released the latest Godzilla film. That announcement made the internet catch fire with assumptions that the two film titans would clash, but this is not a notion I ever really gave thought to. Legendary made those assumptions true when they announced that Kong: Skull Island would be out in 2017, followed by Godzilla 2 in 2018, culminating into the big showdown with Godzilla vs King Kong in 2020. Which sounds cool, and I would probably see it but the question to me is not only why (obviously money) but how?
Godzilla is a film franchise that can stand on it’s own, with his own rogue’s gallery of sorts to keep the installments coming for as long as people want them and they’re profitable for the studio. Throwing King Kong in there and creating a “shared” universe for these giant monsters isn’t something that is really needed. Is it just to give King Kong more named monsters to fight for himself to keep that franchise going? I for one would not want to see Ghidorah or Gigan in a Kong movie, and I’m fairly sure I’m not alone in that. That leads us to a huge question, how are these two going to fight? King Kong is huge yes, but Godzilla (especially in his new iteration) is monstrous. Where King Kong has to climb the Empire State Building, Godzilla now towers over it. If these two are to fight as it stands now, Godzilla would either step on him or totally annihilate him with his atomic breath. Unless there is something done to Kong in the upcoming movie where he is much bigger, or they just up the scale of him in lieu of his upcoming fight with the King of Monsters. All of these answers will be seen as the years pass and we get not only Kong: Skull Island but Godzilla 2 before these behemoths meet on the battlefield.
Still, Godzilla isn’t the only one to find himself lumped in the onslaught of shared universes and their popularity. Now that studios have seen the popularity and marketability of Marvel and DC, Universal and Hasbro have now said that Transformers will have a shared universe consisting of it’s upcoming (probably terrible) movies, cartoons, games, and comics. Nothing like waiting until the fifth movie to come out to create a shared universe right? Not like he hasn’t killed off a huge number of main characters and villains as Michael Bay has burned and pillaged his way through four explosion-filled turds. Couple that with Universal’s plans to bring back their old classic monsters like Dracula and Frankenstein with their own shared universe and I think we are starting a crazy trend here.
In the end, movie companies will make decisions base on what they feel will make them the most money in return, of course. Not only from the films themselves, but advertising, product placement, toy and apparel sales and all of that jazz. Still, when it comes to shared movie universes, I think it makes sense for companies such as Marvel and DC to do, as their rich histories and countless number of interesting characters can fuel multiple franchises and internet blazing cameos. That doesn’t mean everyone should do it, look at the talk of Sony making Men in Black and 21 Jump Street have shared universes. Now you’re just trying to smash two things together and hope that it works. We know that King Kong works. Godzilla just proved he works on his own even without another known monster we should see in the sequels. Let him stand on his own two feet, roar loudly, and blast atomic breath on the screen solo like God (and Toho) intended.