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The first Godzilla vs. Kong trailer brings the brawl

The blockbuster is headed for a theatrical and HBO Max release

Matt Patches is an executive editor at Polygon. He has over 15 years of experience reporting on movies and TV, and reviewing pop culture.

To quote Ken Watanabe in 2014’s Godzilla and/or the best GIF ever: “Let them fight.”

After a nearly year-long delay due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Godzilla vs. Kong is on the horizon. The fourth film in Legendary Entertainment’s “Monsterverse” franchise after Godzilla, Kong: Skull Island, and Godzilla: King of Monsters is currently set for a simultaneous theatrical and HBO Max release in March, as part of Warner Bros. Entertainment’s industry-rattling strategy to combat lockdowns for the foreseeable future. A new trailer for the film promises a true blockbuster, with two titans battling it out as other nefarious forces descend about Earth. It’s what big screens were made for.

Directed by Adam Wingard (The Guest, 2016’s Blair Witch) with a script from Pirates of the Caribbean writer Terry Rossio, Godzilla vs. Kong picks up where King of Monsters left off — specifically, the film’s Kong-filled credits and a post-credit scene teasing the return of King Ghidorah and the introduction of Mecha-Godzilla. A synopsis from the start of production in 2018 teased, “As Monarch embarks on a perilous mission into uncharted terrain and unearths clues to the Titans’ origins, a human conspiracy threatens to wipe the creatures, both good and bad, from the face of the earth forever.” The film stars Millie Bobby Brown and Kyle Chandler from King of Monsters, along with Alexander Skarsgård (The Stand), Rebecca Hall (Christine), Brian Tyree Henry (Atlanta), Shun Oguri (Gintamai), Eiza González (Baby Driver), Jessica Henwick (Iron Fist), Julian Dennison (Deadpool 2), and Demián Bichir (The Hateful Eight).

The big question we’re left with after this first-look footage: Will Godzilla burp again? For those who didn’t catch Godzilla: King of Monsters, it’s important to know that, while the big lizard was able to fight his way through hordes of Titans, he also delivers a big-ass belch. When we asked director Mike Dougherty about why he gave Godzilla a moment of mouth flatulence amidst a maelstrom of monster chaos, he had this to say:

A big reason Godzilla has this mysterious draw, this mysterious appeal, is that he does have human traits and elements and I think that’s a lingering aspect of the fact that the Japanese executed him within man-in-suit process for decades. There were very humanistic expressions and body language that made us identify him a little bit more than we would have had he been executed with stop motion, let’s say.

So it was important to me to really embellish that and embrace that concept. Both the animators and the performance capture artists that we worked with became a fun team and were always pushing to add another close-up, add a squint of an eye, add a slight head tilt, anything to convey that Godzilla has a surprisingly large emotional range that we can connect to.

Can Godzilla vs. Kong bring the humanity to two warring Titans? Can Godzilla’s beauty kill the beast? We’ll find out when the movie hits theaters and HBO Max on March 26, 2021.

Godzilla vs. Kong movie poster Image: Warner Bros. Pictures

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