Without a doubt the biggest star of this years San Diego Comic Con was the biggest monster of them all! Godzilla rocked the house with the release of a new trailer filled with enough giant monster mayhem to make Eiji Tsuburaya and Ishirō Honda rise from the grave and dance like Mick Jagger.
From The Hollywood Reporter
Godzilla’s iconic roar shook San Diego Comic-Con's Hall H on Saturday as Warner Bros. unleashed the first trailer for Michael Dougherty’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters. The sequel follows Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla (2014) and Jordan Vogt-Roberts’ Kong: Skull Island (2017), setting up for a clash between the two iconic monsters in Adam Wingard’s Godzilla vs. Kong in 2020.
Warner Bros.' “Monsterverse” has been one of the few non-superhero based cinematic universes to be met with critical and financial success, proving the lasting appeal of these characters for modern audiences. Dougherty, who directed the holiday cult-classic Trick 'r Treat and Krampus, is joining the world of blockbuster filmmaking with his take on the Japanese lizard who first made his debut in Ishiro Honda’s Gojira (1954). Despite some audience complaints about the film’s pacing and human characters, Edwards’ Godzilla successfully brought back the moodiness, scale and war-tinged dread of Honda’s original film. Dougherty is faced with not only following in Edwards' footsteps but living up to the long legacy of the Godzilla franchise, 29 Japanese films total, and the various monsters it incorporated. The trailer, which was one of the best pieces of marketing to emerge from this year’s Comic-Con, makes it apparent that Dougherty isn’t only up to the challenge, but may very well exceed all expectations in his efforts to showcase the majesty of monsters.
Before we get to the monsters, the trailer introduces us to the cast, which is stacked with the talent of rising stars, dramatic power players and recognizable character actors. Central to Godzilla: King of the Monsters is Dr. Emma Russell (Vera Farmiga) and her daughter Madison (Millie Bobby Brown). Dr. Russell, a paleobiologist who figures out a way to communicate with the monsters (“Titans”) and potentially use them to save the environment from its human infection, works for the organization Monarch. Monarch has been the thread throughout the Monsterverse films, and King of the Monsters sees the organization’s scientists Dr. Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) and Dr. Graham (Sally Hawkins) return when Dr. Russell and Madison are kidnapped by a secret organization. Looking to reunite with his family, Dr. Russell's husband Mark Russell (Kyle Chandler) joins the Monarch scientists and braves the re-emergence of Godzilla along with several new Titans. While the human characters in these films have arguably never been as interesting as the monsters themselves, Dougherty seems invested in emotionally connecting us with these characters, while also hinting that Dr. Russell’s motivations may not be so clear-cut.
Despite the wordwide destruction caused in the previous film, Godzilla emerged a hero who defended Earth from the MUTOs. Godzilla’s role as hero or villain has wavered throughout his media depictions. Originally conceived as a metaphor for U.S. nuclear destruction, Godzilla went on to become a hero in Japanese films, defending the country from various kaiju. The tone of this film, which focuses more so on the grandeur of Godzilla rather than his ability to create fear, points to the giant-lizard being positioned as a hero. But of course, a hero is only as good as its villains, and that’s true in the realm of giant monsters as well.
In one of the trailer’s most beautiful shots, we see Mothra spread her wings. Mothra is Toho studios’ most popular character after Godzilla, having first starred in her own self-titled film in 1961 before going on to star in Mothra vs Godzilla (1964) in one of the earliest and biggest examples of a shared-universe film. Appearing in her own series of features, along with a frequent supporting role in Godzilla’s, Mothra is often depicted as an ally of Godzilla. In the Toho pics, she is often accompanied by human-looking fairies. While this latter aspect probably won’t be adapted directly, it’s highly likely that we’ll see Mothra and Godzilla join forces in the film.
The movie’s third monster is Rodan, who, like Mothra, appeared in his own self-titled film, in 1956, before becoming a major recurring figure in the Godzilla pics, starting with Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964). The relationship between Rodan and Godzilla is often adversarial, though he did lean towards a more heroic position over the years. In King of the Monsters, it appears he will be largely antagonistic and responsible for the massive amounts of destruction we see in the trailer.
Lastly, we get a shadowy glimpse of King Ghidorah, Godzilla’s nemesis and one of the most impressive-looking Kaiju to emerge from Toho’s films. We see his energy attacks, the yellow lighting bolts, throughout the trailer, hinting at the creature’s massive power-levels. Initially appearing in the afore-mentioned Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, King Ghidorah has had several different origin stories — one in which he hails from the planet Venus and another in which he’s sent from the 23rd century. Based on the world that’s been set up thus far, King Ghidorah’s backstory will likely be a lot simpler, but he will undoubtedly prove to be a major threat to Godzilla and Mothra. Said to be performed by a team of motion-capture performers, King Ghidorah may end up as the film’s special effects high point.
Although we don’t see any of the Titans battle in this trailer, you can be sure that when Godzilla: King of the Monsters arrives next summer, audiences will get their share of kaiju mayhem between the four creatures. In the immortal words of Dr. Ishiro Serizawa, "Let them fight."
Godzilla: King of the Monsters is set to be released May 31, 2019.
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