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Long live Godzilla in new King of the Monsters trailer

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Thundering its way into the San Diego Comic Con (SDCC) this week was a trailer for next summer’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters. It is the sequel to Godzilla (2014) and the third movie in Legendary’s MonsterVerse following Kong: Skull Island (2017). King of the Monsters will also mark the 35th film in the official Godzilla franchise. No series has ever run as long continuously. That is quite a record from a prehistoric predator who is, in literal terms, Hollywood’s biggest star. Fun fact; Godzilla is over 54 times taller than Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.

The eponymous monster whips up a storm in the first full length trailer for Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Gareth Edwards’ first Godzilla movie had its blemishes, but is generally celebrated as a good monster movie that reinvigorated interest in Godzilla himself. It received praise for its unexpectedly restrained approach, a philosophy that at first glance seems to have been abandoned for the sequel. What you see instead is Planet Earth on the brink of death, extreme long shots of London razed to the ground, and efforts to raise Godzilla from the depths along with some of his fellow “titans”. There are points where it looks rather magnificent, with a Guillermo del Toro style beauty about it. Oddly enough, Sally Hawkins is back in her role from the first movie, coming off the back of her acclaimed performance in del Toro’s The Shape of Water last year.

You get a glimpse of all the monsters in the post-credits sequence of Skull Island, when you see illustrations of them on a cave wall. But who exactly are these beasts that Godzilla will have to contend with this time? Unlike the first film, they have all appeared in the franchise before.

The first one that you get a proper look at (asides Godzilla) is Mothra, who first appeared in Toho studios’ 1961 movie of the same name. Mothra is typically imagined as a giant moth or caterpillar, but here it seems to adopt a more reptilian and scaly look. It is also the only one of the four to be borderline cute, like if Toothless from the How to Train Your Dragon movies hit the gym. The trailer shows Mothra hatching from a cocoon and spreading a gigantic pair of wings. Interestingly, Mothra in the Toho films also made use of two tiny humanoids who would speak for her. The trailer makes a nod to this, showing two human characters (played by Vera Farmiga and Millie Bobby Brown) gazing in wonder at the gigantic winged creature and becoming more comfortable around it. Mothra is typically a more heroic creature in the older movies, but has locked horns with Godzilla before.

The second one you see, and the one you see the most of, is Rodan. A kind of Pteranodon – a giant winged reptile from the Cretaceous Period – Rodan in the older movies resembled Godzilla in that it symbolised a foreign nuclear threat, but unlike Godzilla the threat he embodied came from the Soviet Union, not America. Rodan is clearly gigantic, bigger than Mothra it appears, and from the footage may emerge from a volcano. The rush of air from under its wings as it glides along flattens buildings and kicks up a dust storm. This is a being that lives and breathes destruction. It’s also clear that for a creature this size, it is incredibly agile in the air. It is seen evading gunfire over a flattened London skyline, although whether it is responsible for that mess is unclear.

The final monster you only see glimpses of, and for one of those glimpses it is frozen in ice. This is King Ghidorah (what a name!), a dragon-like creature with three heads, massive wings and two tails. It is also the proclaimed arch enemy of Godzilla. The SDCC poster for King of the Monsters shows Godzilla locking horns with his nemesis. Ghidorah’s backstory has been reimagined several times – he has been everything from an extra-terrestrial dragon to a genetic mutation from the future. Given how he is in ice this time around though, the third story seems more plausible; that he is some kind of ancient protector, much like Godzilla. Unlike the other monsters, Ghidorah is unashamedly evil. He is a destroyer of worlds simply because he can be, and is widely considered to be Godzilla’s most famous foe. Probably his most powerful too.

But what of King Kong? It seems highly unlikely he will make an appearance here, barring a post-credits sequence as there was in Skull Island. It matters little however, because Godzilla vs Kong is expected around a year later in 2020, so fans of the great ape won’t be waiting too much longer to see him again. For now, we will have to wait until May next year for King of the Monsters to come roaring into cinemas.




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