Image Source: Everett Collection
It's been 59 years since Godzilla and Kong last came to blows in 1962's King Kong vs. Godzilla, and now they're back and bigger than ever for 2021's Godzilla vs. Kong. Unlike the first film, where Godzilla is viewed as the villain of the story, both Titans are still viewed as "good" from their respective solo films: Kong: Skull Island and Godzilla: King of the Monsters, specifically. So, exactly why are the pair fighting in the new film and who is ultimately victorious?
If you were hoping they were fighting because of a need to protect or destroy mankind, you're thinking too hard. Both Kong and Godzilla view themselves as the Alpha when it comes to the Titans, aka Rodan, Mothra, Behemoth, and more. The pair's rivalry has also been teased in prior films through cave paintings and allusions to an ancient Titan War, with both being the last remaining member of their respective species. "Storywise, the hope is that their motivations for fighting each other are sound, and not contrived," Godzilla vs. Kong screenwriter Michael Dougherty previously told Bloody Disgusting. "But when you have two extremely hyper-aggressive masculine territorial animals who both believe that they're the rightful rulers of an entire species, chances are they're going to do more than have afternoon tea."
Image Source: Everett Collection
Would Godzilla and Kong have sought each other out if not for the meddling of humans, specifically Millie Bobby Brown, Kyle Chandler, Rebecca Hall, Alexander Skarsgård, Brian Tyree Henry, Shun Oguri, Eiza González, Julian Dennison, and Demián Bichir? We're going to go with no, as each seemed pretty happy in their particular domains. Godzilla and Kong don't even become aware of each other until humans decide to transport Kong from a research facility to a new home within the Hollow Earth. The film sees Godzilla already irritated thanks to some shady sh*t going down with Apex Cybernetics, a new scientific organization looking to destroy the Titans for good.
In case you were wondering, the world is a little worse for wear since Godzilla became king of the monsters and Titans were allowed to roam the Earth. Apex Cybernetics uses King Ghidorah's skull and lingering consciousness to create Mechagodzilla in the hopes of being able to regain control of the Earth. While the world doesn't know what Apex is up to, Godzilla senses something is wrong and attacks their facilities. However, he doesn't come face to face with Mechagodzilla until later.
Godzilla and Kong fight twice, once while Kong is being transported to the Hollow Earth and yet again when Godzilla discovers he's made it. Each time Godzilla is ultimately the victor, despite Kong gaining a giant ax made of plates from another of Godzilla's species. The ax at least allows it to be a fairer fight since it can absorb Godzilla's atomic energy. Humans intervene both times to help save Kong, playing "dead" so that Godzilla will allow Kong to rest after almost drowning him the first round and restarting his heart the second. This is when things get complicated, as Mechagodzilla enters the picture. Boosted by power from the Hollow Earth and sentient — after killing those who created and controlled it at Apex — Mechagodzilla gains the upper hand against Godzilla. Just as things begin to look bleak, Kong comes to the rescue and the pair take down Mechagodzilla together.
Once their mutual foe is defeated, it seems like Godzilla and Kong are set to battle one more time. Instead, Godzilla returns to the ocean and Kong is able to live his life in the Hollow Earth. While the pair end the film with a mutual respect for one another, who's to say that they won't meet again.