As promised, the first trailer for Godzilla vs. Kong hit yesterday ahead of its March 26 release. And while there is plenty to discuss in terms of reveals and plot business, the name of the game for this first trailer is simply fun. Whether this ends up representing the actual film remains to be seen, but this first trailer definitely goes out of its way to establish a tone. The 2014 Godzilla’s trailer went with mystery. Godzilla: King of the Monsters’ first trailer went for grandiosity. This one is all about the wrestling match. And that’s as it should be. It’s what we come to a film called Godzilla vs. Kong for, after all.

Let’s take a closer look.

We’re starting things off with a literal bang as a blast rains boulders down upon an unsuspecting city. It’s unclear which city this is (sharp-eyed geography nerds, feel free to sound off in the comments), but it does not appear to be in America.

While this may seem like an arbitrary big-bang trailer opening, there is something important to glean here. Possibly the biggest reveal of the entire trailer, actually. If you look closely at the shot of humans running away from all these explosions, there is a barely-visible figure towering above them. It’s not Godzilla and it’s definitely not Kong. That, ladies and gentlemen, is almost certainly Mechagodzilla.

Things jump ahead now to a bunch of ships carrying some very important cargo: Kong himself. Is this how his introduction happens in the film as well? Or will we see his actual capture? Honestly, jumping directly to an already-apprehended Kong isn’t the worst idea in the world, but as we’ll see later in the trailer, that’s not likely how it happens here.

It’s nice to see that the plan is not for Kong to just sleep the whole trip. Though chained up, he’s allowed to sit up and hang out a bit, which indicates a possible lack of rage at being captured. That could have something to do with the ship’s other cargo.

So in this film, Kong has a little girl he needs to protect. It appears she comes from Skull Island, which apparently answers the above question regarding whether or not we’ll see Kong’s capture. This little girl has a bond with both Kong and human ally Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall), all of whom we can assume were picked up by the heroic/villainous Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgård), who needs Kong to protect humanity against “what’s coming.”

As if on cue…

Here comes Godzilla. And to protect his young friend…

The fight is on!

The above bit of monster-on-monster action is like a dream come true for kaiju fans.

With that action setpiece thoroughly teased, it’s time to get back into the primary plot of Godzilla vs. Kong. Namely, with two films establishing Godzilla as a benevolent monster, why would he suddenly attack a bunch of ships? Someone seems to be manipulating him. Perhaps that someone is Walter Simmons (Demián Bichir). Or maybe it is this guy…

It is uncertain who either of these characters are yet, but the person pictured here is definitely standing in front of a readout that further indicates this film’s use of Mechagodzilla. And judging from the opening shots, this film’s Mechagodzilla does not seem like a hero.

This leads us to reintroductions for Godzilla: King of the Monsters characters, starting with Kyle Chandler’s Mark Russell, still annoyingly running around yelling about Godzilla. It looks like he might actually be right this time.

On her own Godzilla adventure, we also have a returning Millie Bobby Brown, this time joined by Julian Dennison and Bryan Tyree Henry to figure out who is behind this meaner, more violent Godzilla wreaking havoc all over.

Speaking of mean Godzilla havoc, here’s a good shot of some. This film really is not holding back on his atomic breath move.

The trailer continues with a greater focus Kong, telling us of a great kaiju war in the past, and that only Godzilla and Kong survived. A lot of out-of-context imagery accompanies this idea – Kong picking up an axe, Kong killing animals on Skull Island, Kong placing his hand on a bloody handprint – but none of it illuminates the dialog we hear. What was this war? Were the MUTOs, Mothra, Rodan, Ghidorah or any the other kaiju we saw in King of the Monsters part of it? Have Kong and Godzilla faced off before?

For those questioning how lil Kong is now big enough to take on Godzilla at all, the answer appears to be simpler than expected: the Kong we saw in Kong: Skull Island was not yet fully grown. There you go.

The trailer definitely makes it seem like the film climaxes with a big brawl in a neon-lit city. Given the absence of Mechagodzilla in these shots, it is also possible this is just a trailer-rich fight closer to the film’s middle, with a much bigger fight remaining secret at this time.

It could be this daytime fight, for instance.

The two fighters are not completely alone in the city fight, though. This shot features some kind of winged bat things bugging Kong. The bright colors beneath him indicate this is part of that sequence, but what are these little guys even doing there at all?

It’s easy to lose track of the human toll all this fighting takes. And hey, there doesn’t need to be a big focus on the humans anyway. Nevertheless, this battle-worn shot of Alexander Skarsgård does indicate some bad things in store for his character.

But let’s be honest. The above trio of images is what we all are coming to this movie for and it looks like Godzilla vs. Kong is going to deliver it in great abundance. Just going off what we see here, we have a ship fight, a smoky daylight fight, and a city fight. On top of that we have Kong kicking ass on Skull Island and a bunch of still-unseen action featuring Mechagodzilla. That’s a good number of action set pieces for a film like this. Hopefully Godzilla vs. Kong delivers on the promise of this fun trailer. If nothing else, we now have a film where King Kong fights Godzilla with an axe. It’s hard to imagine anything cooler than that.


Godzilla vs. Kong hits theaters and HBO Max on March 26, 2021.

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