In 2014, the path to the inevitable Apex-Titan battle between ‘Zilla and the King officially began with the Bryan Cranston-led (more like side-starring?) drama titled, Godzilla, which also brought the best film trailer I have ever seen.
However, my version of this story starts years earlier, around 2002 when I was 7-years-old. Having watched the original King Kong on VHS from my dad’s personal collection, he then showed me, King Kong vs Godzilla–the 1962 classic (released in ’63 as an English version) that boasts the first time the two titans appear on film in color and widescreen.
I was absolutely stunned–as a little, clueless, struggling boy–that someone was genius enough to create a showdown out of these two gargantuan greats, allowing their audience to sit back, eat popcorn, and forget about life for a sec. To be honest, I barely remember it. I couldn’t tell you the plot or anything that happened other than, there were punches thrown. Yet, I couldn’t ever shake the significant intrigue I experienced during that first watch–I couldn’t help but know, these two weren’t. done. fighting.
I knew in that simple, distant moment–confused and thrilled as hell–that there would come a day, later in my life, where this epic film would be remade with modern effects and it was going to be something I couldn’t miss.
In 2014, my belief rang true. Godzilla was released and the slow, intense, and uncertain excitement within me breathed new life. Except, there was an accompanying feeling that my 7-year-old, prophetic self never saw coming.
My father died of cancer in 2011, just after my 16th birthday. I always knew the battle would return, but never considered that the spark of my excitement, awareness, and knowledge of it all, wouldn’t be here to experience it with me. It just didn’t make sense. By 2014, I had come to understand that it would never make sense and that it was just an unfortunate reality that I would have to accept.
So, of course, I saw Godzilla in theaters. I went with a buddy from high school who I never saw another movie with again and who disappeared from my life entirely not long after.
Of course, I stayed through the end credits scene and, of course, I felt that buzzing excitement all over again–a little stronger and a little higher in my belly–rise back up in 2017 with the release of Kong: Skull Island. I believe Skull Island took all of the justified complaints about Godzilla and ensured the same mistakes weren’t made twice: We got to see the title character before the halfway point of the film, we didn’t kill off the main draw of the film’s human characters (Cranston still deserves better) in the first 30 minutes, and there was tons of action–fighting and FIRE.
By 2019 and the release of Godzilla: King of the Monsters, I had nerded out with a fellow educator at work and we caught the Austinite-starring film together.
Dramatic, but visually beautiful. Annoying, but grand. The third chapter set up the collab-finale with exactly what I was hoping would be the perfect blend of the previous three films: style, action, color, and scale.
After questioning whether humanity itself would make it out of 2020, let alone the finished product of the final chapter, Godzilla v. Kong finally premiered for the world to see just a few weeks ago.
This time–after nearly 20 years of anticipation, three prequel movies, two broken friendships, one lost hero, and my metamorphosis from a lost, little boy to a confident, self-aware man–I sat down and watched the culmination of it all with the love of my life (we met seven months after King of Monsters released) and our sweet, little pup.
Somehow, before the opening credits even began, it all made sense. At this moment, I recognized that it will always make sense, and it only gets brighter, better, and lovelier from here.
By the time Godzilla v. Kong was an experience of the past, I could feel so much love, soul, and pride from my father, from my younger self, and from my loved ones surrounding me. For the first time in my life, I felt like I was home.
Home in a whole, huge world that has never felt as such. I finally understood how intensely my company, my actions, and my thoughts truly shape the reality that I find myself in.
Oh, and, I was absolutely blown away and overjoyed by the spectacular film that Godzilla v. Kong turned out to be. The wait was well worth it in the end–for more reasons than I can ever express.
Take nothing for granted, and find love in it all.
As always, stay Strong!