Ending Explained is a recurring series in which we explore the finales, secrets, and themes of interesting movies and shows, both new and old. This time, we throw ourselves into the ring with the Godzilla vs Kong ending and consider which Titan came out on top…or, better yet, on the bottom.
We never expect our Vs. movies to conclude with a definitive answer regarding a superior champion. Whether it’s Batman v Superman or Freddy vs. Jason, the filmmakers dare not ruffle the fanbase’s feathers. Godzilla vs. Kong toes that philosophical/economic line somewhat, but it’s also clear that the big gorilla secures the most screentime, is given the final killer blow against the movie’s ultimate baddie, and he’s crowned the Hollow Earth king in the film’s last shot. If this is the final match between Godzilla and Kong, you gotta give it to Kong, even if Godzilla probably won via a technical decision.
Hong Kong becomes the stage for the climactic brawl. The two titans smash through the city, transforming neon-drenched skyscrapers and the people inside them into dust. Godzilla trounces Kong in the first round, but the 8th Wonder of the World comes back strong in round two thanks to the enormous battle ax he acquired inside the Hollow Earth (more on that in a moment). The beating forces Godzilla to reevaluate his strategy and bring all his might against Kong in round three.
When Mechagodzilla explodes from the Apex Cybernetics laboratory to bring the pain to Godzilla, Kong is lying on the city floor, drifting away to meet his maker. What few structures remain in Hong Kong are obliterated as Mechagodzilla and Godzilla hurl themselves from one end to the other. Alexander Skarsgård‘s Nathan Lind comes to the rescue, hotwiring an Apex HEAVE hover ship into a makeshift defibrillator, firing it off on Kong’s heart. The ape roars to life and tags in for the final fight.
Kong subsequently thrashes Mechagodzilla. Sure, Godzilla softened him up a little, but as the atomic lizard sits crumbled, catching his breath, Kong yanks Mechagodzilla’s head from his shoulders. It’s an “oh damn” moment, but Godzilla doesn’t seem too bothered by Kong claiming that victory. The two share a knowing look between each other and go their separate ways.
With Mechagodzilla scrapped, Nathan Lind and Rebecca Hall‘s Ilene Andrews escort Kong back into the Hollow Earth. This land-of-the-lost concept is an old one, but it was first introduced in this franchise during Kong: Skull Island. As explained in that film, throughout our planet are a series of hollow caverns that connect one side of the globe to the other. In certain sections, these tunnels expand into massive dugouts featuring their own atmosphere and wildlife. Skull Island represents a portal to this network, explaining why so many weird creatures roam its surface.
In Godzilla vs. Kong, to construct their Mechagodzilla, Apex Cybernetics need a tremendous amount of power. They siphon this power from an energy source deep within the Hollow Earth, locating it through Kong’s genetic memory. After Mechagodzilla is destroyed and Kong and Godzilla’s frenemy status is firmly established, Lind and Andrews return Kong to the jungle environment underneath.
Hollow Earth mythology has been around for ages, for nearly as long as the first human campfire stories. Beyond the Christian Hell, the Greek Underworld, and other religious realms relegating the damned, the domain beneath our feet has inspired countless storytellers. Maybe most famously, Jules Verne imagined a Hollow Earth with two binary stars nourishing life in Journey to the Center of the Earth. In the early 1900s, Edgar Rice Burroughs set several novels below us, starting with At the Earth‘s Core. These hidden land tales frequently featured rampaging dinosaurs and belligerent neanderthals.
So, you know, the perfect home for King Kong. As Andrews explains in Godzilla vs. Kong, Godzilla and Kong’s ancestors ruled Hollow Earth. Their family’s war was an ancient one, and as the last remaining Titans (what about Rodan and Mothra, though? They’re conspicuously absent this go-round), their beef is coded into their DNA. In the film, we see a crumbling wasteland where Warbats fight for scraps, and Kong’s clan is merely a memory.
Through sign language, the young Jia (Kaylee Hottle) communicates with Kong. Promising that he might meet some family, she convinced her friend to act as a tour guide for Lind and Apex Cybernetics. All Kong finds in Earth’s basement are bones, a battle-ax that doubles as the energy source’s key and a ginormous throne just waiting for his butt.
Who furnished the Kong family living room? No idea. Maybe ancient worshipers, or maybe Kong’s kin were more industrious than scientists would give them credit. If Kong’s ancestors did have the know-how to construct a Hollow Earth palace, then you can understand why Apex Cybernetics’ head cheese Walter Simmons (Demián Bichir) risked building Mechagodzilla using one of King Ghidorah’s severed heads.
Humanity spread like a virus across the globe, but as long as one stomp-happy Titan is stumbling around, then we will always quiver to their awesome, terrifying majesty. Our survival rests in Jia’s ability to keep Kong and company sedate, joyful even. As we see in Godzilla vs. Kong‘s last shot, Kong prances through the Hollow Earth. Compared to the Skull Island containment base where we found him, Kong is free to roam grand vistas. It’s paradise.
At this time, there are no plans for this MonsterVerse’s continuation. Godzilla: King of the Monsters greatly underperformed at the box office, pulling in $386 million on a reported $177 million budget. Nothing to sneeze at, but when compared to Kong: Skull Island and the 2014 Godzilla relaunch, both of which yanked over $500 million worldwide, Godzilla’s second outing left studio execs crestfallen.
Godzilla vs. Kong‘s pandemic box office will not reign supreme. If Warner Bros. determines it as a mighty subscription boost for HBO Max, then we could see the MonsterVerse screenwriting armada assemble. After all, that was enough to keep Wonder Woman‘s franchise afloat once Wonder Woman 1984 dropped in December.
We have ideas for a sequel, but if Hollywood insists that Godzilla vs. Kong be their ending, then — well, it’s a Hollywood Ending! Godzilla and Kong found their peace. They depart, holding mutual respect for the other’s talent for thrashing. Godzilla surfs the seas, keeping an eye on the troubles above, while Kong commands the kingdom below. They’re happy; we’re happy.
Does the Godzilla vs. Kong ending confirm which Titan is the one perfect monster? No, they both rock, and they both get their realms to rule. Godzilla lets Kong take the head from Mechagodzilla, but Godzilla got all three Ghidorah heads in the last movie. So, they’re even.