'Godzilla' Sequel in Development, But Where Does the Story Go Now?
With an estimated worldwide haul of $193 at the box office in its first weekend, there's no doubt that Godzilla is the King of Monsters. The remake from director Gareth Edwards has clearly landed a big audience, and now Deadline reports it's enough for Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. to start developing a sequel. However, it hasn't been confirmed whether or not Edwards will return to direct the sequel. The move isn't surprising since nowadays sequels go into development before the predecessor even hits theaters, but it seems a little risky since it's not clear how big of drop the box office receipts will be next weekend.
There have been rave reviews about this new version of the giant lizard who first stomped on the big screen in 1954, and there's no doubt that Edwards has created the most realistic portrayal of the creature ever seen on the big screen. Godzilla is less of a monster terrorizing a city, and simply an animal living in a natural habitat that doesn't have much room for him to move around. The same can be said for the opposing monsters, as the creatures in the film are presented as merely trying to live by the laws of nature. It just so happens that there's a lot of people lower in the food chain who wouldn't be so lucky to see them procreate.
However, my concern with this realistic portrayal is that the sequels lose the appeal of this first film. Beware of spoilers from here on out if you haven't seen the film. At the end of the film, after defeating the two M.U.T.O. creatures, Godzilla returns to the ocean, and that's it. No hint of another monster, no tease for a sequel. That in itself is refreshing and makes it so that the film doesn't come off as a gimmick. But now that a sequel is in development, I'm left wondering where the series can go creatively to still pack a punch.
Humanity now knows that Godzilla exists, so his appearance, sheer size and accidental destruction isn't all that surprising anymore. While in this realistic world where Edwards has placed Godzilla, his presence would still have a large impact, seeing him come back to fight another monster for us just wouldn't have the same allure. That's why The Lost World needed two tyrannosaurus rexes to top the memorable and powerful presence of the one in Jurassic Park.
A somewhat interesting angle would be the creation of something like Mechagozilla to defend against him if the government gets worried he'll turn on us. But within the narrative Edwards has created, that seems a little ridiculous, and then we'd be watching Pacific Rim again. From my perspective, it's difficult to see what territory a sequel can tread without simply being a different version of what we already saw in Godzilla, just without an origin story and adding new human characters to react in fear.
At the very least, I have faith that Edwards knows what he's doing and has an idea that will keep things feeling fresh, especially with that young Steven Spielberg style he has. The filmmaker showed incredible restraint in directing this film and didn't turn it into another disaster like Roland Emmerich's 1998 version. But that also seems to have irked some general audiences who weren't all that interested in the human part of the story. In one of my screenings, people surrounding me were visually exasperated, throwing their hands into the air, when Godzilla would begin to fight for a little while before cutting to other human action. But it's a double edged sword, because that's also part of the appeal to critics who enjoyed the film. Anyway, the sequel is happening, and we're at least interested to see where it goes. Thoughts?