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Film / MonsterVerse

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"The arrogance of men is thinking nature is in our control and not the other way around."
Dr. Ishiro Serizawa, Godzilla

The MonsterVerse is an American media franchise and shared cinematic universe that is centered on a series of films featuring gigantic monsters, most prominently Godzilla and King Kong.

The movies are distributed by Warner Bros. and produced by Legendary Pictures in partnership with Toho, the Japanese studio that codified the genre and owns most of the well known Kaiju IPs. Currently, plans are for the series to encompass four films, which is as extensive as Legendary's initial contract with Toho lasts.

Interestingly, the franchise has given Toho enough confidence to throw their hat back into the ring with making a Shared Universe of monster movies after 2020 (naturally featuring people in rubber suits). Whether the two respective settings will coexist, or if the fourth film will serve as the franchise's Grand Finale, is presently unclear, as Legendary's license to make Godzilla movies is scheduled to expire on that same year.





  • Godzilla: Awakening
  • Skull Island: The Birth of Kong
  • Godzilla: Aftershock

Related franchises


  • Adaptational Heroism: While both of them have always had Tragic Monster traits, Godzilla and Kong are presented as almost completely heroic in this continuity. Kong is explicitly described as protecting the creatures and natives of Skull Island from the Skullcrawlers and only attacks the invaders when they threaten his home or attack him first; he even goes out of his way to help and protect the invading humans as they help him in return. Godzilla, for his part, never directly attacks humans at all, the damage he causes is merely an unavoidable effect of his battles and massive presence.
    • The Skull Island natives themselves are also heroic. While in the original film they practiced human sacrifice to ward off Kong, and in various other adaptions they're monstrously deformed, in Kong: Skull Island they are taciturn but peaceful and friendly to outsiders.
  • Adapted Out: Toho has to give Legendary explicit approval to use specific Kaiju for the series, meaning that the only monsters that are licensed out to the company are Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan, and Ghidorah. Presumably, this is the reason why Rodan is showing up before Anguirus. That being said, Toho is very supportive of the series, and it's likely that the approval process is based on determining what the movies need as opposed to there being real legal red tape preventing certain characters from being used.
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  • All There in the Manual: In the lead-up to the home release of Kong: Skull Island, social media pages for the movie have been releasing video timelines for the MonsterVerse. Notable events include the establishment of a Monarch research base at a Caribbean volcanic island in 1991 (presumably Rodan's roost), the discovery of Mothra's cocooned form within her temple in China in 2009, and finding Ghidorah frozen in Mysterious Antarctica in 2016.
  • Age Lift:
    • Godzilla has always been described as ancient, but in this continuity he survived the Permian Extinction, which happened 252 million years ago.
    • Judging by The Stinger of Kong: Skull Island, Mothra, Rodan, and Ghidorah are also a lot older than their Toho counterparts. The original movie involving Ghidorah mentioned that he was over 5,000 years old, but based on Godzilla's own Age Lift and the fact that the two have already fought at some point in ancient history, he's most likely significantly older here.
    • In the meantime, Kong is conversely much, much younger than the other versions of the character, which are described as being prehistoric in nature. While his species of ape has been around for that long in this continuity, Kong himself is only a teenager in The '70s and still growing.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: This universe's entire premise is that the world is filled with these, and while they've been mostly dormant, they're making a comeback.
  • Been There, Shaped History: Apparently, a giant winged kaiju (possibly Rodan) caused the Great Smog of London.
  • Behemoth Battle: The franchise's crux. The most anticipated battle will involve Godzilla and Kong duking it out in "a battle for the ages".
  • Benevolent Conspiracy: Monarch serves as an institution to make sure the monsters are kept in check, and are instrumental in helping the governments of the world prepare and deal with these threats accordingly. That being said, they do far more harm than good in Kong: Skull Island, to the point where none of their people would have died if they hadn't agreed to bomb the place to try and map it.
  • Canon Foreigner: A lot of monsters are created for the series, including the MUTOs and the Skullcrawlers.
  • Central Theme: Both Godzilla films share the theme of a fractured family getting caught in the middle of the kaiju chaos and trying to survive and reunite.
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: Both the MUTO and the Skullcrawlers are merely animals acting on instinct, but while the MUTO are portrayed as somewhat sympathetic Tragic Monsters the Skullcrawlers are played for full-on horror. And then they're followed by King Ghidorah, who is no mere instinctive beast, but a genuinely evil, sadistic and malicious creature.
  • Continuity Reboot: The franchise represents the third reboot of the King Kong film seriesnote  and the first American reboot of the Godzilla franchise following the 1998 movie.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: Earth is a hellish world in which humanity is surrounded by gigantic monsters that have existed long before everyone was even born, and they are basically powerless against them once they awaken and begin laying waste to the world. Unlike the aliens and gods in the Marvel Cinematic Universe or DC Extended Universe, the heroic monsters are rather indifferent towards humanity and can be every bit as destructive as the villainous monsters. However, that does not preclude the monster being friendly and benevolent, as evidenced by Mothra, and Godzilla organizing his fellow monster to help humanity repair Earth’s ecosystem.
  • Dead to Begin With: Adam, the Godzilla fossil that played host to the MUTOs; and Kong's parents, respectively.
  • Gentle Giant: Both Kong and Godzilla are relatively placid (or as much as their size allows them to be) unless they're attacked (although Godzilla doesn't fight back against humans when they attack him and only seeks to destroy the MUTOs).
  • Green Aesop: Humans are not the masters of the Earth, and we should live in harmony with the ecosystem rather than trying to rebuild the world to our needs, or we'll wake up the Earth's real rulers and they'll wreck our civilization.
  • Kaiju: The series is about gigantic monsters rampaging through human cities.
  • Masquerade: Upheld in Kong: Skull Island, since the island itself is hidden away and any information about what happened there is classified. Upheld for about half of Godzilla, at which point Godzilla and the two MUTO completely do away with it altogether.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Despite the much more realistic and grounded tone of the MonsterVerse, there are a number of elements that seem to toe the line between science and supernatural. For example:
  • Militaries Are Useless: The series follows the trend set up in the original movies of the military standing no chance against the Kaiju. Though its also deconstructed slightly, with it being indicated that the primary reason their so useless is because the things they're up against are so far beyond anything they've dealt with before.
  • One Myth to Explain Them All: It's suggested that Kaiju were responsible for the myths and tales around the world. Mothra inspired, of all things, angels.
  • Prehistoric Monster: Godzilla, the MUTOs, and many more existed well before the dawn of mankind.
  • Sealed Cast in a Multipack: Many kaiju are slumbering or trapped somewhere on Earth waiting to be awakened in some way. The MUTOs were in a sealed undergrown cavern until a mining organization Dug Too Deep and according to the Monarch Timeline, Mothra is dormant in a cocoon in a temple in China, Rodan is sleeping in a volcano, an unknown kaiju is dormant and contained in Siberia, Kong is keeping things under control on Skull Island, and Ghidorah is sealed away in the Antarctic ice. King Ghidorah awakens a large number of them and Mothra awakens to help Godzilla, but the end credits montage reveals many of them are still out there slumbering.
  • Serkis Folk: The giant monsters are animated through Motion Capture. The Trope Namer himself, Andy Serkis, assisted in the animation of Godzilla, albeit uncredited.
  • Shared Universe: One of several conceived in the wake of the Marvel Cinematic Universe achieving success with The Avengers (2012), and one of several owned by Warner Bros. (the others being the DC Extended Universe, the Wizarding World, the LEGO Movie series, and The Conjuring universe).
  • Single Specimen Species: Averted for the most part. Most of the important kaiju discussed early on were stated to be the last of their respective kinds, being relics from ancient prehistoric days when creaturs of that size were common, so it's generally assumed that this is true of the other kaiju as well. the possible exception is King Ghidora, who is stated to be an alien. Nothing else is elaborated on about him, though.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: So far the franchise seems to lean towards the cynical end of the scale, particularly when compared to the MCU and similar franchises. Humanity is surrounded by gigantic monsters that have existed long before everyone was even born, and they are basically powerless against them once they awaken and begin laying waste to the world, and though there are some monsters (Godzilla, Kong, etc.) willing to protect the humans, they can be just as destructive to everything around them as the ones causing said destruction. However, comparing it to its genre, it is surprisingly Idealistic. Godzilla himself is at his most heroic since the late Showa era, and as of King of the Monsters, the fallout from a worldwide rising of kaiju is... surprisingly positive. The environment is benefitted immensely, and humanity itself seems to be reaping rewards too - kaiju waste is even implied to work as a renewable resource!
  • Unluckily Lucky: The human characters and humanity as a whole seem to have this going for them in this universe. As while Godzilla and Kong do cause them a good amount of grief, they also end up taking out the threats that would have done so much worse.


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