Information released about Godzilla vs. Kong has already given us a number of surprises, and one of them is its unusually lean runtime of just under two hours. Fans have been questioning the reason behind it, but director Adam Wingard has provided an equally succinct answer.
While many viewers had assumed that the kaiju smackdown would clock in at around three hours, which would be comparable to other films of its nature, this simply won’t be the case for Godzilla vs. Kong and here’s Wingard’s reasoning as to why that is:
“A lot of the fans online were all asking me ‘Is this going to be a three-hour film?’ When it was announced that it was a little under two hours they immediately thought ‘When is the director’s cut coming out?’ I like movies under two hours. I think if you do a movie over two hours, you better have a damn good reason for it to be that long. At the end of the day, if you’re going to make this movie into three hours, you’re not going to get an extra hour of monsters fighting. You’re going to get an extra hour of people talking about monsters.”
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It’s easier for something on the scale of, say, Avengers: Endgame to be that long, since it has so many moving parts that the various aspects of its climactic sequence formed almost a third of the film’s entire content without dragging for a moment. In contrast, because the big draw of Godzilla vs. Kong is its titular one-on-one battle (followed by two-on-one when they team up against Mechagodzilla because there’s no chance that isn’t where the story will lead), there’s limited capacity for a protracted fight scene to remain varied enough to stay interesting.
As for the “director’s cut” comment, although many people consider the Snyder Cut a great improvement over the theatrical Justice League, it’s led to widespread misunderstanding among general audiences of how a film’s ultimate length is balanced against the volume of footage shot, with the reinstatement of any removed material not always improving the finished product.
One of the primary criticisms of Godzilla: King of the Monsters was its tedious focus on human characters, and if Wingard is adamant that the only way to add an extra hour to Godzilla vs. Kong is to repeat that mistake, he’s certainly made the right decision.