Face of a Franchise: City-Rockin’ Monster!

[face of a franchise presents two individuals that’ve fulfilled the same role. your task — choose the better of the two and defend your choice in the rancor pit that is the comments section]

Monsters kick ass.

Since the dawn of narrative itself, we have been absolutely obsessed with monsters. These grotesque aberrations of death and doom have served as metaphors, representations of the tests of will that the human spirit must endure. The talking snake in the garden paradise is actually the ever-present temptation to do wrong. The giant fire-breathing dragon is a warning against the dangers of hubris. The reanimated corpse-man is the reminder that, for better or worse, we will be remembered by our work.

Once again, monsters kick ass.

So when cinema came around, blessing us with the awe-inspiring combination of moving-pictures and sounds, it was only natural that monsters followed suit. This new medium enabled the monster-metaphors to be pushed even further, inducing more fear and provoking more thought than previously possible. The horrors were no longer confined to the breathy whispers of epic poems or the staid declarations of prose, but could now run as free as the imagination itself.

Unfettered, movies figured out the exact type of behemoth that horrifies, thrills, inspires, excites, and shocks more than any other. Ghosts and wolfmen and vampires and trolls might be scary, but they pale in comparison to the champion. `Cause at the end of the day, ain’t nothin’ better at conjuring up cold sweats and death-screams than this juggernaut:

The city-rockin’ monster.

In the nearly hundred years of cinema history we’ve accumulated, there’s been no scarcity of city-razin’ beasts. Truthfully, most of ’em turned out to be more sizzle than steak, and a select few terrified us beyond the capacity for rational thought. But two of these metropolitan menaces have stood the test of time, and as such now must battle for the title of most formidable city-rockin’ monster!

The combatants are, of course, Godzilla and King Kong.

Japan’s entry into this scrum is the nuclear-powered reptile-warrior known as Godzilla. Since 1954, this mutant-dino has been plaguing Tokyo with not only his sheer size but also his incredible array of powers, which include his radioactive breath, bludgeon-tail, and size-defying agility. On the one hand, you might be inclined to trust Godzilla because he occasionally defends the Land of the Rising Sun from alien threats. However, it usually doesn’t take too long for the prehistoric-throwback once known as Gojira to turn around and start rearranging the skyline once again.

On the other side of the globe, America sends into battle its beloved gargantuan-gorilla: King Kong. This mega-ape hails from Skull Island, a natural time-capsule that has preserved the exotic creatures that walked the earth before man. Kong’s having a good time, chillin’ out and being worshipped as a deity, and then his ass is carted back to America so that he can be made a spectacle of. Needless to say, the monkey goes mad and decides to kidnap a hot bitty and climb some of NYC’s tallest structures. In the process, the guy fucks shit up, endears himself to anyone with a heart, and goes out in a Cassidy/Sundance Kid blaze of glory.

So how about it? Who’s the best city-rockin’ monster of all time – Godzilla or King Kong? It’s a debate that’s been around as long as the characters themselves and has yet to be resolved. Hell, even the 1962 slugfest left the question somewhat unanswered.

If you have to watch your city be destroyed by a giant beast, who’d’ya want it to be?