Godzilla’s raw power has always been a major issue for Mechagodzilla, but a change to his design has fixed that problem for the MonsterVerse.
In updating his design, Godzilla vs. Kong fixed a long-standing issue with Mechagodzilla as a character and villain. Ever since his debut in 1974, Mechagodzilla has struggled against Godzilla’s physical might, which is traditionally superior to his own.
Prior to Legendary’s MonsterVerse, Mechagodzilla fought Godzilla on the big screen a total of five times. Equipped with a lethal assortment of lasers and missiles, the giant robot always puts up a good fight against Godzilla, and even came close to killing him the 1990s film, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II. However, Godzilla usually finds a way to prevail over his robotic counterpart. That wasn’t the case in Godzilla vs. Kong, though, as this time it was ultimately Kong who had to destroy him. Godzilla, who was overwhelmed by Mechagodzilla’s impressive power and physical capabilities, was relegated to a backseat role at the end of the fight, where he used his atomic breath to charge up Kong’s axe for the finishing blows.
Mechagodzilla handling Godzilla better than he has in the past can be largely attributed to his practical new design. One of the biggest differences between Mechagodzilla’s MonsterVerse look and the versions of him that appeared in Toho’s movies is the size of his limbs. In Godzilla vs. Kong, Mechagodzilla benefited from a more agile build and much longer arms. Because of these changes, he was able to maneuver around quite well, and land some devastating, energy-charged punches on Godzilla. Not only was he strong, but he also moved at speeds that Godzilla had difficulty matching. It was for this reason that Godzilla took so many hard hits from Mechagodzilla.
This is in contrast to what happened in their previous fights. In Toho’s movies, Mechagodzilla’s design has been a major hindrance for the character, especially when it comes to close combat. The robotic kaiju’s best weapons against Godzilla are his ranged attacks, which is why narrowing the distance is usually the key to taking him down. A prime example of this is their first fight in 1974’s Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, which saw Gojira have a hard time getting past his missiles and the laser canon on his chest. But once he was able to get close to him, there wasn’t much Mechagodzilla could do about it. If he had better mobility, it’s likely that he would have defended himself more effectively.
The weakness that held Mechagodzilla back in Toho’s movies was non-existent in the MonsterVerse. Despite being the King of the Monsters, Godzilla couldn’t accomplish much at all against Mechagodzilla without help from Kong. This design change, combined with his opponent’s fatigue, explains why Godzilla was at such a disadvantage during their fight. And it didn’t help that Mechagodzilla was being controlled by Ghidorah, or that he was being powered by the same energy source that Godzilla himself thrives on. By making these changes to Mechagodzilla, Godzilla vs. Kong succeeded in portraying him as a foe worthy of being the focus of a team-up between the two strongest Titans in the MonsterVerse.