4. AVP: Alien Vs. Predator
Right behind seeing Batman V. Superman, the pop culture battle I was dying to see leap from the comics page to the big screen was Alien Vs. Predator. Both A and P were the crown jewels in Fox’s ’80s Sci-Fi empire, and despite being created separately, they made SO much sense together. After teasing it for more than a decade, AVP finally happened in 2004. And if you were to limit the film to about 8 minutes of fight scenes, it would’ve been pretty fun. I mean, just look at this brawl!
Sure, that’s a glorified Godzilla fight, but that’s all I really wanted. Sadly though, this was a neutered sequel that blasphemously combined two R-rated films into one PG-13 schlockfest and has WAY too many uninteresting humans (including a Ripley wannabe) littering the scenery. By the end, the Alien Queen is reduced to a Jurassic Park T-Rex, and they can’t even say “ugly motherfucker” in full. Unbelievably, there was a sequel that was even worse. Just stick to the comics and video games here.
3. Scott Pilgrim Vs The World
Ok, this one is kind of cheating, because it doesn’t feature any crossovers or famous characters meeting for the first time. Still, when it comes to comic book adaptations with “vs” in the title, few are as good as Edgar Wright’s tribute to the mismash of punk music and video games that is Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. Very true to the source material, Michael Cera’s portrayal of a Canadian slacker getting his shit together is too fun to exclude.
Plus, it’s such an eccentric collection of references that it nearly counts as a crossover anyway. Scott Pilgrim is a wannabe Link chasing his Zelda, he fights ninjas, Bollywood dancers, and actors who’ve played Captain America and Superman. How much more could you ask for in this under-appreciated gem of a movie. Honestly, this’d be number one if it’d been Scott Pilgrim Vs. Shaun of the Dead or whatever, but then that would’ve ruined some of the fun, wouldn’t it?
2. Godzilla Vs. King Kong
Godzilla movies are usually built around a one-on-one battle, and the King of the Monsters has fought every giant from Mothra to Charles Barkley. For a kid discovering ‘Zilla’s films on VHS, each new one was another prize fight worth seeing, but Godzilla’s battles arguably peaked with his third film. Sure he’d have more entertaining and logically constructed fights later on, but no battle was as high-profile or profitable as his fight with the first ever movie monster, King Kong.
Kong hadn’t been seen in some time since his death at the end of his own film, and his resurrection (courtesy Toho) changed him quite a bit. Kong’s arrival to Japan basically doubled his size and granted electricity powers, evening the odds with ‘Zilla’s stature and atomic breath. The two battle on picturesque Mount Fuji, ultimately tumbling into the ocean together. Kong is the only one to surface, but if you think Godzilla can’t breath underwater, you don’t know Godzilla. After that standstill, the plan now is to reboot King Kong in the upcoming film Skull Island with a second battle in 2020 featuring the new Kong and Godzilla from its most recent American film. Think the outcome will be more conclusive next time?
1. Freddy Vs. Jason
I’m not saying this film should win Oscars, or that there aren’t better Freddy and Jason movies out there. But God damn, I can’t think of a versus film that fulfilled its promise better than Freddy Vs. Jason did. After starts and stops for 15 years, the Nightmare On Elm Street and Friday The 13th franchises came together for a bloody brawl of gore supremacy. And it was told with a real sense of what made the characters special – including the much needed R-rating.
There were skinny dippers, troubled teens, crazy dream sequences – all the stuff you expect from both Freddy and Jason. Honestly, even the bad actors playing the teens fit with both franchises’ histories. Robert Englund is at his best, playing Freddy like the filthy cartoon character we know him to be. The look on his face when he realizes he’s been pulled into the real world and that Jason is going to fuck him up is fantastic. The action plays out well too, which makes the hire of director Ronny Yu so smart – he put his kung fu film experience to good use, making the action and horror mix together for a satisfying main event. This is just about the best you can hope for a versus movie: stupid, campy fun.
Were there any other great versus films we missed? And don’t say the Japanese vampire action film Versus, OK? Anyway, tell us all about it in the comments!