Two beloved behemoths face off in first ‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ trailer

Even a pandemic can’t stop two gigantic icons from smacking each other around.

The fighters have been chosen, you just need to decide the screen: “Godzilla vs. Kong” arrives in theaters and streams on HBO Max March 26. The first trailer, released Sunday, teases – in appropriately epic style – the multiple throwdowns between two beloved movie monsters.

This pair of behemoths have met before, notably in 1963’s “King Kong vs. Godzilla,” but never in such blockbuster fashion and with modern special effects. And as it turns out, this popcorn flick has a plot, too: In director Adam Wingard’s adventure, a shackled Kong is being transported across the sea to find his true home.

“We need Kong. The world needs him to stop what’s coming,” says geologist and Kong pal Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgard). The only person the big guy (last seen in 2017’s “Kong: Skull Island”) will communicate with is a young orphaned girl named Jia (Kaylee Hottle): They’ve formed a close bond, shown in the trailer with kid and beast gently touching fingers.

‘Godzilla vs. Kong’: How ‘King of the Monsters’ set up the epic matchup

Streaming preview: 10 must-see movies in 2021, from ‘One Night in Miami’ to ‘Coming 2 America’

Two iconic monsters fight on a battleship in "Godzilla vs. Kong."
Two iconic monsters fight on a battleship in “Godzilla vs. Kong.”

Things go sideways quickly. Godzilla is swimming through the ocean and explosively slices a ship in half, fighter jets scramble to fire missiles at the mighty dorsal plates on Godzilla’s back, and his giant tail knocks them out of the sky. Kong roars toward the underwater depths, and Godzilla arises to start wrecking everything, climbing aboard the ship and squaring off with Kong before the King rocks him with a haymaker – all to the tune of Chris Classic’s hip-hop anthem “Here We Go.” Godzilla falls into the drink, but fires his atomic breath up at the ship, leaving Kong to jump for his life (not unlike Bruce Willis hopping from a fiery building in “Die Hard”).

Why’s Godzilla on a global destruction tour? That’s a mystery to two characters from 2019’s “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” scientist Mark Russell (Kyle Chandler) and his daughter Madison (Millie Bobby Brown), who believes her reptilian pal is being provoked by an unseen menace.

Young Jia (Kaylee Hottle) forms a bond with the huge King Kong in "Godzilla vs. Kong."
Young Jia (Kaylee Hottle) forms a bond with the huge King Kong in “Godzilla vs. Kong.”

The first footage from the upcoming movie also teases to the larger mythology involving Godzilla and Kong, who are seemingly the last monsters standing after an ancient war, and hey brawl in the streets of a neon metropolis, including one bit where Kong sloughs off Godzilla’s flame-throwing breath and comes down on his noggin with a huge primitive ax.

No telling who’ll win, but Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall), one of the very large gorilla’s crew, has a favorite: “Kong bows to no one.”

All the new Warner Bros. movies coming to HBO Max: From ‘Dune’ to ‘The Suicide Squad’

15 films we (hopefully!) will see in a movie theater in 2021: From ‘No Time to Die’ to ‘Top Gun 2’

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: ‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ first trailer: Beloved movie monsters face off