Updated: Aug 14, 2021
If you have not watched the movie or read the book I seriously recommend doing so before reading this article.
In Godzilla (2014) and Godzilla: King of the Monsters, we followed a character played by Ken Watanbe that was called by Dr. Ishiro Serizawa. If you remember in those two movies, Dr. Serizawa had a fascination for and dedicated his life to studying Godzilla. He even sacrificed his own life to save Godzilla's life in the last movie proclaiming him to be a hero. In Godzilla vs Kong, we were suddenly introduced to Dr. Serizawa's son, Ren. In the movie, we didn't get a chance to know who Ren was. We knew he had the Serizawa name and was an engineer for Apex, but that was about it. Even though we learned hardly anything about him in the movie, the novelization goes into greater detail about who Ren is and his true fate.
The first thing we learn about Ren in the novel is that he always looked up to his father to win over his approval. Yet, Dr. Serizawa was very much a workaholic. He was never really there for his family and this neglect runs in the family.
When Dr. Serizawa was just a child, his father, Eiji, was the same way. Eiji Serizawa originally worked for a cargo ship until an SOS was received. Ever since Eiji received that SOS and learned that monsters existed, he was working for Monarch. When Dr. Serizawa grew up, he and his father at least had a chance to reconcile and Dr. Serizawa got to learn about his father working for Monarch and the existence of Godzilla. Ren, on the other hand, never had that chance for him and Dr. Serizawa to have that same reconciliation. He felt he was robbed by Godzilla when his father sacrificed himself. So ever since then, Ren has had these feelings of resentment towards both his father and Godzilla.
Even though Ren assisted Walter Simmons, the CEO of Apex, Ren saw Walter being inferior to him. Without Ren, MechaGodzilla would not have been possible. All Walter does is gloat about how he is the genius of Apex's operation. He knew to keep quiet about his feelings, but Ren truly hated the man. He thought he only needed Walter until MechaGodzilla was fully operational and dispose of him afterwards.
What is sad was Ren's death scene. In the movie, you just see him die by electrocution once MechaGodzilla was powered up by the energy of the Hollow Earth. In the novelization, Ren's death was much worse than that. His entire consciousness was erased and his body was taken over by Ghidorah's soul/consciousness. How MechaGodzilla was piloted was by using Ghidorah's skull and tapping into Ghidorah's telepathic abilities to pilot the robot without being inside the robot. But due to the energy from the Hollow Earth, it sort of brought Ghidorah back to life and take hold of both MechaGodzilla and Ren's body. When Madison went to search for Ren assuming he was still piloting MechaGodzilla she discovers that not only has Ren disappeared, but Ghidorah's skull was destroyed by unknown cause.
Dr. Serizawa warned back in Godzilla (2014) about man's arrogance in controlling nature and a warning that that every fan is fond of.
"The arrogance of man is thinking nature is in our control and not the other way around."
Of course this leads to him saying, "Let them fight," since that whole quote was referring to letting Godzilla fight the MUTOs and we must stay out of the way. But this quote applies to every movie in the Monsterverse series and we saw the consequence each time when someone interferes or messes with nature. Ren's death can be applied here as the consequence of taking that Hollow Earth energy and applying it to MechaGodzilla.
We can't say that Apex wasn't warned though. Ren even had doubts about this energy as soon as he read the data. He tried to warn Walter Simmons, the CEO of Apex, about using this energy without more testing and yet, Walter didn't care. Godzilla was weak at that point and only cared about finishing him off. Walter got arrogant and egotistical proclaiming that he can bring the human race back to being the Apex predator. So instead of listening to Ren's warning, he snapped at Ren ordering him to get in the chair and activate MechaGodzilla, which led to his death.
What would happen if Ren Serizawa did get that reconciliation with his father? Would he have redeemed himself and joined Monarch? To me, I think Ren would get some sort of redemption, but still have no interest in joining Monarch.
Even though Ren had dreamed of reconciling and reconnecting with his father again, it would not be the kind of reconciliation that he would have dreamed of. After being neglected for so many years to chase Godzilla around, Dr. Serizawa owed his son more than just an explanation. Ren knew that his father worked for Monarch. When Eiji told Ishiro about his life working for Monarch, Monarch was still a secret organization and Ishiro joined Monarch after his father passed. By the time Dr. Serizawa would have told Ren, Monarch was no longer a secret organization and Ren knows that his father's job was really demanding of his presence. So for Dr. Serizawa to tell Ren about his time working with Monarch it would be too late. His stories would not be enough for Ren and Dr. Serizawa to reconcile. Perhaps the stories would be sort of interesting to Ren, but he looked up to his father trying to earn his approval for years only to be let down every step of the way. His resentment towards his father and Godzilla would still be there.
However, I could see Mark Russell sitting down with Ren and chatting together about his experience working with Dr. Serizawa. While Ren may not want to hear about his father, Mark would try to reach out to Ren about how Dr. Serizawa didn't see him as a disappointment or has always talked about his son when he wasn't talking about Godzilla. Mark would even try to explain how his job is just as demanding even though he wants nothing more than to be with his daughter Madison as a way to relate to Ren's relationship with his father. To complete Ren's redemption, Mark would pull out Dr. Serizawa's journal and handed it to him. With a story like this, it would have helped Ren redeem himself knowing that he did make an impact on his father and that he wasn't as neglected as he thought. Ren would find peace with his father and no longer resenting him. He may still dislike Godzilla, but he would understand that Godzilla is a part of his father's legacy and would want to preserve that legacy rather than destroying it as he originally planned.
And as Dr. Serizawa once said, "Sometimes the only way to heal our wounds is to make peace with the demons who created them."
What are your thoughts on Ren Serizawa? Do you think he should have been given a chance to redeem himself or do you think his death was deserved? Let me know in the comments section of your thoughts on Ren Serizawa. Make sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Minds, MeWe, Gab, and Parler to stay up to date for more news, reviews, and discussions.