The MonsterVerse is a Hollywood franchise and shared fictional universe focusing on giant monsters duking it out, an impactful visual statement on how division wreaks inherently destructive and grotesque consequences and also an impactful visual statement on how cool it is when big monkey punch dinosaur.
Produced by Legendary Entertainment and co-produced and distributed by Warner Bros, the series most prominently features two of the most famous monsters in popular culture: Godzilla and King Kong, culminating in the recent release of Adam Wingard’s Godzilla vs Kong, pay-per-view knockout / Hollow Earth conspiracy propaganda. A fun, proudly stupid monster beat em’ up that knows exactly what it is trying to be, the film nevertheless prompted a lot of questions, including ‘is Eleven from Stranger Things in QAnon?’, ‘if Kong Kong can learn sign language, can Godzilla learn sign language?’ and ‘did they get the idea for this film’s climax from The Simpsons?’. One particular question grew and grew in this writer’s mind though, like an ancient sea monster awoken by nuclear radiation: Is Fungie the Dolphin a Titan?
To truly consider this, let’s first take a step back.
What is a Titan?
‘Titan’ is the term used in the MonsterVerse to refer to the series’ various monsters following the decision to establish a shared universe after the 2014 release of Godzilla, in which the monsters were instead called MUTOs (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms), a much more boring name with less branding potential.
In the films of the Japanese studio Toho, they are more typically referred to as kaijiu, meaning ‘strange beast’, an actual thing you might call such a creature in real life if you were fleeing from it in terror and not drafting copy for a Warner Bros press release.
Although Titans come in many forms, they are shown to sustain themselves on radiation and emit a form of radiation in turn that has restorative effects on ecosystems. Titans are said to have thrived in the planet’s ancient past before retreating underground, entering a state of dormancy until studio’s have best identified which of their IP has the best shared universe prospects. Many Titans respond to an ‘alpha,’ a Titan which has cemented itself as the strongest of the creatures, typically by defeating the previous alpha, an ethological phenomenon that has been debunked for decades in normal-sized animals. Maybe Godzilla is just a jerk lads. Regardless, the films have also established that Titans and humans have coexisted in the past, with the Titans worshiped as gods and serving as inspiration for many mythological creatures. Which brings us to…
Who is Fungie?
‘Fungie’ was a bottlenose dolphin and most famous non-GAA playing Kerry celebrity who had until recently resided in the Dingle Bay area since 1983. After becoming separated from other wild dolphins, Fungie, a playful and social swimmer endeared himself to the locals and became a cornerstone of local tourism. For decades, tourists have come from all over the world to swim and frolic with a sea mammal who was as friendly as he was ordinary.
Or so they would have you believe. When you examine the evidence however, a very different, much more alarming picture emerges.
EVIDENCE PART ONE: FUNGIE OLD
One notable feature of Titans is that they have a much longer timespan than non-Titan lifeforms. The three-headed space dragon King Ghidorah is between 5000 and 10,000 years old. Fungie the dolphin was, on his last sighted appearance, similarly ancient, being at least 40 when declared the world’s oldest living solitary dolphin in 2019, far exceeding the bottlenose dolphin’s average lifespan of 8 – 17. Did Fungie embark on a genocidal rampage through Ancient Venus like Ghidorah, only to mellow out and settle in Dingle in the midst of a mid-life crisis? We can’t know for sure. But we do know this:
EVIDENCE PART TWO: FUNGIE BIG
Kaiju, Titans, ‘Big Monke’, call them what you will, these beasts are distinguished for their unnaturally large size. At 104 feet tall, King Kong is over 17 times larger than the average gorilla. Fungie, likewise, is abnormally big for a dolphin, reportedly clocking in at 13 feet in length and weighs around 250kgs, while the bottlenose dolphin typically maxes out at 12.8 feet and 200kg. This massive size difference perhaps suggests supernatural, even Titanic, about the Dingle Dolphin. But the proof doesn’t stop there.
EVIDENCE PART THREE: FUNGIE KING
As the aforementioned Alpha of the Titans, Godzilla is the King of the Monsters, other Titans bowing to his majesty after he bests them in combat. The native, culturally insensitive human residents of Skull Island have always worshipped King Kong like royalty, and also his first name is King.
Consider this. Fungie lives in The Kingdom. The facts just keep on coming.
EVIDENCE PART FOUR: FUNGIE, SPORTS & LEISURE ENTHUSIAST
The extraordinary body mass and extreme pressure placed on the joints, muscles and organs by the sheer effort of staying alive means that staying fit and active is an essential part of any Titan’s health regime. A true Titan keeps up their exercise even when hundreds, maybe thousands of years old, which is my next source of evidence for our fungal friend, and my next source of shame for not going for a run this morning.
Godzilla famously is a basketball enthusiast, seen here shooting hoops with NBA legend Charles Barkley:
While Kong, a gentler personality, favours the athletic pursuit of ice skating:
We know that Fungie swam with visitors for years before his disappearance in 2020. “But Luke” I hear you say, “all dolphins swim, that is one of only about seven things that a dolphin can do!” Sure. But can a non-Titan play golf?
Just minutes from Dingle Town lies Dingle Pitch and Putt and Fungie’s Crazy Golf.
Can you catch a glimpse of the Titanic dolphin playing a round of family-friendly golf in the Youtube clip below? No. But the use of the possessive speaks for itself, the people of Dingle attempting to calm their Kerrygold kaiju by providing a chance to “test your skill” (stay in ring-shape in the event of a Godzilla attack), have “fun for all ages” (even thousands of years old?) and “negotiate those obstacles”. Could these tiny lighthouses and windmills be training for city-wide destruction to come? The Dingle Golf Centre have declined to respond to my emails on the subject. In Godzilla vs Kong, it is shown that Kong is able to compete with the legendary atomic breath of his scaly sparring partner with a giant magic radioactive axe or something. A magic radioactive golf putter may well be Fungie’s weapon of choice in the battle for big monster supremacy.
Fungie’s disappearance in 2020 prompted a lot of confusion, dismay and speculation. Why would he abandon us in such a dark hour? The possible answers are that a) Fungie was a regular dolphin and died of old age which, obviously, the above facts have capably disproven b) Fungie is a coward, and therefore unworthy of our love nor mourning or c) Fungie is a Titan, biding his time in the Hollow Earth until an inevitable clash with his Titan brethren. The MonsterVerse shows us that Titans can be protectors, benevolent forces of nature safeguarding their native isles from threats, like Godzilla, Kong or Mothra. Or they can be destroyers, like Ghidorah, Rodan or those two lame ones from Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla. Let us hope that Fungie is merely laying in wait, Ireland’s protector, putting on mass in the wake of Godzilla vs Kong’s pandemic-relative financial success in case of a potential three-way dance sequel. Let us pray that this incredible, unstoppable Titan of terror is not a destroyer. And if he is? May God have mercy on our souls.