Mortal Kombat 2’s Johnny Cage vs. Cole Young Would Improve The First Film
A Cole Young vs. Johnny Cage fight in Mortal Kombat 2 is what the Mortal Kombat sequel needs to settle one of the first film’s biggest criticisms. Given that Mortal Kombat (2021) skipped Johnny Cage, opting to save the character for a sequel instead, Mortal Kombat 2 is expected to heavily focus on Cage – especially given that the first film ended with a Johnny Cage tease. However, now that the Mortal Kombat story has advanced without Cage, incorporating the iconic Mortal Kombat character into the sequel will not be easy.
Some of Johnny Cage’s best moments, both in the Mortal Kombat games and Mortal Kombat movie adaptations, happen when the Earthrealm champions are in the process of being put together, such as in the 1995 Mortal Kombat movie and Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge, for example. That is something Mortal Kombat 2 will not be able to replicate, as Mortal Kombat (2021) already told Mortal Kombat’s origin story without Johnny Cage. Partly due ot this, the decision to save Johnny Cage for the sequel was met with criticism, especially because the reboot followed an original character instead.
A Cole Young vs. Johnny Cage fight in Mortal Kombat 2 would be a meta one, as the first Mortal Kombat created the idea that Cole had replaced Cage in the story. Though Cole Young was never said to be a Johnny Cage replacement, the fact that Johnny Cage was not part of 2021’s Mortal Kombat reboot while an original character was created for the film made sparked almost a rivalry between Johnny Cage and Cole Young. In many ways, Cole Young did replace Johnny Cage’s role in Mortal Kombat, and it is now difficult to imagine how will Mortal Kombat 2 incorporate Johnny Cage.
With Cole Young serving as the more realistic Mortal Kombat character whose relatability helps the audience learn about the world of Mortal Kombat, Johnny Cage’s role in the sequel risks becoming redundant. Johnny Cage is usually the outsider who sees himself in a Mortal Kombat tournament without realizing how important he really is — a character trait that Mortal Kombat (2021) already allotted to Cole Young. Still, Mortal Kombat 2 cannot simply ignore the first movie by sidelining Cole Young in favor of Johnny Cage. That is why a Cole Young vs. Johnny Cage fight in Mortal Kombat 2 can help the sequel welcome both characters while ending the “replacement” debates.
Battles can settle rivalries in the Mortal Kombat universe, but Mortal Kombat 2 will still have to face the challenge of how to fit both Johnny Cage and Cole Young in the same story. Between the fighting style and the humorous remarks, Cole Young and Johnny Cage risk being too similar in the Mortal Kombat sequel, especially if Cage is also to be a “chosen one” in Raiden’s plans. Instead of sidelining this or that character, Mortal Kombat 2 should embrace both of them and highlight how different Cole Young and Johnny cage truly are. For example, Cole Young could be the one to recruit Johnny Cage.
In Mortal Kombat (2021), Cole Young was the one being recruited by a more experienced fighter: Jax. At the end of the film, Cole hints that he is going to Hollywood for someone, with the Johnny Cage movie poster serving as Mortal Kombat’s biggest sequel hook. Cole Young could be a mentor figure to Johnny Cage on some level; a rival to mirror the debates involving the characters, or friends. Essentially, there is nothing to say that Johnny Cage and Cole Young cannot be co-leads in Mortal Kombat 2, especially because Mortal Kombat films are usually ensemble films following the Earthrealm champions.
Not much is known about Mortal Kombat 2’s Johnny Cage, as Mortal Kombat (2021) only teased the character. What is known is that this version of Johnny Cage is an actor, like in the games, and that he may already have the Mark of the Dragon. Cole Young is looking for Johnny Cage, which means Cage must be special already. In the world of the Mortal Kombat reboot, that means having the Mark of the Dragon, although it cannot be said whether Johnny Cage has Arcana powers already. In the games, Cage usually has green energy powers, which come from his ancient family of warriors.
Arcana powers or not, Johnny Cage is likely not as trained as Cole Young as the latter has been fighting MMA for a living for years. Cage may have an impressive skill set resulting from his stunt performer training, yet Cole Young has the advantage when it comes to fighting. Cole also trained under Raiden in Mortal Kombat — not to mention that Cole’s Arcana powers have already been awakened. Last, Cole Young has defeated the massive fighter Goro, as well as Sub-Zero with the aid of Scorpion. Based on his fighting record alone, Cole Young would be the favorite against Johnny Cage — at least by the beginning of Mortal Kombat 2.
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