Movie Review – Godzilla: King of the MonstersJune 2, 2019
*SOME MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD*
After Godzilla came out in 2014, there were cries of frustration from many fans, stating not enough screen time for monsters. Fast forward to 2019 and with Godzilla: King of the Monsters it seems someone was indeed listening to what the fans had to say. A marvel of monster design and action, this entry made no bones about what it wanted to do right off the bat. That’s not to say it didn’t have its issues, certainly where the plot and human characters are concerned, but the monsters were nothing short of magnificent.
Directed and co-written by Michael Dougherty, the movie picks up the story right where we left off in 2014, re-introducing us to some familiar faces while new ones enter the story. While the humans in the film represent different ideas in terms of dealing with the monster problem, the top-secret project called the Monarch Initiative is still front and center, mixing that ever-present human condition of wanting to do the right thing yet somehow always failing to do so in the end.
Doctors Mark and Emma Russell (Kyle Chandler who is always angry, and Vera Farmiga) and their teenage daughter Madison (Millie Bobby Brown) are the family that is front and center, with Madison’s older brother passing away during Godzilla’s battler with the MUTO’s in the last film. The parents separate, with grief and differences on how to deal with the monsters being the main reasons. Dad wants them dead, Mom thinks they can be manipulated through a special sonar device she’s created…this does not make for happy times between the two. Throw in the resident monster specialists Dr. Vivienne Graham (Sally Hawkins), Dr. Ishiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) and Alan Jonah, a special force veteran turned echo-terrorist (played by Charles Dance) and the humans are ready to go.
Sadly, the paint-by-number storylines and ridiculous dialogue make for some truly eye-rolling moments between the human characters in the movie. It’s hard to fathom that in a movie that is about monsters, monsters, monsters, there is far too much time (and talking) taken to push numerous ridiculous ideas with dialogue that must have made the actors cringe. Speaking of storylines, releasing King Ghidorah to wreak havoc on everyone and everything, because humans are killing the planet so we might as well speed it along, and then think that you will be able to control it/him….good thinking. (Insert eye roll)
But those monsters…
Godzilla, King Ghidorah, Rodan, and Mothra get most of the camera time and they are worth every minute. The attention to detail is incredible, as is the amount of destruction and great fight scenes that erupt over and over again. There is some interesting back story for the audience to chew on as well, especially for a couple of the monsters, and making King Ghidorah out to be this gigantic planet killing evil entity worked well. The fight scenes are beautifully choreographed mayhem, seemingly out of control yet at the same time a very well thought out dances of destruction.
It would be remiss not to mention some beautifully filmed moments as well. Most of the big four monsters have a moment or two to really shine but Mothra may have had the best moments, both in combat and when we get our first glimpse of it during a scene in a waterfall. There are also some great fighter jet combat moments with the monsters, wonderfully shot and executed. The close-ups of all the monsters, especially the three-headed Ghidorah, showed just how much effort was put into every last detail of these creatures, something all fans of this genre will truly appreciate.
While the human dialogue was horrendous, and the need for all the characters to explain each and every situation nauseating at times, there is no escaping the fact the monsters delivered in every way, shape, and form, carrying the movie as they should on their large and impressive backs. Young and old fans of Godzilla and the monsters in this universe will love the spectacle laid out for them on screen, smile and nod in unison at the smallest details, and enjoy the massive destruction that these creatures leave in their wake.
Hail to the king? Hail to the monsters.
Four stars out of five