Godzilla: King Of The Monsters is directed by Michael Dougherty and it is the sequel to the Godzilla remake that came out in 2014. 5 years after the events of that movie, Monarch is facing immense backlash from everyone and people are demanding that the “titans” be destroyed. However other people think otherwise and unleash hell once King Ghidorah, Mothra and Rodan are awakened. Now Godzilla must live up to his name as King and put them in their place. This movie stars Millie Bobby Brown, Vera Farmiga, Kyle Chandler and Ken Watanabe.
I’ve always liked Godzilla, I admire the long legacy the franchise has and I’ve always been interested in the movies, however I’ve never gotten around to watching them. With this movie coming out I did some homework and watched the original 1954 Godzilla and of course the 2014 movie. I like them both and I love their message. For those of you that don’t know, Godzilla represents Nature’s revenge after being damaged by massive nuclear activity. The 1954 movie explained this very well. The 2014 movie sort of drew attention to that. My point is that the idea behind Godzilla is that he is a reflection of how we treat nature and how we take it for granted unless it comes back to haunt us.
Godzilla: King Of The Monsters threw all of that out the window to make a heavily cliched monster movie with no logic whatsoever. This movie betrays the franchise to be more popular with mainstream audiences. You can definitely tell America had a lot to do with this. The movie tries to be a lot of things which a Godzilla movie isn’t, it tries to be quirky which is fine but none of the jokes land, it ignores the political aspect and the underlying though-provoking messages about nature. It almost doesn’t even feel like a Godzilla movie. I say almost because they were smart enough to include enough monsters to make this a Godzilla movie and on that aspect I am happy to say that they delivered.
The monsters in this movie are amazing, I loved every second of when the titans interacted. It was epic and visually captivating as the movie uses the unique qualities of the different titans to light up a shot or the entire scene. What they do with the monsters in this movie is amazing and if you are a Kaiju fan, you won’t be disappointed. I liked King Ghidora, a bit overpowered but still made for a lot of entertaining action between him and Godzilla. Speaking of, he is back and I again, I can happily say that he steals every scene he’s in. With a visually striking look and an attention-demanding roar, this overgrown lizard proves once again why he is the King of the Monsters. As for the other ones, I wish Mothra had more screen-time and I didn’t really care for Rodan.
That being said, this movie also consists of a cast of human characters which sadly are the worst part of the movie. The humans in this movie are irresponsible, extremely dumb and the decisions they make are truly mind-boggling. One of the main criticisms of the first movie (2014) was that the movie spent too much time with the human characters and less with the monsters. I actually liked and cared for the human characters in the first movie. However the human characters in this movie are so painfully cliched.
The performances are not to blame however, Millie Bobby Brown, Vera Farmiga and Kyle Chandler all do a good job, it’s just that their characters are very two-dimensional and cliched. I don’t even remember any of their names. Their dynamic is something we’ve seen a thousand times. Charles Dance doesn’t really anything to do other than being a surprise so the audience can think “oh cool, Tywin Lannister is in this movie!” Ken Watanabe and Sally Hawkins return briefly, very briefly. Ken Watanabe has more screen-time and has a cool moment with Godzilla himself but other than that, they don’t affect the movie that much.
Other than it’s characters, King of the Monsters‘ other major flaw is it’s story. The reason King Ghidorah, Mothra and Rodan get awakened is unfathomable. Another thing which bothered me was how this movie cared more for getting in references of the original movie than actually making sense. That being said they do a throwback to the original Godzilla theme from 1954 in the score for this movie and it was appreciated. One of the many things I liked in the previous Godzilla movie was how it showed the dark aftermath of these larger-than-life battles, people actually got hurt. In this movie it’s like a final battle from a Power Rangers episode, the city is their playground with apparently no humans in sight.
Even though this movie has some ridiculously major flaws, there are a couple of redeeming qualities. I mentioned how this movie understood the concept of these monsters. The visual effects are amazing, you actually believe these monsters are there, the movie does a great job of pulling you in this world and make you believe that a giant lizard is indeed fighting a three-headed dragon. The cinematography is some of the best I’ve seen this year. They use the monsters in such a great way, the colours of the background is heightened by their appearance of their grand power which is used a lot in this power. If you want to see the movie purely for these titans, you will not be disappointed.
Overall, Godzilla: King of the Monsters offers a more action-heavy story but at the cost of a good story and characters. While causal movie-goers will definitely get a kick from the epic action displayed, as a Godzilla movie it betrays the source material by making illogical decisions and ignoring the nature aspect. Even though this movie gets the monsters right and it looks visually stunning thanks to amazing use of colour and great cinematography, it fails to get the two most essential rules to making a good movie: a great story and characters.