With a Rotten Tomatoes score less encouraging than Brightburn you might expect the worst from Godzilla: King of the Monsters. Fear not, it is a real crowd pleaser loaded with fan service.
Five years after Godzilla’s battle with the MUTOs that leveled San Francisco, Monarch, facing government hearings, continues its observation of monsters around the world. On their watch, Mothra wakes up before an armed militia storm the site. They kill a bunch of Monarch researchers and take one (Vera Farmiga) and her daughter (Milly Bobbie Brown) captive.
Halfway around the world, the husband and father of the hostages (Kyle Chandler), a Monarch employee, is pulled into the hunt for Godzilla by Dr. Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) and his people.
Meanwhile, the malevolent interlopers in Mothra’s refuge are in search of a top-secret apex predator (you already know who/what that is).
Circumstances are no less than Armageddon and the world crafted by Michael Dougherty and Warner Bros. feels dense and lived in the way Avengers: Endgame does, except Gojira’s shared universe wasn’t given as much time, or as many films to grow. That said, there are some flaws.
Save the Whales, Save those Snails
Ghidorah fills the void in the latter half but the real villains of the piece who get the ball rolling are eco-terrorists. A guy named Alan Jonah (Charles Dance) is set up as the ringleader who wants to awaken the Titans and return the Earth to them, but it turns out to be someone else — a character you were supposed to root for, at first.
I don’t know what the intent is by the filmmakers. Either it’s a warning against environmental extremism or they want to be ecologically conscious and can’t be sober about it.
To me, the message came across as “enviro-types are hypocritical wack jobs who hate humans and will kill us all.” That should meet with a laugh but all the “human infection” babble was very exasperating to sit through.
The Human Stain
Upon viewing, complaints about the human cast being one-dimensional ring hollow. The people on the ground aren’t so underdeveloped. They serve their purpose and some managed witty dialogue. Against apocalyptic and Godlike creatures, isn’t the fact they come across as expendable merely logical?
You can disagree but what we get is better than a cast full of Simpsons actors.
There are so many blatant callbacks and treats for devoted Godzilla fans that it is made so obvious this film is for them. A MacGuffin weapon has a familiar name (I popped at tremendously). Ghidorah’s code name and origin draw from the his past, as does an injury he incurs in battle. Dougherty did his homework.
If you go for anything but the monsters you are kidding yourself. Godzilla King of the Monsters is about Toho’s creations and everything else plays second fiddle. This is the best Godzilla movie in years and the best to come from an American studio. I put it ahead of Shin Godzilla too — whatever that was supposed to be.
- Main cast but especially Kyle Chandler, Ken Watanabe, Milly Brown, and that guy with all the lines.
- Monster-mashing action everywhere.
- All the references fans will pick up on.
- Vera Farmiga's character is unbearable.
- The damned environmental rhetoric.