The latest Georgia-filmed movie is releasing today, and I had the chance to check it out a little earlier this week. As with most monster films, especially Godzilla-related, I went in with low expectations for the story and high hopes for the visuals. I’m happy to say that Godzilla: King of the Monsters surpassed my expectations in terms of visuals. Director and co-writer Michael Dougherty also realized the film’s strengths and what audiences were coming for -- and played heavily into it.
You’re not going to see Godzilla: King of the Monsters for the human moments and interactions. You’re going because you want to see epic monster fight scenes, and this film doesn’t waste any time with getting the audience to the scenes they’re most excited for.
This film picks up five years after Gareth Edwards’ 2014 Godzilla. The organization Monarch has been tracking the “titans” (monsters like Godzilla) and is currently at odds with the military -- as they want to wipe out these creatures as opposed to co-exist with them. That is if co-existing is even possible.
The story revolves around a family who has been dramatically affected by the monsters. Vera Farmiga stars as Dr. Emma Russell (who works with Monarch) and Millie Bobby Brown plays her self-sufficient daughter Madison. Kyle Chandler plays the absent father (Mark) who disappeared to distract himself with a different type of work after the couple lost their son in Godzilla’s 2014 visit to the states. Emma and Madison get kidnapped by an eco-terrorist (played by Charles Dance) who wants to use Emma’s research to awaken the dormant monsters and basically reboot humankind. This forces Mark to face what he’s been avoiding for the last five years to save his family. And this also means challenging his personal views on these monsters.
What I Liked and Didn’t Like
This isn’t a great film. Let me start by saying that. But it is a fun and entertaining film. The plot is simple and challenging to take seriously, but there’s an excellent cast here, and the cast does the best they can with it.
The special effects are incredibly impressive, and LOTS of things get destroyed. The film 100% delivers on that front. And furthermore, the story here sets up some fascinating ideas -- though they never get fully explored. I’m not sure if they’re setting us up for more or not.
The sequel is already announced, Godzilla vs. Kong, which will be released March 13, 2020. (No clue how that’s going to be a remotely fair fight -- but hey, I’ll suspend my disbelief for a bit.) However, the things they barely touch on in this flick don’t seem to relate to the 2020 film. They barely scratch the surface of what could be the origin of these creatures. And they tease us with a glimpse into what that world looked like. I would have loved to have spent more on time on this, but it happens towards the end of the film, and I recognize that if Dougherty had explored this -- the film would have lacked focus and probably been five hours long. No one wants that.
If we’re still planning new releases in this MonsterVerse, I’m dropping this note in the suggestion box. You have my attention. And I’m curious.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters Review: Overall
Overall, this Godzilla did entertain me. I was impressed by the special effects and the scale on which the fight scenes took place. As I said earlier, audiences are going to see this film because they want to see monster fight scenes -- not because they want to see a family drama or any other type of film. Godzilla: King of the Monsters does a fine job at realizing what it does well and putting its attention there. Sure, I’d love to see a monster film of this scale with a more exciting and gripping plot, but for what this movie is -- it’s a pretty fun summer flick.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters Review: