There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of spectacle as long as you sprinkle in just the right amount of narrative.
Godzilla: King Of The Monsters takes a shift from Gareth Edwards 2014 Godzilla which gave us a more thoughtful and introspective take on the classic tale in the vein of the original Toho classic in making something a lot more about spectacle then story, something a little more a kin to 1968’s Destroy All Monsters.
The heroic efforts of the crypto-zoological agency Monarch face off against a battery of god-sized monsters, including the mighty Godzilla, who collides with Mothra, Rodan, and his ultimate nemesis, the three-headed King Ghidorah. When these ancient super-species—thought to be mere myths—rise again, they all vie for supremacy, leaving humanity’s very existence hanging in the balance.
While I can’t deny that the plot devices behind unleashing all these monsters is more than a little silly leaving some logic holes and story structure issues that you could drive a truck through; Godzilla: King Of The Monsters still works as a smash up, disaster type of film where you’re just going for the visual carnage and not any kind of effective storytelling. It provides everything you’d expect, but more often than not in a ham-handed and clunky way.
Director Michael Dougherty who also worked on the screenplay with Zach Shields and Matt Borenstein do try and convey some of the environmental messages and the need to co-exist with the planet as a whole but it lacks a lot of nuance and depth making sure it focuses on the action set pieces and the monsters and to be fair they all look pretty amazing.
Even in the more chaotic moments when it’s in the middle of a storm or underneath the ocean we get some solid looking set pieces that make the film come alive, especially if you get the chance to see it in IMAX because the action genuinely pops. Sadly that’s what works the best in this film because for something with such a clunky narrative and over all weak story points throughout it is surprisingly overcast.
Kyle Chandler takes the lead here (if we can honestly call it that) as a tormented Monarch researcher Mark Russell who gets called back into service when his wife (Vera Farmiga) and daughter (Millie Bobby Brown) are kidnapped by an eco-terrorist played by Charles Dance who lets Mothra loose on the world. He’s fine…honestly everybody in this movie is fine but this thing didn’t actually need all of Ken Watanabe, Sally Hawkins, Ziyi Zhang, Bradley Whitford, Joe Morton Thomas Middletich, Aisha Hinds, O’Shea Jackson Jr, CCH Pounder and David Strathairn too be taking up all the room in this. They’re all working in a story structure that while clear, has very little actual hierarchy as in reality they all (almost) have the same amount of dialogue. It’s fine to call this an ‘ensemble piece’ but when ever actual actor in it is actually playing a supporting role to Godzilla, Mothra or Ghidorah, it feels a little weird.
Ultimately, Godzilla: King Of The Monsters is a decent enough popcorn spectacle type of B-Movie flick that you can go into and enjoy, as long as that’s all your expecting. Big loud monsters smashing stuff on the big screen and once in a while there just not a damn thing wrong with that.
- Genre: Action, fantasy, Sci-Fi
- Release Date: 5/31/2019
- Directed by: Michael Dougherty
- Starring: Bradley Whitford, Charles Dance, Ken Watanabe, Kyle Chandler, Milllie Bobby Brown, O'Shea Jackson Jr., Sally Hawkins, Vera Farmiga, Ziyi Zhang
- Written by: Matt Borenstein, Michael Dougherty, Zach Shields
- Studio: Warner