Director – Michael Dougherty (Trick ‘r Treat, Krampus)
Starring – Kyle Chandler (Super 8, The Day the Earth Stood Still), Vera Farmiga (The Conjuring, Bates Motel), and Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things, Intruders)
Release Date – 2019
Rating – 4/5
Tagline – “Prepare for battle”
Like many horror fans I’m a fan of Godzilla. I watched it growing up with my grandma when one of them would randomly air on sy-fy. After catching a few that way I started renting them at the local video store. I really enjoyed them but I wasn’t obsessed with them like some of my friends. When I was in elementary school I had watched a good portion of the Godzilla flicks when the 1998 American Godzilla was released. It was nowhere near as good as the other Godzilla flicks I had seen but it wasn’t bad.
However, watching it in theaters made me want to collect all the Godzilla films which is something I’ve continued to do to this day. This Toho property was once again Americanized in 2014 with Godzilla which was the beginning of a MonsterVerse series followed by Kong: Skull Island and most recently Godzilla: King of the Monsters. This was one if those releases I refused to skip a theatrical viewing of and I’m glad I did because it was fantastic.
**Spoiler Alert**The film picks up five years after the events in Godzilla with the organization Monarch still conducting research on the 17 titans scattered throughout the globe. Monarch believes that humans and titans have to live side by side in order to survive but the government is pressuring them into destroying the titans for fear they will wipe out the human race.
Doctors Mark and Emma Russell lost their son when Godzilla rampaged through San Fransico and has since split where Emma has kept her daughter Madison while she continued her research with Monarch while Mark became a nature photographer. Emma has been working on a machine that will admit sounds that resemble an alpha predator codenamed Orca and uses it when Motha hatches it from her egg and is in her larva state. An eco-terrorist group breaks in and captures Emma, Madison, and the Orca where they plan on using it to release all the titans so they can wipe out most of mankind Monarch enlists Mark to help track the Orca machine so they can stop the terrorists but they discover that Emma is actually part of it and now his daughter is in danger. Now Mark and Monarch has to save her and Orca while aiding Godzilla as he battles Ghidorah for domain over the world.**Spoiler Alert**
There was so many things I loved about this film but there is a few things that really got under my skin. Not enough to ruin the film but just enough to stop it from being perfect.
The acting in this one is solid. The characters are pretty much generic but the cast does a phenomenal job in their performances. Sadly, no one is memorable and by the time the next installment roles around I won’t remember any of the characters from this film but let’s be honest, you watch these films for the monsters and not the people.
The story for this one is a little complex for a Godzilla film and I loved that. The mythology and backstory is so compelling to me. I love the rich history they give the titans in this one and they left so much room for more films and even more monsters. They included Mokele-Mbembe and Bunyip which is known in the crypto-zoology community but they did not include other notable Godzilla foes. I’m sure others will appear as the series progresses but it would be cool to see some of the other monsters appear.
The pacing in this one is solid. We get some great tension building, lots of action, great character development and even more monster carnage. As much as I’m all for character building and backstory I felt this one has a little too much on the happy family now broken by Godzilla. This was shown at the beginning of the film and countless other times as the film progressed. We were given the same family portrait over and over again meant to remind the viewer how Godzilla split this family up and they all once loved each other. This was very redundant and once or twice would have been enough.
Finally, this film is a visual feast. Usually a movie full of visual effects would look cheap but this movie was fucking gorgeous. I loved the look of all the creatures especially Behemoth but Mothra just left me speechless. All of her scenes were breathtaking. I loved the creature designs and the visual effects are the best I’ve seen in a long time. Overall, Godzilla: King of the Monsters is an amazing theatrical experience. The action and historical aspect of the film kept me invested while the effects kept me mesmerized. The 2014 Godzilla film was a decent watch but the MonsterVerse was kicked up a notch with Kong: Skull Island but Godzilla: King of the Monsters is the pinnacle of this series. I can’t imagine Godzilla vs. Kong being better than this. I highly recommend checking this one out.