FILM REVIEW: My Thoughts on GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS!
Note: There will be spoilers!
If you're a fan of the classic Kiju monsters that originated from Japan's Toho studios, you will assuredly have a lot of 'Yes!' moments when watching Godzilla: King of the Monsters. Still, with that said, in a summer season crowded with blockbusters - filled to the brim with superheroes - you are likely wondering: Well, do these moments (mentioned above) allow it to stand out from the pack? Well, yes and no. First, however, allow me to bring you up to speed with this film.
Acting as a sequel to 2014's Godzilla, the film finds the titular monster coming to blows with a formidable enemy in the form of the multi-headed monster, Ghidorah. As is the case with other Godzilla films, caught in the middle of the battle royale between these monsters are the human characters - again largely consisting of the mysterious Monarch group, featured in the prior film.
Now, back to initial question asked above. One of the biggest awesome things that this film has going for it (as mentioned above) is it's fan service. For example, fans of the older films will appreciate things such as the reappearance of the oxygen destroyer - a device used to kill Godzilla in the first movie from 1954 - which is again used here by the Americans to kill Godzilla and Ghidorah. Speaking of Godzilla and Ghidorah, another strength of this film is its monsters! For example, Ghidorah delightfully keeps his original origin as an alien that came to Earth centuries ago and became Godzilla's main nemesis. In addition to the main event of 'zilla & Ghidorah's showdown, there are other fan-favorite monsters to enjoy as well, such as Mothra! For those of you not familiar with Mothra, the so-called Queen of the Monsters is a giant caterpillar that: spits out supper-strong silk webbing to ensnare her enemies, and morphs into a giant butterfly with powerful wings. On top of all of that, Mothra also has a pair of small twin girls that serve as intermediaries between her and the humans (because why not?). Because this modern take on the monsters is again full of fan service, it embraces this detail as well with actress Ziyi Zhang (best known for her role in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) portraying a variation on the Mothra twins.
Now, as I mention this character, it unfortunately highlights one of the biggest issues of the film, and that is it's human element. While ensemble players like Ziyi Zhang, Ken Watanabe, Charles Dance, and Millie Bobby Brown all do great jobs with their characters, the movie gets dragged down by other characters such as Kyle Chandler's Dr. Mark Russel and Vera Farmiga's Dr. Emma Russel. You see, both characters are scientists who work for Monarch, the big secret agency that tracks and studies the giant monsters. However, allegiances change when Godzilla causes a tragic death in their family unit: causing Mark to splinter away the organization in search of revenge, while Emma, meanwhile, continues her work with Monarch, developing a machine that will allow communication between humans and Kiju creatures. But we soon learn that all is not well with Emma as she allies herself with eco-terroist, Jonah Alan (played by Dance), to help her steal the device and awaken the many monsters that are dormant. The reason being that Emma wants to awaken the monsters to "save" the Earth and repair the environmental damage that humanity has caused.
Now, while I can get behind this idea - since at his core Godzilla is a creature born out of man's ignorance and arrogance - the movie stills feels weighed down by this plot point as Godzilla (in my opinion) works better as a metaphor for the atomic bomb and not global warming. Mark, conversely, isn't really given that much to do other than stare at the monsters ad scream at them.
While I love Godzilla and his fellows, I have to say that I don't think the story itself holds up as well as the Cloverfield movies which treat the giant monsters as natural disasters that overrun humanity. Though I think the Big-G could take down Cloverfield in a fight, he's still weighed down by incoherent plot points, the real slayer of giant monsters!
Overall grade: B-