Out this week in cinemas is the hotly anticipated return of cinemas behemoth Godzilla. In the aptly titled Godzilla: King of the Monsters director Michael Dougherty brings Godzilla up against many more mythic monsters. How will this titanic tussle go down? Hopefully well as the anticipation level for this film is quite high.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters is the sequel to 2014’s Godzilla and a spiritual successor to 2017’s Kong: Skull Island. Set five years after the events of Godzilla the story sees the world desperately trying to come to terms with the arrival of the Titans a super species that seems to be rising to reclaim the planet.
Monarch is still trying to understand these creatures and what their arrival may mean for the planet. Could they be here to wipe out humanity or to peacefully coexist? After all, it’s stated in the film that San Fransisco has become a lush and beautiful jungle after the climactic battle between Godzilla and the Muto’s in Godzilla.
Could they be the answer to restoring the balance of the planet that humanity as messed up in the short time we’ve been here? These are the kind of questions asked throughout the course of the film.
You’re a monster
It’s an interesting state to put the characters of Godzilla: King of the Monsters in unfortunately what the film focuses on just as much is the deeply boring relationships of the human characters.
The cast of characters is an eclectic bunch. The main protagonists consist of Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, and Millie Bobby Brown. They are the Russell’s a family who lost everything in the events of Godzilla and now Emma Russell (Farmiga) is trying to make sense of all they lost through her research into the Titans. Young Madison (Brown) is trying to console her mother while Mark Russell (Chandler) has left his family due to the overwhelming guilt of what he became four years prior.
This is a decent narrative choice and would have worked well if the acting and dialogue were up to scratch.
Almost everyone in Godzilla: King of the Monsters is essentially a piece of exposition. When one character is talking to another it’s about setting up the next piece of the film. It’s not about them or their characters. There are brief moments in the first act but that is dropped quickly especially as the true characters start to appear. I do of course mean the Titans, more on them later.
Let them fight
Easily the best characters are returning favourites Dr. Ishirō Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) and Dr. Vivienne Graham (Sally Hawkins) who are continuing their work on the Titans. One of the main reasons is we care about them as they’ve built what character they have from the previous film. Unfortunately, this is diminished by the sheer glut of new and unnecessary characters (looking at you poorly implemented comedic relief Thomas Middleditch) introduced in Godzilla: King of the Monsters.
What would have easily improved this film is beef up the relationships of the minimal characters that return from the last film instead of giving us a dozen of new characters we don’t care about.
This is a serious issue and diminishes the impact of the film. It reminded of the 1998 Godzilla which is never a good thing to be compared to.
Long live the King
Now with all that negativity out of the way let’s get to the good stuff. Godzilla: King of the Monsters is a gorgeous film. The cinematography makes these Titans worthy of their title. These behemoths are astounding to look at and when they throw down you’ll be captivated during every epic battle.
A majority of critiques against Godzilla was that you didn’t actually see the titular hero wreck his opponents well Godzilla: King of the Monsters rectifies this and then some. This film feels like a world of monsters and gods and it’s phenomenal.
To further feel the grandeur is an impressive and intense score. Bear McCreary brings a sense of intense scope to the Titans and their impact on the world and it’s one of the best elements of the film.
Another great element and an element the team had to get right is the Titans themselves. Every aspect of them is fascinating. From their design to their mannerisms these are real living breathing creatures. So when they clash you feel it and that is what the film needed to deliver on.
Godzilla reigns supreme in the behemoth of blockbusters. All hail the King. Check out Godzilla: King of the Monsters in your local cinema.