Godzilla’s back and it’s time for some widespread mayhem and destruction…and not much else unfortunately.
Set five years after the conclusion of the original rebooted film, Godzilla: King of the Monsters sees a world in which the knowledge of Titans, or giant sized monsters that ruled the Earth long ago, has become so widespread that an organization named Monarch has taken it upon itself to track down and study said Titans for the benefit of mankind. But – this being a movie and all – there is an opposing force looking to use the Titans for their own destructive ends and through waking up “Monster Zero”, aka Ghidorah, they plan on doing just that. With Godzilla nowhere to be found since his last sighting five years ago, our human characters must find a way to bring our titular behemoth back into the ring to duke it out for the fate of the world, or risk “Monster Zero” being unleashed, leading to the awakening of all Titans across the globe and in turn, the complete and utter destruction of everything we hold dear. Place your bets, cuz it’s about to get real dangerous, real quick up in here.
When it comes to films like this, you have to have the right mentality going into it. Am I going to get a particularly good film out of a bunch of giant monsters punching each other in the face? Probably not. Am I going to be invested in the human element and their struggle in defeating said giant monsters punching each other in the face? Also, probably not. So right off the bat, there shouldn’t be much going for a movie like this, and by the time the credits roll, that’s more or less the case.
Like the first attempt at rebooting this larger than life character, Godzilla: King of the Monsters tries way harder than necessary to pretend to be a competent film rather than simply accepting that it’s essentially a glorified B-movie that just so happens to have a budget that rivals that of even the lowest rung of superhero film coming out nowadays. Clocking in at over two hours, it’s almost as if the filmmakers couldn’t understand this simple fact, and instead front loaded the film with some truly boring human character work and talking heads just to fill in space, making me more antsy rather than excited for the eventual monster fights that occur throughout.
But when the battles do happen, I honestly don’t have much to complain about. The slugfests are big, loud, and destructive, none really overly wowing me, but all entertaining me just enough to want another battle right after. The feeling of these giant monsters being just that, giant fucking monsters, is played well, with the filmmakers taking the time to realistically show what creatures of these sizes could do to a world where the highest building comes up to their chest. Whether it be a single flap of wings that takes out an entire section of a city, or a bolt of super charged lighting that destroys a building in a second, the sense of scale and danger these kaijus bring is probably the only real success of this film, as it should be, but unfortunately, a movie like this can’t live or die by how much effort they put into their action scenes.
Which brings us to the story and human element of the film. The less said about what in the actual fuck is going on – and the less attention paid to the filmmakers’ explanation for what they perceive to be going on – the better. Human storylines in Godzilla films have always been a necessary evil that has plagued the series since the originals a few decades back, and this film is no exception. Nearly every time there’s a flesh and blood character on screen, my interest in the film took a nosedive. I get that these movies have to be wrapped up in something other than big monsters fighting each other, but does it always have to be so boring? To be completely honest, I might have dozed a bit towards the middle of the movie, and when I came back out of it, not only did I have no idea what the story was trying to do, but each human character, including the stellar yet thinly scripted performance by Millie Bobby Brown, had me rolling my eyes at how inconsequential they all were. Cut out a good half hour and beef up the main reasons as to why everyone is seeing the movie to begin with *cough* the fights *cough*, and you could have a shamelessly good B-movie that knows where its bread is buttered, rather than a film that tries to be something that it doesn’t need to be.
An improvement over the last attempt Hollywood made in bringing this iconic monster back to the big screen, Godzilla: King of the Monsters is a perfectly fine summer popcorn flick that entertains as much as it bores. The battles are big, loud, destructive and satisfying (as they should be), but anything involving the human characters and their complete uselessness in the grand scheme of these towering kaijus is a waste of time. While the original’s tone and general look has carried over to the sequel, the final product feels more in line with a Transformers movie than anything of substance, a problem that I hope the upcoming Godzilla vs King Kong can finally level out. But hey, if you want to see giant monsters punching each other through buildings with barely anything else to invest yourself in, then this is the flick for you!