Don’t you just hate being disappointed? To look forward to a movie like this that had an epic trailer and teased something great, only to leave the theater feeling let down is an awful impression. That being said, it doesn’t mean that Godzilla: King of the Monsters is a bad movie. It is actually pretty enjoyable to an extent. But when it comes to a monster movie with this kind of popularity, “enjoyable” just isn’t enough. There is a lot to like about it, and there’s a lot of problems.
The crypto-zoological agency Monarch faces 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.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters picks up 5 years after 2014’s Godzilla. It opens showing us a different perspective of the San Francisco showdown, introducing us to Mark and Emma, and Madison Russell (Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown), our new lead characters of this installment. Godzilla hasn’t been seen since he disappeared into the ocean after the battle with the Mutos. The government is trying to take control of Monarch and eradicate the Titans. From here, we are introduced to several other Titans including Mothra, Rodan, and Ghidorah. If you grew up on Godzilla, seeing these monsters in all of their visual effects glory will be pretty awesome for you. Speaking of that, the visual effects in this movie are pretty amazing. That is probably the most appealing thing about this sequel; It is very pleasing to look at. Some of the wide shots showing Godzilla and another monster look like beautiful paintings. As impressive as the visual effects are, some of the battle sequences are shot in an odd way. Several close ups of the action make it hard to tell what’s going on. This doesn’t happen super often, but it happens enough for it to be noticeable.
The pacing in Godzilla: King of the Monsters is fantastic. It is impossible to be bored because the action starts so soon and it doesn’t really let up at all. For an epic blockbuster like this, that can be a good thing. The only thing is, you have to also tell a compelling story so the action doesn’t feel bland. That is where this one falls short. The story is very lazy and the characters are way too thin. Its funny because 2014’s Godzilla had a lot of story and less Godzilla, and it ultimately got a lot of negative feedback about that. This one is the opposite. It has a lot of Godzilla and other monsters, but a very forgettable story. It looks like the writers still haven’t been able to discover that balance, which is disappointing. In this cinematic universe, Kong: Skull Island has probably been the best in terms of balancing action and story. Its painful to say that because Godzilla has always been a more interesting monster than Kong. Maybe next year’s King Kong vs Godzilla will be the monster epic that we all deserve.
Not only is the script lazy, but there are a few too many moments where it asks the audience to take a large leap in terms of believability. Of course in a movie like this, logic and realism are already out of the picture. But there there are points where it takes it a bit too far, like there’s nooooooo way that character survived that type thing. There are also a lot of convenient last minute saving of characters, which once again comes with the territory of a movie like this, but it still felt a bit repetitive.
From a technical standpoint, Godzilla: King of the Monsters is great. The sound, imagery, and detail of the monsters are extremely impressive. There are a few close ups of Godzilla that will blow you away. There is also a battle between Rodan, Godzilla, and Ghidorah in the second act that’s so awesome to watch. The orange color pallet is very pleasing and seeing Rodan fly through the air in pursuit of fighter jets makes this movie worth watching in theaters.
Overall, Godzilla: King of the Monsters is an enjoyable time, but its not a movie that you can love. Which sucks because you leave the theater WANTING to love it, but it honestly feels like a tiny step back in this monster universe. To be fair, there is a lot for the writers to squeeze into a 2 hour movie. That makes it not as surprising that the screenplay feels choppy. It is worth seeing in theaters for the visual effects alone, but don’t go into it expecting to be blown away by a compelling story.