Godzilla: King of Monsters Review

It seems like everything has a cinematic universe these days. Some have been working well for years while others haven’t really gotten off the ground, as the Marvel heroes and Universal ghouls can respectively attest.

2014 saw the start of Warner Brothers’ Monsterverse, though I’m pretty sure we didn’t know it at the time.

Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla was an apology of sorts for Roland Emmerich’s 1998 effort, which didn’t exactly do a bad job of conveying disaster and monster mayhem but fell short on memorable characters and suffered due to the fact that it wasn’t, well, Godzilla.

I liked Edwards’ vision of the legendary monster, which felt more grounded than the 1998 version. Kong: Skull Island, the second in Warner Brothers Monsterverse, took a much more tongue-in-cheek approach to showcase King Kong.

The third entry, this month’s Godzilla: King of Monsters, seems to take its tonal cue more from Kong: Skull Island rather than the previous Godzilla movie. It’s big on spectacle but thin on characters and on any sort of grip on reality.

The film opens, Dawn of Justice style, with a flashback to the climactic events of the 2014 movie from a new character’s perspective. Emma (Vera Farmiga) is shielding her young daughter from the destruction around her while her husband Mark (Kyle Chandler) searches in vain for their son amongst the rubble.

Cut to present day: Emma is a scientist working in for Monarch, the ultra-secret, monster-hunting conglomerate that first appeared in Kong: Skull Island. Emma and her daughter Madison (Stranger Things’ Millie Bobby Brown) have been stationed at a base in China for some time.

Emma is thrilled when she seems to have eventually perfected a way to communicate with these ‘Titans’ using a device nicknamed the MacGuffin. I mean, the Orca.

Her happiness is short-lived due to the arrival of Colonel Alan Jonah (Charles Dance), a villainous former member of British military intelligence. Jonah illegally deals in Titan DNA and, wanting to use the Orca to track down more specimens, he takes Emma and Madison hostage.

Emma’s ex-husband Mark is then visited by Dr Vivienne Graham and Dr Ishiro Serizawa (respectively played by Sally Hawkins and Ken Watanabe, reprising their roles from the 2014 Godzilla film), who also work for Monarch and seek Mark’s help to track down the Orca and, as a bonus, his family.

As a result of mortal meddling, we then see new (but familiar to fans) monsters such as Rodan and King Ghidorah face off against Godzilla. Again, Dawn of Justice style, there are huge city-crushing battles between these Titans.

In summary, there is a convoluted build-up with characters predominantly driven by the plot rather than vice versa, and then the second half of the movie is one giant fight scene.

Now that I think of it, the whole thing is very similar to Dawn of Justice. Which should guide you as to whether this film will float your boat or not.

In fairness, there won’t be many people who have no idea what to expect when buying a ticket for this.

The fans might be a little disappointed at the less convincing human elements this time around, and some of the action is so relentless and loud that it is more oppressive than entertaining, but the new creature designs are fun and there is just about enough juice in the franchise to get us to Godzilla Vs Kong next year.

Conor Brennan

Leave A Comment

Dates ‘n stuff

May 2019