Finally, after five long years, Legendary’s incarnation of the king of the monsters has returned to the big screen. Godzilla: King of the Monsters, is the sequel to Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla, and introduces audiences to new, even bigger versions of Mothra, Rodan, and King Ghidorah. The film has mountains of pressure on its shoulders, as it looks to answer fans’ criticisms from the first movie, as well as continue building this “monsterverse.” With reviews finally appearing online, did King of the Monsters live up to expectations? In short, mostly…
The film is being praised for its extravagant monster battles, visuals, and musical score. Criticism is aimed at its human characters, which is ironic since the first film apparently focused too much on the humans, while this one doesn’t spend enough time with them. Regardless, check out our review round-up below, and stay tuned for our review of the film, dropping this Thursday!
Godzilla: King of the Monsters is a fun exercise in giant monster madness that indulges in all the kaiju fights fans and even casual viewers could hope for. It looks amazing while also giving its human characters a chance to stay interesting amid all the battling beasties by providing them with some really cool tech — and some great one-liners among the supporting players. Unfortunately, the film’s plot is needlessly confusing, and not all that smart at times, and the lead characters could’ve used a little more fleshing out. Still, King of the Monsters course corrects from the 2014 film by giving audiences an abundance of monster action, proving that Hollywood can do right by Godzilla and his fellow kaiju.
King of the Monsters quickly reveals itself as not the movie its artful trailers sold you on, and arguably never seemingly was meant to be, but that’s fine. Indeed, plenty of Toho’s classic Godzilla movies have likewise been all about the simple joy of the explosive spectacle Godzilla and his titanic foes can unleash. But some of the very best have at least had things to say about topics like nuclear warfare, environmentalism, and Japanese nationalism beyond their monstrous action. King of the Monsters barely tries in its own attempts to add an ecological bent to the reasoning behind its clash of titans—turns out that we are the real monsters, after all—and almost unabashedly leans into knowing how little it has to try on that front, self-aware that you will clearly care as little as possible about the plight of its human characters when the alternative is more spectacular action.
In “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” the metaphor has shifted: It’s all about government conspiracy and ecological balance (the titans are part of the earth’s natural defense system!), which can make your brain glaze over. Most of the actors spend the movie yammering on in an overly standardized disaster-movie mode of much-intensity-about-nothing, though Ken Watanabe, as the venerable Monarch scientist Dr. Serizawa, evokes a little of the old Godzilla reverence.
With that being said, let’s be clear (even if the movie isn’t): Godzilla: King of the Monsters is a big, kinda silly, but otherwise exciting blockbuster. It’s gorgeous, it’s epic in the extreme, and it features some of the most impressive monster fights you’ve ever seen. Maybe someday Americans will make a Godzilla movie that isn’t just “badass,” but which also works on another level and resonates in a meaningful way.
Before anyone reading this starts complaining that I just don’t get what movies like Godzilla: King of the Monsters are all about, that I’m the sort of killjoy who should just relax, let me say that it would be a lot easier to take it less seriously if the people who made the movie cared enough to take it more seriously. C-
What’s interesting about King of the Monsters, is it seems like the filmmakers really found a way to take the best elements of Godzilla and Skull Island to create this sequel. Sadly, a lot of the most epic moments have been spoiled by trailers, but there is still plenty to witness that will blow your mind. I can’t wait to see next year’s Godzilla vs Kong after the ending of this film.
While monster nerds tally appearances by lesser-known (or maybe brand-new) Titans and cheer the battles between the main attractions — suffice to say that Queen Mothra isn’t as fragile as she looks — the film gives Maddy a shot at saving the day and Mark a chance to save her while she does it. The film puts just about the right emphasis on this familial plot: If we can’t have comic relief, at least viewers can occasionally rest their eyes from an onslaught of beautifully designed CGI mayhem. News footage seen during the closing credits tries to imagine a world in which calmed-down Titans become a part of everyday life before flashing on a tantalizing cave painting: It seems that even in prehistoric times, humans fantasized about who would win in a showdown between a giant ape and a giant lizard.
Simply put: It’s fun. It’s fun to sit around and root for Godzilla to come save us, even if he’s completely obliterating whole cities in the process. King Of The Monsters knows this in its bones, and that’s what it wants to deliver. It’s a kaiju movie where the kaiju themselves are the stars and that’s what makes it such a great ride.
If you’re looking for a true summer movie spectacle, you can’t do much better than GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS. This is the kind of epic kaiju movie you’ve been waiting for that delivers on all fronts, leaving you with the rollercoaster satisfaction of a ride well spent. It’s no epic human drama and the plot is fairly simple (albeit with some interesting layers about the origin of the kaiju themselves), but when it comes down to having a great time at the movies this is a ticket worth buying. Bring on GODZILLA VS. KONG!
Godzilla: King of the Monsters hits theatres on May 31, 2019.