Long Live Godzilla: King Of The Monsters
The Titans battle it out in Godzilla: King Of The Monsters
The first few minutes of Godzilla: King Of The Monsters takes audiences on a journey back to Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla (2014). And rightfully so; the sequel is very much that: a sequel. Without this little throwback, the forgetful and casual watchers of us would fall too far behind on the story.
Still reeling from their loss from several years earlier in San Francisco, research scientist Mark Russel (Kyle Chandler) is estranged from his wife, Emma Russel (Vera Farmiga) and daughter Maddie (Millie Bobby Brown). After Emma proves she’s able to “speak” to the Titans using an invention she and Mark worked on, she’s kidnapped along with Emma by a group of terrorists. Their goal is simple: release the titans to bring harmony back to the world.
To counter this, Monarch reaches out to Mark and asks for his help—to find them, to find the device and ultimately save the world from destruction as the terrorists’ plans go haywire. As the Titans wreak havoc, Dr. Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) pushes his team to put their faith on Godzilla.
Everyone up to speed? Great.
Let’s be honest here: The reason you watch Godzilla: King Of The Monsters is to see the reptile-dinosaur-hybrid battle it out with the other kaijus. In the film, we see Ghidora (the three-headed monster), Rodan (some mix a fire demon, a dragon and a pterodactyl) and—of course—Mothra, who starts of as a giant larvae and metamorphoses into a graceful and luminous creature.
The battle scenes are as immense as the monsters are and seeing Godzilla come face-to-face with Ghidora—each one pushing the other, challenging their ancient foe’s strength—deserves that big-screen watch. For anyone that has been disappointed with the King’s (lack of) on-screen time in the past, this is Hollywood’s apology.
Yes, the film is full of action and the story may not be the most riveting by a long shot, but the way it weaves different histories together is interesting. The stories are tethered to complete a bigger picture of Godzilla, but in doing so also touches on (and consequently questions our understanding of) religion, culture and—naturally—the environment.
We’re not going to change minds and history books here, but it was a nice dive into this type of fiction anyway.
With Michael Dougherty at the helm of the film—a director that has admitted being a long-time fan of the franchise—fans get what they want in Godzilla: King Of The Monsters. The fight scenes are lit (whether thanks to a city, a street or Godzilla’s own spikes) and there are easter eggs littered throughout as well.
The treatment of the kaijus was well thought out; this cannot be denied. They were the gods they were meant to be and were captured as such, littering the world and dominating every which way.
The sacrifices had to be made
With the team seemingly (and successfully) focused on the kaijus, it’s understandable why the film sometimes fell flat in other aspects. The story, as mentioned earlier, is not exactly the most spellbinding combination of events. The characters and their motivations were lacking—sometimes unmoving and other times unbelievable.
There was an imbalance in the 2014 film and the large tip towards fleshing out Godzilla and the other Titans left King Of The Monsters unbalanced as well. But as my friends and fans of the franchise have said time and time (and time) again, you watch Godzilla for the battles. You line up for a movie ticket to see him wreak havoc against his enemy—and this is exactly what you get.
But maybe 2020’s Godzilla vs. Kong will finally hit that equilibrium?
Art Alexandra Lara