Movie Review: ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’: Cliché drama, epic action

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Movie poster/Warner Bros.

“Godzilla: King of the Monsters” is written and directed by Michael Dougherty and stars Vera Farmiga, Ken Watanabe, Kyle Chandler and Millie Bobby Brown alongside this franchise’s returning star, Godzilla himself. The film picks up five years after the events of 2014’s “Godzilla” and introduces to a host of new creatures for the king of the monsters to deal with.

Not unlike the first film in 2014, in the sequel we follow a group of human characters around the world while they try to handle these new threats with the focus of this film centering on the family of Farmiga, Brown and Chandler. Along with the new human characters, we meet a trio of new monsters as well; Mothra, the queen of the monsters, Rodan and the film’s greatest threat, King Ghidorah. Godzilla’s status as the alpha predator on Earth is challenged and humanity gets caught in the crossfire.

The best thing this one has going for it by far is the visual spectacle of seeing these massive titans tear each other apart; however, the writing with regards to the human characters has clearly taken a step down. Motivations and plans change from scene to scene and some of the dialog is loaded with clunky exposition, making for a bit of a mess. They also continuously lean on television news broadcasts to deliver information throughout the film to the point where it becomes a little silly.

Fortunately, it seems like Dougherty is much more interested in staging monster battles, and that’s what you’re paying to see. The film also expands on the lore of this world overrun with monsters and establishes their places in ancient history in a very cool way. My personal favorite moments were the brief hits of the classic music from the original Japanese films to give you a blast of nostalgia, but pretty much every frame of the movie involving Godzilla is fun to watch. King Ghidorah also provides Godzilla with a worthy match throughout the film and brings some new abilities that we haven’t seen him use in the past. Several of the familiar monsters get some upgrades for a new generation that make them larger and even more destructive.

Overall, “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” is kind of difficult to score. Because of all of the epic monster action put on screen, the sequel is every bit as entertaining as the 2014 film, if not more so, but the writing leaves a lot to be desired. We find out during the movie that our villain’s main plan is one of the most cliched villain plans that we’ve seen in movies for the past decade now, and it comes off as a very easy way to write these monsters into fighting each other. That being said, seeing these monsters fight is all I really wanted and I’m not that upset about the lack of human drama in this Godzilla movie. If you’re looking for a fun popcorn movie with more than enough world-ending monster action to keep you satisfied, “King of the Monsters” is right up your alley- there are even some deep cut references for the hardcore Godzilla fans in the audience.

Griffin’s score: 7/10

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Nick Griffin

nick@cullmantribune.com