This is the movie I have been waiting to see since I was five years old. I’m an unapologetic Godzilla fan who has loved the franchise for years. King of the Monsters is, as one critic referred to it, The Fast and Furious, of the franchise. What does that mean? It’s big, loud, and dumb, but friggin awesome!
Godzilla 2014, which was directed by Gareth Edwards, clearly drew inspiration from the Heisei era (1980-1995) of Godzilla. It was a dark, dry, and serious take on the monster. Godzilla King of the Monsters however pulls directly from the Showa era (1954-1975) with a ton of Easter eggs and references to the older films. None more prevalent than Bear McCreay’s score. McCreary finally brings back the classic Godzilla music with this film (something which was sorely missing from the 2014 reboot).
Director Michael Dougherty is a die-hard fan to a detriment of the film. For fans of the franchise, there are a ton of great things to geek out about, but to the average movie-goer I can see how it might be a bit of sensory overload.
Like I said, Dougherty stuffed this film with a plethora of easter eggs. Kong is referenced heavily in the film (building up to Godzilla vs Kong) the infamous Oxygen Destroyer is introduced; callbacks to Mothra’s fairies and theme; Ghidorah’s origin is hinted at when it’s revealed he came from outer space. It’s a lot to take in. But if you like monsters slapping each other around or are a die-hard fan like me, you will love this.
Speaking of the monsters, they never looked better. An argument can be made for Mothra’s redesign, but the rest are treated with respect and fondness. Godzilla’s spikes on his back are more pronounced and jagged; Rodan is literally a flying fireball; Ghidorah is a golden nightmare of destruction; and even the new monsters made exclusively for the film look great. Because Toho only lent Legendary the 4 main monsters, Legendary had to create a series of new creatures to populate the rest of their MonsterVerse.
Unlike Pacific Rim or Transformers you can clearly see when the creatures fight. And unlike 2014, the film doesn’t cut away from the monster melee action. The fights are brutal and intense.
Now for the human factor of the film. Let’s face it, Godzilla films aren’t really known for their great human protagonists. Despite having Stranger Things, Millie Bobby Brown, as a main character, the other characters are pretty flat. The only character that truly has a story arc (carried over from 2014) is Ken Watanabe’s Dr. Serizawa. Vera Farmiga’s character grows increasingly annoying as the film goes on. By the time you see the resolution of her character’s story you don’t even care. However the biggest complaint of the film has to be the complete and utter waste of Charles Dance’s character, Jonah Alan, the human antagonist of the film. Maybe they are saving his backstory for a future sequel, but you find out very little about him and his terrorist organization. An after credits scene might allude to where they might take Dance’s character in future films though.
Overall, Godzilla King of the Monsters is a big upgrade over Godzilla 2014. Despite not having strong human protagonists, the monster action is next level awesome. I highly recommend this very fun popcorn flick! HipsterZOMBIEJoint gives Godzilla King of the Monsters a strong 8 out of 10.