After the release of 2014’s GODZILLA, news broke about WB’s intentions with everyone’s favorite giant lizard. Not only was the purpose to rehash one of the world’s most popular movie monsters, but also the possibility of a monster universe that would lead up the ultimate throwdown: Godzilla vs. King Kong. Fast-forward to 2017, the release of KONG: SKULL ISLAND, and proof of this news was plastered during the film’s post-credit scene. I still remember the audience’s reaction and kept saying to myself, “This was mentioned a couple of years ago. Why the surprise?” But… I guess not everyone is reading up on Hollywood hoopla. One thing was set-in-stone though… WB had reignited enthusiasm for not one, but two of the most iconic movie monsters!
GODZILLA (2014) set the pace, KONG: SKULL ISLAND (2017) followed suit, and here we are with another stepping-stone in the series with GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS. For starters, when these kinds of movies are released… do we care about casting? Or story? Not really. Well, maybe. To a degree, because it helps “sell” the product, while meshing things together for build-up and climax. However, truth-be-told, the only thing we really care about is watching Godzilla rise, tear shit up, fight, and swim away to come back and cause chaos another day. That’s what KING OF THE MONSTERS does (a lot more than its predecessor). Keeping it old-school with build-up, followed by chaotic beauty, GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS is a rumbling, upgraded piece providing a loud, soul-rattling nostalgic experience.
The new story follows the heroic efforts of the crypto-zoological agency Monarch as its members face off against a battery of giant-sized monsters, including the mighty Godzilla, who collides with Mothra, Rodan, and his ultimate nemesis, the three-headed King Ghidorah (aka Monster Zero). When these ancient super-species – thought to be myths – rise again, they all aim at supremacy, leaving humanity’s existence hanging in the balance.
There’s no way to put it other than… I enjoyed this movie. It’s a mindless mash-up of monster mayhem. So much, it kind of desensitizes you after a certain point. But who cares? It’s God-FREAKIN-zilla! KING OF THE MONSTERS makes up for the lackluster Godzilla-based appearances and atrocities of the first. Where the first movie focused only on story, this one gets right into it. I like that it takes place 5 years after the first film. I like that it references SKULL ISLAND for the upcoming set-up. I love the idea of the planet’s balance being a talking point towards the chaos (a-la Thanos). And finally, I can’t get enough of Ken Watanabe! (Huge fan of this man for years!) This is where casting serves a purpose. For the most part, the cast was decent, but served more as fill-ins for monster battles that endsued. Also, it was a bit hard to shake off Millie Bobby Brown’s “Eleven” character. A lot of her mannerisms synonymously reflect STRNGER THINGS performances and came off non-effective at times. I thought Vera Farmiga could have been used more, and lastly… Kudos to O’Shea Jackson, Jr! Cube’s kid seems to be popping up a lot in flicks these days.
Overall, KING OF THE MONSTERS (although heavily cliched with typical monster movie madness) is a nostalgic joyride of old-school flicks of yesteryears. Lots of action, great special FX, and a serious homage paid to Toho films of the past. The movie has its flaws, however, it provides and lives up to what it promotes itself to be — and that’s all that matters! In short, this movie does for old-school Godzilla fans as the BUMBLEBEE movie did for old-school TF fans. That said, long live THE KING! Oh, yeah… Stick around for a post-credit scene. You’re welcome!
Grade: B / Genre: Sci-Fi, Action-Adventure / Rated: PG-13 / Run Time: 2:12
Starring: Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, Ken Watanabe, Siyi-Zhang, Bradley Whitford, O’Shea Jackson, Jr.
Directed by: Michael Dougherty
Movie Website: https://www.warnerbros.com/movies/godzilla-king-monsters/