Movie Review: ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’ (Second Opinion)
You can read Gfunk’s review right here!
Plot: Five years after the destruction of San Fransisco, Godzilla has disappeared. However, the crypto-zoological organization Monarch has tasked itself with tracking and studying the so-called Titans which include Rodan, Mothra, and King Ghidorha. Among Monarch is one Dr. Emma Russell (Vera Farmiga) who’s developed a device called the ORCA that allows the user to attract or alter the behavior of Titans. However, when a terrorist organization led by ex-MI6 agent Alan Jonah (Charles Dance) steals the device with the intention of releasing the Titans to wreak havoc on the Earth, only the might of the King of the Monsters, Godzilla, can save mankind.
Review: Let’s make one thing clear off the bat: Godzilla: King of the Monsters is stupid. I mean like mindbogglingly stupid. This isn’t just a “check your brain at the door” kind of movie, this is a “relinquish your rationality and don’t ever expect a refund” kind of film.
There’s a line between a suspension of disbelief and insulting my intelligence, and KOTM doesn’t just cross it, it stamps it out with a Godzilla-sized footprint. Michael Dougherty and Zach Shields’ screenplay ranges the gamut of idiocy, everything from Hollow Earth garbage to a security detail so advanced it allows Russell’s teenage girl Madison (Millie Bobby Brown) to take the ORCA device without anyone noticing. Then there’s the fact that everywhere the Titans go they spread radiation that somehow doesn’t doom the area but generates new plant life. You know, the COMPLETE OPPOSITE OF RADIATION. Or how about the fact that Alan Jonah’s terrorist organization wants to release the Titans to…restore balance? For the fun of it? Reasons? It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why.
As may be abundantly clear by now from this review, anything involving the human element as it pertains to KOTM is ludicrous at best. Everyone’s motivations feel out of sync or forced. Kyle Chandler, who plays Emma’s ex-husband Mark, seemingly hates Godzilla for causing the death of his son, yet flip-flops between wanting to help Monarch and destroying all the Titans. Sally Hawkins is severely underused as Doctor Vivienne Graham, a paleozoologist who dies with no fanfare. And Bradley Whitford’s Doctor Rick Stanton, the ostensible comic relief, comes off like a second rate ripoff of Rick Sanchez from Rick and Morty, mainly because that’s EXACTLY what director Michael Dougherty modeled him after.
Speaking of Dougherty, to say his direction in KOTM is slipshod is an insult to shoes. (Yeah I just worked in a dual definition dictionary reference. Fifty points for Gryfifndor.) He’s got no less than four Oscar nominated actors in this film, and yet he seemingly doesn’t know how to direct them. Most of the scenes come off stilted and awkward and so eye-roll inducing that I could hear retinas creaking in the theater. It doesn’t help that the film possesses some of the most cringe worthy dialogue I’ve ever heard like, “Our planet will perish, so will we. Unless we set Godzilla free.” I guess the ghost of Johnny Cochran was also contributing to the script. For what it’s worth, the actors do the best with what they are given. I never felt like anyone was phoning it in and Millie Bobby Brown and Ken Watanabe (who reprises his role as Doctor Ishiro Serizawa from the 2014 film) fair the best of the bunch.
What’s most disappointing is that Dougherty directed my favorite Halloween film of all-time, Trick ‘r Treat. I was excited to see how well he’d do with a big budget action film and unfortunately he fails spectacularly…when it comes to the human element.
Because see here’s the thing about KOTM, while it utterly fails in regards to the human aspect of the film, it triumphantly succeeds when it come to bad-ass kaiju fighting action. Despite everything I’ve previously written, let’s be brutally honest. No one comes to the theater to watch a Godzilla movie expecting The English Patient. We’re there to watch monsters kick the crap out of each other, and on that front KOTM delivers in a huge way. The biggest complaint about 2014’s Godzilla was that he was barely in the film. Not so this time around. Not only does he have a starring role but so do many other famous kaiju like Mothra, Rodan, King Ghidorha, and others. And when they fight on screen (especially the climax in Boston) it is entertaining as Hell. KOTM is truly a visual and audio feast and all the credit in the world goes to the special effects gurus behind KOTM. Ditto Bear McCreary who provides an on point score for Dougherty’s film.
Ultimately, Godzilla: King of the Monsters is not a good movie. In fact of all the blockbusters that release this year, it may ultimately end up being the most disappointing. If you’re looking for an engrossing and dynamic story, this ain’t it. However, as a fun monster romp it suffices.
My rating System:
0-1 God Awful Blind Yourself With Acid Bad
2 Straight Garbage
4 Sub Par
8 Very Good
10 A Must See
Godzilla: King of the Monsters: 4/10