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I know there are a ton of Godzilla fans out there, but I’m honestly not one of them. Maybe that affects the way I see these movies, but I’ve never been pulled in by Godzilla. I like the movie from 2014, but I’m not a huge fan of other Godzilla films. I also didn’t care for Kong: Skull Island. I liked King Kong, but I couldn’t stand the characters. I was hoping the massive cast of Godzilla: King of the Monsters would bring us a couple of decent characters, and the trailer actually made it look like we would get them. Does the movie live up to the trailer?
Godzilla: King of the Monsters is directed by Mike Dougherty and stars Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, Ken Watanabe, Charles Dance, Bradley Whitford, Sally Hawkins, and Thomas Middleditch. Five years after the events of Godzilla, Monarch finds itself in the middle of a battle of titans. Godzilla’s fight with MUTO may have caused destruction, but Godzilla might actually be humanity’s only chance in a fight against Ghidorah and his followers.
As I said, I’ve never been a huge Godzilla fan, and this movie didn’t do much to change that. Godzilla movies may be the best example of the type of movie that makes you change your hopes and expectations before walking into the theater. I know the two don’t compare, but if you walk into the theater hoping for the same qualities you’d get from an awards contender, you’ll probably be sorely disappointed. I try to walk into most movies without expectations, but when it comes to Godzilla, I have to set them somewhere between the storytelling level of an awards contender and the mindlessness of a giant monster movie. The monster fights themselves don’t disappoint. The biggest complaint from the 2014 Godzilla movie was that it didn’t show enough Godzilla. This movie speaks straight to the audience and tells us it heard our complaints, and there’s more Godzilla. There still isn’t enough, but he definitely has more screen-time, and I appreciated that. His fights are awesome, and watching him take on Ghidorah was the highlight of the movie. The visual effects are amazing, and they’ve completely upped their game when it comes to the spectacle of Godzilla fights and design of the major monsters like Ghidorah. The movie also does a good job of giving every main monster its moment. Obviously Godzilla shines the brightest, but Ghidorah has so many moments to show off just how powerful he is. Mothra also has a couple of great moments, and though she doesn’t tower over the other monsters, she’s still very powerful and strategic in her fighting, which is fun to watch.
Where this movie completely lost me is with the humans. With a cast that includes Vera Farmiga, Kyle Chandler, Sally Hawkins, and so many more, I would have hoped for some sort of depth in the characters. Sally Hawkins was just nominated for an Oscar, and Charles Dance is coming off Game of Thrones where he played one of the best characters I’ve seen in television recently. Somehow they’re all reduced down to cartoon characters who only have dialogue for the purpose of exposition. The most obvious example is from Vera Farmiga about forty-five minutes into the movie. She video chats with other characters and completely lays out all of her thoughts and plans, including visuals. Kyle Chandler also has this extremely forced relationship with his daughter, played by Millie Bobby Brown. It’s a father-daughter relationship. I don’t need Kyle Chandler to explain why he wants to protect his daughter. I know not all families are perfect, but for the most part I can already assume he wants to protect her. Thomas Middleditch also has so many lines of dialogue that simply lay out Monarch’s ideas and plans in a perfectly mapped out PowerPoint presentation.
The characters also make terrible decisions or have no knowledge on their supposed area of expertise. I’m not a scientist, but I probably could have predicted a lot of the events that happened in the film. Somehow I’m supposed to believe that biologists and scientists who have studied Godzilla for years or decades have no idea that he would have an innate drive to eat, mate, and fight anything that stood in his way of being the most powerful being on the planet. Humans, animals, and titans are all pretty similar in that regard and in their natural desires, but that seems to surprise a lot of the characters. Charles Dance was also used in such a strange way. He’s a great actor to play a villain, but he never felt threatening because the movie never seemed to want to commit to him as an antagonist. For a good chunk of the movie, they seemed to want to make him evil just because he had an agenda and an opinion. Eventually his intentions are revealed, but he’s underutilized as someone intending to bring his plan to life at the expense of others. I’m also not sure why this bugs me, but there’s a ton of Red Sox product placement in this movie. Did the Red Sox pay for product placement? I can’t remember the last time a sports team was plastered all over a movie without any real relevance to the plot. It’s on par with Krispy Kreme in the 2017 Power Rangers movie and Papa John’s in The Secret Life of Water Mitty, and it feels jammed into the movie for no real reason. If it’s only in there to give our characters something to care about, it still didn’t work for me because the characters weren’t interesting enough for me to invest myself in their passions and goals.
Overall, the monster fights didn’t disappoint me, but just about everything else did. The human characters have way too much screen time, and they’re only used to give exposition. The main characters could be completely removed, and we might honestly have had a better movie because of it. They aren’t interesting, and every time we focus on their drama, I sort of checked out because they only spoon-fed boring plot and character development to the audience. They managed to up their game with the monster fights, but the humans have never felt more useless and unknowledgeable on topics they’re supposed to be experts on. I’m going to give Godzilla: King of the Monsters a 3.5/10.
Will you be seeing Godzilla: King of the Monsters? Comment down in the comment section, and let me know! As always, thank you, and keep listening to 88.7 The Pulse!