Review GODZILLA King of the Monsters (2019)

Godzilla King of the Monsters* stars Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, Ken Watanabe, while the film was written and directed by Michael Dougherty (Krampus, Superman Returns, X2-X-Men United). [I'll explain the * a bit later]

The sequel is full of Kaiju fun peppered with environmentalist statements about the planet and after the first act, it develops into a trite, predictable story that borders on boring.


We meet paleo-biologist Emma Russell (Farmiga) who works for the monster tracking organization of Monarch, as they track and study the Kaiju they call Titans. It seems these Titans ruled the planet at one point in time, We watch her and her daughter Madison (Brown) witness the birth of Mothra. It becomes agitated but Emma calms it down with a device she built designed to manipulate the Kaiju called the "ORCA." Then suddenly some eco-terrorists attack and take ORCA and kidnaps Emma and Madison. Mothra later crawls under a waterfall and cocoons herself.

Then Monarch scientist Dr. Serizawa (Watanabe) approach Emm's ex, Mark Russell (Chandler) to help track down the terrorists. But he has great cause to hate Godzilla because his son was killed in the previous attack on San Francisco in the prior film. Yet they track Godzilla and the terrorists to Antarctica they intend to free a Titan called "Monster Zero".

The entire premise behind the terrorists motivations are that the Titans will cull humanity and return the planet to its untainted state and humans will stop polluting.

It's at this point that the movie falls into the more predictable story telling as we head into the second act.

More Titans are released, they fight, Zero wins, Godzilla shows up, they fight, humans launch a special weapon to kill Zero and big G but it only sort of kills Godzilla.  Duh!

From there we watch humans discover ancient texts in an underwater city that talk about the Titans on Earth way way way back in time. And it goes from there...


Around act 2 and onward the film gets quite predictable, but can still be considered fun. Much like Pacific Rim and the like, it's a stupid and fun movie or a fun and stupid movie, but Kaiju fans will love all the monster fighting, even when the movie stretches even beyond the realm of fantasy Kaiju "reality."

The highlight for me was the few times that the three heads of Monster Zero seem to argue with each other.  Truly cute. I'm sure of it.

Then there's this thing where these massive living beings seem to give us itty-bitty humans enough credence to help us. Or even recognize us.  The film could have veered away from the classic Godzilla trope and taken this in an entirely new direction, but instead, they stuck with familiar story schemes from yesteryear.

For me, I enjoyed Chandler's performance, but even he was held back a bit in this film.

The other thing that should have warned me off was that they were introducing a slew of other Kaiju from Godzilla movies from over the years. It's always a pretty good warning sign when a movie slams everything they can at you in one film, much like Disney's Solo film did, when they hit on every single mythical Han Solo history point in one movie.

About that [*]:  How exactly is Godzilla king of the monsters? So far humans have had to help his big leathery butt in each film. If humans didn't help, would he actually win these giant challenges?

Unlike the first Godzilla film, where he was only in around 18 to 20 minutes of the film total, there is a lot more monster film time, and maybe, a lot less real story time in this film.

I'm bummed since I am a huge 'Zilla fan from my youth where he represented so many mystical or magical things.

IMDb users gave the film a 6.6/10, while the pros from Rotten Tomatoes felt less entertained, giving it a 41%. I get where both groups are coming from. I wasn't totally unhappy I dropped matinee prices but would have been disappointed had I dropped full ticket prices.

Like many films that underwhelm at the theater, this should be a fun film when it comes to TV.

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