Godzilla: King of the Monsters follows the titular monstrosity from his events in the first film (the 2014 Godzilla) and the aftermath of his battle with the MUTOs. The organization known as Monarch has discovered more ancient monsters around the world. As they perform studies and experiments on the beasts during their hibernations, another secret organization hijacks Monarch's top scientist and begins unleashing the monsters one by one. Monarch is forced to team up with the seemingly benevolent Godzilla in an attempt to restore balance.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters Review
If anyone is a fan of the original/old school Godzilla films, they know that plot and acting are not staples of the franchise. The 2014 Godzilla is about as serious as anyone has seen Godzilla be taken, and the result was a mixed bag for many. While I greatly respect the craft of Gareth Edwards, the controversy surrounding Godzilla's lack of screen time and heavy focus on characters that were blandly written made the rewatchability of the 2014 incarnation a tough pill to swallow. So then we get this sequel...and it takes Godzilla's screen time and multiplies it by a large number.
I am one to question or critique fan service for its own sake. I have rolled my eyes plenty of times when studios and/or directors cross the line from tasteful cameos and rewarding easter eggs into full-blown pandering. And I must hypocritically admit that while that is the feeling I get at times during King of the Monsters runtime, I enjoyed every minute of it.
You come to a Godzilla movie for monster mayhem. If you come for any other reason, I don't feel sorry for you. This movie was everything I wanted it to be. As a fan of the franchise and of monster movies in general, I loved seeing kaiju staples like Rodan and Mothra get plenty of epic screen time, and of course, to watch Ghidorah and Godzilla go toe-to-toe multiple times.
Reintroducing Godzilla's original theme music seamlessly into the soundtrack was a nice touch, as the film tried to stuff easter eggs into every corner it could. It even had a "blink and you'll miss it" easter egg that seemingly referred to John Carpenter's The Thing. Yet, the film still gave brief moments to new monsters so the creative team could stretch their muscles a bit.
I rather enjoyed the cast, with scifi horror mainstay Vera Farmiga and TV darlings Kyle Chandler and Millie Bobby Brown. Brown arguably outperformed everyone in her role, proving that she is not just a one-hit wonder for her time on Stranger Things. We're treated to the return of Ken Watanabe and the oft-typecasted, but to great success, Bradley Whitford. The script doesn't do any of them many favors, lacking style and originality, but it rarely was overtly cringe-worthy.
Godzilla isn't going to win any awards. There are moments that even the effects work feels a bit off. The acting is above average for this kind of film, but the script and plot are generically weak and right in line with the franchise as a whole. It's massive monsters clashing as a handful of human characters try to find their place in the fight and survive the carnage. It's as basic as basic can be. But Godzilla and his pals are a blast to watch and I enjoyed it immensely. Don't expect your brain to be exercised or your heart to be moved much, but the eye candy of giant monsters in battle is on display.
Horror Rating System
Horror Qualifier: 6/10
Horror Quality: 3/10 Film Quality: 5/10