My childhood franchises were a tie. At one end, I was a die-hard fan of Scooby-Doo movies and the tv shows and at the other was the Godzilla movies. No matter how bad or good they got, I would watch either of those franchises. So, there I was at the theater last night watching Godzilla: King of the Monsters, a dumb, but a fun ride that kept me more entertained than the reboot while making me more frustrated at the same time.
Five years after the events at San Fransisco, Dr. Emma Russell (Vera Farmiga) revives a project her ex-husband Mark (Kyle Chandler), and she worked on called Orca, a device to communicate with Godzilla and the other Titans that have been discovered around the world. She goes off with her other scientists and her daughter, Madison (Millie Bobby Brown), to wake up a new monster they have nicknamed Mothra. During the awakening, ecoterrorist Jonah Alan (Charles Dance) captures the mother and daughter along with the Orca to wake up monsters around the world. Mark, the military, and other scientists come together to backup Godzilla to stop the world from ending by King Ghidorah and Rodan.
The science in a movie like this does not have to be based on anything real, but at the least have good enough writing to make sense. The most significant flaws in the 2014 film were its dumb, bland characters and a lack of suspension of disbelief to allow for me to believe in their made up science. King of the Monsters ramps up the stupidity of characters like Emma or throws out any logic to try and solve an issue that could have been done more intelligently.
The villain, Jonah, seems to have zero motivations. He is a plot device to make action happen for the sake of entertainment, which is done well despite that hurting the overall story.
Other characters like the range in quality, but nobody except for Madison and Dr. Rick Stanton (Bradley Whitford) is remotely likable. Everyone else is either too dumb or dull of a personality to care about. The redeeming aspect of everyone is the superb acting with Brown, Dance, Whitford, Ken Watanabe, Sally Hawkins, and many more stellar stars who manage to do a lot more than expected with such weak roles.
The saving grace comes from the action. The reboot had horrendous pacing by waiting to show Godzilla for roughly an hour. Instead, having a new director with a different vision, Michael Dougherty (Trick ‘r Treat), the film was able to focus on its main star, Godzilla and his costar Kaijus. The grand scale of destruction and chaos made for a far more enjoyable experience. The sequel does not mess around by having some of the most insane monster battles I have seen in years.
Another note taken from the reboot that was partially addressed comes from the visuals. The monsters look spectacular, but the color palette of the film needs work. At times, the blues, greens, and reds make for some of the most breathtaking shots of the year while other times the browns and blacks drown out so much more potential beauty.
The decline in the iconic Kaiju’s franchise makes King of the Monsters one of the best, which is both incredible and saddening. The script from Dougherty, Zach Shields, and Max Borenstein feels like a child’s dream Godzilla story by how each step became more illogical than the last. A fan like myself wants to see death and destruction, and I got it despite some Hollywood hero moments making my eyes roll.
If you see this movie, just survive the idiocy and enjoy the performances, action, and epic, cheesy soundtrack.
Images via Warner Bros. Pictures