Film Review: Godzilla: King of Monsters

09:10 June 04, 2019
By: David Vicari

This sequel to the 2014 American made Godzilla may have CGI monsters instead of men in rubber suits trampling model cities like the old Japanese Godzilla movies, but it has the same spirit of the originals. This is totally a true to form Godzilla movie, and it's fun as hell.

During the 2014 kaiju battle in San Francisco, scientist Mark Russell (Kyle Chandler) and his wife Emma (Vera Farmiga) lost their young son. Mark holds Godzilla responsible and wants to kill the giant lizard, while Emma wants to study the monster as well as other creatures that are hidden deep in the Earth. The couple is estranged, and caught in the middle is their 15-year-old daughter Madison (Millie Bobby Brown). Anyway, mother and daughter are kidnapped by a terrorist group who want Emma's invention, the ORCA, which is able to communicate with the monsters - or Titans - of the Earth and possibly control them. I'll be vague so as to not spoil a big plot twist, but three headed dragon Monster Zero aka King Ghidorah is unleashed to cause mass destruction. Flying reptile Rodan and giant moth Mothra also make appearances.

You go to a movie like this for the monster action, and Godzilla: King of the Monsters has plenty of it. Actually, it has a little too much, because the loud, frenzied creature fight in the final act goes on a bit too long. However, the movie has enough plot and human story to keep it all together. Chandler is very good in the lead as a man who wants nothing more than to destroy Godzilla and save his daughter. His character is also bitter and sarcastic and has a few good one-liners.

Director Michael Dougherty's movie has echoes of Godzilla movies past. With a smile on my face I caught elements of Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964), Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965), Destroy All Monsters (1968) and Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth (1992).

The coolest moment for me in King of the Monsters is late in the film as a rejuvenated Godzilla rises out of the water and Akira Ifukube's classic Godzilla theme kicks in on the soundtrack.

And the movie's title is a nice nod to the original Japanese Godzilla movie - 1954's Gojira - which, when it came to American theaters in 1956, was recut to add American actor Raymond Burr and retitled Godzilla, King of the Monsters!.

If it's a giant monster mash that you desire, then King of the Monsters delivers.

*** stars (out of four)

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