This review is simple. Do you want to see giant monsters pummel each other and destroy half the planet in the process? If your answer is “yes,” this is the movie for you. Get to the biggest screen you can find and enjoy.
For everyone else…
“Godzilla: King of the Monsters” is the third movie in the Legendary/Warner Bros. Monsterverse films following 2014’s “Godzilla” and 2017’s “Kong: Skull Island.”
The film revisits the 2014 film briefly and jumps ahead to present day China where scientist Emma Russell (Vera Farmiga) and her daughter Madison (Millie Bobby Brown) are anticipating the hatching of an enormous gooey monster in an ancient temple. Since the death of her son in Godzilla’s San Francisco attack, Russell has invented a machine which she hopes will communicate with the new monster baby, and also Godzilla, wherever he is.
Of course, everyone’s good monster-loving intentions go out the window. Eco-terrorists attack, monsters escape, people get kidnapped! It’s chaos! That a good description for this movie: chaos. Wonderful insane chaos.
Monarch, the secret scientific team which has been studying the worldwide monster phenomenon for decades, tries to convince the U.S. government that monsters are here to help. Before anyone can come to a consensus, a clearly agitated Godzilla appears and pretty much (non-verbally) says, “Hey tiny people, some bad stuff is about to go down.”
Then, all hell breaks loose.
I couldn’t even tell what the real plot of the film was. Many of the characters have baffling intentions. Some change their minds with no real motivation. The monsters may be our friends, or maybe not. How does this amazing gadget work? Who knows? I just wanted all the talking to stop so we could get back to the monsters fighting each other.
When “King of the Monsters” is all about spectacle and action, it totally delivers. Monsters show up all over the planet and engage in insane battles and destruction. Godzilla’s initial square-off against the three-headed dragon Ghidorah is a giddy joy to behold. And, that’s just the beginning. Cities are crumbled, planes are crashed, nukes are dropped… complete insanity. Director Michael Dougherty has created some truly thrilling action sequences.
It’s B-movie greatness.
The film only occasionally stumbles when it has to return to the enormous cast of human characters trying to figure out exactly what is going on. Everyone speaks in hit-or-miss catchphrases, sometimes to the point of annoyance. Don’t get me wrong, this is a wonderful collection of actors; they just need to concentrate on running rather than a psychoanalysis of the giant demon lava bird.
“Stranger Things” break-out star Millie Bobby Brown, screen legend Ken Watanabe and the villainous Charles Dance provide the film’s standout performances.
Also, the movie looks like a trillion bucks. There are so many soon-to-be iconic shots of monsters doing their monster things or just standing around looking scary. Some of them are absolutely jaw-dropping. One sequence in particular, with Godzilla slowly swimming underwater, is so beautifully sinister it gave me goosebumps.
Bear McCreary’s musical score is just as spectacular as the visuals. Long-time Godzilla (and Blue Öyster Cult) fans will lose their minds with the musical callbacks.
It’s best to know what you’re getting into with “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.” See it for the monsters, the easter eggs, and the mayhem. See it loud and large; and enjoy your popcorn.
SUPER-SECRET HINT: Stay through the enormous credits.
3.5 out of 5 oxygen destroyer bombs