Godzilla: King of the Monsters
DIrector: Michael Dougherty
Starring: Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, Ken Watanabe, Ziyi Zhang, Bradley Whitford, Sally Hawkins, Charles Dance, Thomas Middleditch, Aisha Hinds, O’Shea Jackson Jr.
Runtime: 131 minutes
I’ve never been a particularly huge fan of the Kaiju’s. I can see the appeal of huge monsters clashing in epic displays of power and destruction, but personally, I’ve just found them dull. That being said, the trailers for Godzilla: King Of The Monsters had me intrigued. For starters, it was the first time I’d found myself interested in one of these big monster movies. Every other time I’ve seen a movie that revolves around Godzilla or any other Kaiju on sale, I’ve simply ignored it, I’ve got basically no interest. But this was the first time I’d actually been given reason to be interested in a film like this (Well, that and Charles Dance). So I had hope going into Godzilla: King Of The Monsters that it might actually be good.
As it turns out, my hopes were very much misplaced.
Godzilla: King Of The Monsters feels very much like a corporate mess. Very specifically, a Warner Bros corporate mess, which is evident by just how dark the entire film is visually. I mean, you’ve got Ghidorah, The Lightning Titan in this film quite prominently and yet almost every battle scene in the film is still darker than the midnight sky. Why would you have such spectacle, such potential of a giant firebird and a giant lightning dragon fighting a massive lizard with a huge laser beam, and obscure with so much darkness? Still, I enjoyed some aspects of some of the battles, but that’s not enough for me to enjoy a film. I need more than just little specks of potential.
The human cast leaves more than a little to be desired, too. While Charles Dance and Millie Bobby Brown are at best tolerable (with any other material, Dance would likely have been absolutely spectacular in the role of Alan Jonah, but the material he actually gets is laughable at best), everybody else ranges from forgettable to straight up bad. It’s telling that I was only reminded of the name of the main (human) character of the film thanks to the Wikipedia entry. Apparently, Kyle Chandler’s character was called Mark Russell, and he’s essentially just an exposition machine, as was his wife Dr. Emma Russell (played by Vera Farmiga). However, I will give Godzilla: King Of The Monsters props for one thing. Ken Watanabe was born to play Dr. Ishiro Serizawa.
This film feels like it had such potential to be incredible, to be a landmark film in the Kaiju movies. But, in the end, it was just a dud, a weirdly boring film, which is not something you want your huge spectacle based film to be. Maybe if it didn’t cut away to humans every time a battle got interesting, maybe if half the dialogue wasn’t purely there for exposition, maybe if it didn’t argue in favour of using a nuclear weapon (Yes, you read that correctly, a GODZILLA film argues in favour of using a nuclear device, despite the heritage of the series), maybe, just maybe, it’d be a good film.
So, it seems like at least for the time being, The King is dead, and this is the film that killed it.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters
A complete mess of a film, but not without its moments.