Godzilla: King Of Monsters – Movie Review

movie reviewI really liked what Gareth Edwards did with the 2014 Godzilla movie. Keeping the point of view more focussed on humans. Visually and storywise. With a somewhat interesting story and a character that was at least a little bit relatable. For me it worked. For a lot of other folks, it didn’t. They wanted giant monsters fighting. No human drama that stands in the way. The follow up film “Kong” was solid. Even though it didn’t exactly know what it wanted to be in the end. Godzilla 2 now seems to have heard the critics of 2014 and delivers on the monster fights. And it delivers hard. It seems to want to be the exact opposite of the 2014 film. But is it for the benefit of the film?

We find ourselves in a world that tries to deal with the fact that there are giant creatures roaming the Earth. The world tries to find solutions and, of course, often enough opts for the wrong ones. Monarch, the organization that’s monitoring the “Titans”, is on the verge of losing its independent status and become part of the military. The military of course is trying to find ways to weaponize these Titans. Dr. Emma (Vera Farmiga) and Mark Russell (Kyle Chandler) lost a child when the 2014 events happened in San Francisco. Both decided to find a way to understand how the Titans communicate. They used their science work as a kind of therapy to overcome the loss of their child. Meanwhile Madison Russell (Millie Bobby Brown), their daughter, has to watch how the marriage of her parents falls apart. Emma continues to work on that communication device and Mark decides to go his own ways. And that sets up the human drama in this film.

Emma and Mark follow different goals with the project and Madison tries to deal with that situation. Things start to go crazy when another creature is about to be born in one of the Monarch facilities. A perfect chance for Emma to test the machine! As soon as the creature is alive, Emma and Madison are kidnapped by some Eco-fundamentalists. Mark is contacted by Monarch and tries to save them. He is very hesitant since Monarch clearly is pro Titans, while he is still traumatized and wants to see these monsters dead. The story does deliver an arc for Emma and Mark but it feels very thin. Beside them we see how mankind is trying to deal with the Titans situation. Which is something I would have liked to see more of.

Throughout the film we see characters from the 2014 movie and it’s good to see them back. They build a neat bridge. Instead of showing a straightforward journey, this film decides to jump all over the place and ultimately there hardly was any character that I was able to relate to. The film also goes out of its way to hammer down some environmental messages down our throat. It’s very obvious and could have been done in a more subtle and clever way. But no, we have to show monsters fight at least every 5 minutes. It’s overkill. Quite literally. The film is 132 minutes long and it feels like at least 100 minutes were monsters fighting. Now don’t get me wrong. The fight scenes were quite awesome. The vfx and sound design are amazing. The sound on Dolby Atmos is a feast! At some point though, you grow a little numb to all the spectacle. I’m more the fan of building up to a spectacular fight instead of having one every 10 minutes.

Where the 2014 movie tries to be a little subdued and tries to deliver a relatable perspective (visually and storywise) – we go full hammertime in this film. Even though I felt never bored while watching it, I instantly knew that when I would try to think about this film, it would instantly fall apart. And not because of the GIANT MONSTERS fact. They’re not the issues the film has. The Titans are great, do awesome stuff and look fantastic. It’s cool to see these new interpretations of these classic monsters. I really don’t know how they want to top what they did here. With all the destruction happening in this film, the next target can only be the moon or space in general. The level of destuction and devastion in this film is insane! Shake your head levels of insane. But those are the element this film lives from. So they better do it right! And they did. Like I said, the vfx are superb. And the sound design brings it all together.

Ultimately it feels like it goes a little too far with almost everything it tries to do. It succeeds in moving the story forward though. A lot of mythology stuff is added. It makes this universe feel more rich and interesting. Still, the movie makes its universe feel incredibly small and huge at the same time. The monster fights are epic and obviously beautiful and big. But the human storyline is as small as it can be. Yes, our characters are all over the world but emotionally it feels flat and unrelatable. The acting by all involved works and everyone does a good enough job with the material. As dumb as the story may be. I always like to see Kyle Chandler, Ken Watanabe or Vera Farmiga. Obviously, no matter how hard they tried, their work stands in the shadow of the giant monsters, that clearly steal the show. Now it will be interesting what Godzilla VS Kong brings.

A 6.3/10 for me.

Godzilla 2: King of Monsters on IMDb

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