Godzilla: King Of The Monsters (2019)
Dir. Michael Dougherty / Dur. 131 mins
It’s a funny old one to review, this, as there are two reviews running simultaneously in my head. Let’s go with the first one.
As A Godzilla Fan
It was five years ago(!) that Gareth Edwards brought us a new take on Godzilla, one which did a creditable job in erasing the memory of the 1998 Jurassic Park-rip off version (let us not really speak of that one). There were some that complained that it was light on actual Godzilla action but I wasn’t among them; it was evoking the 1954 original in which Godzilla is also utilised pretty sparingly onscreen. This is not an accusation that can be levelled at this film. Kicking off with Godzilla’s traditional and distinctive skreeeeonk roar and upping the level of monster mayhem significantly means that, if the first film was a tribute to the originator of the whole franchise, this is a tribute to all of the bonkers excesses of everything that came afterwards. There’s monster fighting and city-smashing galore alongside a wealth of references to the classic films (Monster Zero, the oxygen destroyer, the Mothra twins, Godzilla’s iconic theme music). Add in Godzilla, King Ghidorah, Mothra, Rodan and a few more and you’ve got a treat for Godzilla fans.
As A Film Fan In General
Take away the franchise nostalgia and fan-pleasing monster-fighting and, although a part of me is sad to admit it, there’s a film that’s not that great. The characterisation is paper thin, the dialogue is poor at best, their motivations are pretty slimly drawn and there are a number of instances of characters making leaps of logic or acting in certain ways that are simply designed to move things along to the next set piece without feeling earned. That said, and putting my Toho Studios branded Godzilla hat back on again, the original films are pretty much the same with largely dull human characters there to fill in the gaps between monster fighting (largely because it would be too costly to have all monsters all the time).
If you’re a lifelong Godzilla fan then you’ll certainly get some enjoyment out of this as it references a number of classic moments as well as providing the monster mayhem that some felt was missing from the first film. If you’re not a Godzilla fan then I suspect that this film will leave you cold at best and probably irritated at worst. Me? I’m a sucker for monsters beating each other up so I’m still on board. Skreeeeonk!