Friday, May 31, 2019

Godzilla: King of the Monsters - Movie Review

The Movie: Godzilla: King of the Monsters

The Director: Michael Dougherty

The Cast: 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., David Strathairn

The Story: The crypto-zoological agency Monarch faces off against a battery of god-sized monsters, including the mighty Godzilla, who collides with Mothra, Rodan, and his ultimate nemesis, the three-headed King Ghidorah.

The Review:
I've been waiting for this movie ever since it was announced as a sequel to the 2014 Godzilla film and especially when it was also announced that this would be part of a shared universe along with the recently rebooted King Kong franchise. Expectations were really high after the success of those first two movies and the trailers for this film really helped to build up the monster on monster action.

While the monster action is big, it's fun, it's crazy, it's epic, and all of those good things rolled into one, I feel like the film's biggest drawback is the people. I mean, there has to be people in the movie so there is some semblance of a story, but it seems like the film makers really had no idea what to do when it came to developing characters from the first film and moving them forward in any sort of meaningful way. On one hand, who cares, it's ll about the monsters, but at the same time at lest put in a little bit of effort.

You could almost see the why am I here look on everyone's faces as they went through the motions of what can loosely be called acting. Sure the cast is filled with heavyweights like Vera Farmiga, Ken Watanabe, Sally Hawkins, and Ziyi Zhang but honestly, if Kyle Chandler and Thomas Middleditch were baseball players, they would be in the starting lineup but hitting at the bottom of the order. That being said, they still need material to work with and there was nothing. Nothing, I say.

Now,as far as the monster battles, there was some seriously amazing stuff on display and you absolutely must find the biggest screen to watch it on. As much as I love Pacific Rim, this movie is far and away superior when it comes to the fight scenes although, now that I think about it, no one used a battleship as a baseball bat so one point for Del Toro. All that being said, I left the theater feeling like there could and should have been more. There were a couple dozen monsters but we only see a few of them actually fighting each other.  With all the build up I was expecting a Kaiju battle royal or at least a six monster tag team match.

One thing the film makers really really really really wanted you to know is that this movie will lead into the next King Kong movie and an eventual showdown between Kong and Godzilla. Seriously, every time you turn around there's another mention of Skull Island or Kong himself all the way to the not so subtle news clip montage that plays during the credits. It wasn't as much building a shared universe as it was product placement which just felt weird after a while.

The Verdict:
Godzilla: King of the Monsters is a lot of fun but doesn't quite live up to the hype. Lost actors, empty dialog, and almost amazing fight scenes keep this movie from becoming the special treat we were all hoping for. That being said, go see it and see it at whatever premium format theater you have available.

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