It has been five years since Godzilla swam off at the end of the 2014 Godzilla, and now the king has returned to reclaim his throne.
Michael Dougherty, director for Godzilla: King of the Monsters, decided that for this sequel he would give the "G fans" what they said they all wished was in the first movie: More monster action and fan service galore.
The plot centers on the world trying to cope with the fact that monsters are real, and the best way to deal with it. Vera Farmiga plays Dr. Emma Russell, who feels that the Titans (monsters) can be lived with and studied. Her estranged husband, Mark Russell (Kyle Chandler), thinks they should be killed, after their son Andrew died in the 2014 battle between Godzilla and the MUTOs. Daughter Madison Russell (Millie Bobby Brown) is dragged into the middle, as eco-terrorist Alan Jonah (Charles Dance) enters the fray.
In all of this, Dr. Ishiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) is still trying to get the governments of the world to understand that Godzilla and the other Titans are all part of the natural order of the world and that coexistence should be a goal. But when the Titan King Ghidorah awakens, it causes a chain reaction of Titans awakening across the world that only Godzilla can stop.
If you know me and have listened to me speak on the sci-fi convention circuit on panels, you all know I am one of the biggest G Fans out there. My love of the Godzilla movies has led me to write papers for school on the significance of the films and the symbolism the movies have created throughout the years.
So what has Michael Dougherty brought to this new Godzilla film? Pure popcorn fun and so many call backs to the old films you will need to get the movie on Blu-ray to be able to find them all. Once the action gets going, it is non-stop, with kaiju sightings, battles, and people running in terror from the monsters.
And man, what monsters! Along with Godzilla, there are three other monsters from the Toho movies: Mothra, Rodan and King Ghidorah are all beautifully crafted into CGI monsters of power. The battles between the monsters are fierce and just as destructive as they should be when monsters the size of skyscrapers are fighting. It was one of the most fun times I have had at the movies in a long time, seeing so many of my childhood favorites on the big screen again.
One of the most impressive things in the movie is the soundtrack. Legendary Pictures was able to acquire the rights to use the original music from the Toho movies. Hearing the classic music of the Godzilla and Mothra themes made it so magical. I was grinning ear to ear, listening to Mothra’s music as she came out of her cocoon.
It isn't perfect. Emma's storyline gets a little silly, and the eco-terrorist's motives are left to the oversimplified and overused points of "We are killing the planet and need to be destroyed." Millie Bobby Brown isn’t given a lot to do in the film, but what she is given she does a fine job of it. Some of the jokes in the film are forced and can be plain dumb. But luckily, Bradley Whitford’s Dr. Stanton is given all of the best jokes, and he does them well.
The Mothra Twins do make an appearance... but the way it is done is cool, with no singing.
The only Toho monsters in the movie are the Big Four...no one else shows up from the Toho roster of monsters, which is a little of a letdown, but hopefully if they make more movies, others can be adapted for the Monsterverse. Rodan and Mothra’s screen time is very limited which made me wish we could have seen more of them. But, for when we do see them it is wonderful. Although his only appearance is in video footage and a wall painting, Kong is mentioned several times. This makes sense, as the battle to end all battles comes next year with Godzilla vs. Kong pitting the King of Skull Island against the King of the Monsters.
How did they handle my hero Godzilla? Wonderful! He was the unstoppable force of nature that we all grew up watching and cheering for. When he gets smacked around in the fights you can’t help to cheer for him to get up. His facial expressions are done to perfection and I found myself cheering and jumping for joy at the end of the movie. I will always have a soft spot in my heart for the big G, and it made me so happy to see him doing what he does best: Wrecking stuff and proving that he is the king.
If you are not a fan of the Godzilla genre, can you enjoy this movie? Well, if you like a good action flick and don’t mind rooting for a giant lizard and moth, you should be good to go. This isn’t Shakespeare, folks.
All in all, I loved this movie. I plan to go see it a few times to catch whatever I might have missed in the Easter Egg department and to see my hero stomping around. In other words...
Long live the King!
Jim D. Gillentine is an author and self-professed comics geek, having immersed himself in four-color prose since the 1970s. He is currently completing his bachelor's degree at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Website.