In the aftermath of Godzilla (2014) the entire world has become a WWE wrestling ring for ancient and radioactive monsters called titans all itching for another scrap. Luckily, they’re all safely locked away in secret underground Monarch bases… Until Dr. Emma Russell (Vera Farmiga) uses the Orca device (Google translate from human to titan) to restore the natural order of things – humans and titans living together in perfect harmony like they did eons ago… Yeah, that will totally workout well for everybody involved.
Okay, Godzilla: King of The Monster (2019) is plain head-splittingly bonkers. No, it really is. Firstly, Dr. Emma Russell’s utopian plan is hijacked by eco-terrorist Jonah Alan (Charles Dance) who truly embraced Dr. Ishiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) stoic words “Let them fight” from the first film. Why, you might ask? Well, Godzilla and titan slugfests are good for the planet much like a forest fire cleanses the deadwood from the forest. But in this case it is the human race. Ouch, but we did poison the oceans and melt the ice caps, right.
Secondly, Godzilla is none too pleased to find out his ancient rival monster zero aka King Ghidorah (a three headed dragon) has broken out of his icy tomb and he is trying to snatch the atomic monster crown. The two god-sized beasts throw-down in the arctic circle making director Gareth Edwards first entry into the film universe look like a Merchant Ivory production. The CGI mayhem onscreen is bruising and stupidly loud, every square-inch of the IMAX frame is packed with epic monsters destroying cities, punching mountains and belching hell-fire.
Somewhere in amongst this carnage is a by-the-numbers family melodrama hopelessly trying to be the film’s emotional centre. Mark Russell (Kyle Chandler) finds himself locked in a battle with his former lab partner and ex-wife Dr. Emma Russell both struggling to deal with the death of their young son in an end game that could cost billions of people their lives. They might have been better off Skyping a bereavement therapist once a week than inventing the Orca device just saying. Their poor daughter Madison (Millie Bobby Brown) is left to jump skittishly between her parents warring pro and anti Godzilla ideologies. The Russell family will hopefully be neatly sidestepped in Godzilla vs Kong (2020) like the Brody family before them because really nobody cares about the humans in a Gojira film.
The only way this cement mixer paced film stays on the rails is because the entire cast plays every scene earnestly like it was Hamlet at the Globe Theatre. God-bless them all. Oh, apart from Charles Dance who clearly can’t help himself send-up the ludicrous dialogue. Yet director and co-writer Micheal Dougherty brings a childhood love and reverence for Godzilla portraying him as a reluctant and misunderstood prizefighter who puts on the boxing gloves to save humanity again and again throughout history. He’s the scaly, mean-eyed and roaring star of the show and the only downside is literally everything else pales in comparison, which makes you wonder why does he bother saving the annoying ant-like humans?
Without spoiling anything from the final showdown between Godzilla and King Ghidorah. It is the visual equivalent of your uncle blasted out of his skull on Monster Energy drink in a Godzilla onsie playing air guitar so hard his brains start dribbling out of his nose. I loved it!
Yes, this latest entry into the Godzilla movie cannon is silly almost to the point of touching the cartoonish levels of Roland Emmerich’s Godzilla, the 1998 action cheese-fest and the original Hollywood reimagining of the big ol’ lizard. But between the campy quips, untimely deaths and nuclear powered haymakers there is a shuddering B-movie brilliance to Godzilla and his monster mates that is eye-poppingly raw and powerful. Yep, this Godzilla sequel is king of the monsters so far without a doubt.
Godzilla: King Of The Monsters just might be the new mega-heavyweight champion in all out monster movie brawls!