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.
Director Michael Dougherty picks up the Godzilla reigns from Gareth Edwards in the new film King of the Monsters, continuing the series from where the 2014 film left off, albeit with largely a new cast of characters at the centre of it.
This time around events escalate much more quickly, with more titans on screen and a faster pace to the overall film. The 2014 film was quite patient and conservative with its use of titans especially earlier on in the film using different techniques to keep things concealed, however King of the Monsters gets straight into the action. It weaves together a predictable but workable story to move across the various locations upon which these titans fight.
A few different sub-plots are woven together to drive the action through the film, some of these elements work better than others. There’s the obvious research scientist plot, with characters divided on whether humanity should try to exterminate the titans or find peaceful coexistence. Along this thread the continuity of Ken Wantanabe’s character over the two films is one of the better character arcs in this setting, while he doesn’t have a lot of screen time here his scenes tend to be some of the most effective.
Dougherty who also worked on the screenplay introduces a family element to the film, and while it’s easy to see what he was going for in terms of raising the emotional stakes, these scenes aren’t as compelling as they should be. The chemistry of the various family members on screen isn’t overly convincing, and often their interrelationships distract from wider action elements rather than capitalising on them.
There are so many convoluted plot points peppered throughout the film, it feels as though much of it was written without much forethought as to where the story or action set pieces were going. The script on the page also plays out in a fairly blunt and clunky nature on screen, the dialogue at times is laughable, the exposition is obvious and other than one featured character moment there isn’t anything really memorable about these characters or their actions. However most of the audiences aren’t here to see if the character and plot elements hang together, they want to see the titans fight so does King of the Monsters deliver?
In short yes it does, there’s plenty of fun carnage going on here, mostly involving Godzilla of course but there’s more variety in all the titans on screen as well. Travelling to a few different locales for the monster match-ups, the devastation spans the globe across urban, aquatic and arctic settings titans vs titans as well as a blend of humans with military hardware thrown in for good measure. The scale of these fights, the destruction on screen and the excellent visual effects for these creatures and action sequences is a visual spectacular that is easily enjoyed.
The cast here are tasked with delivering mostly single note performances, Kyle Chandler and Vera Farmiga are able to do this effortlessly throughout the film. Millie Bobby Brown has done better work with better material elsewhere but she’s effective here as mostly a distressed child with a defiant underbelly. Charles Dance is an interesting casting choice however, he’s a great actor and is consistent here but at the same time his character in this film is near on pointless with little to do.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters is a fun film filled with titan fights, a variety of locales, and great visual effects. But it’s held back by some blunt exposition, flimsy characters, and a running time which is about 20 mins longer than needed.
I’m giving it 6.5 out of 10, it’s in cinemas around Australia from 30th May 2019.