Film Review: Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Director Michael Dougherty’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters is something of a po-faced monster movie. The emphasis on the human characters weighs the film down.

It has been five years since Godzilla attacked, and the monster has not been seen since. Agency Monarch has to fight against a series of monsters, as the monsters battle each other…

Director and co-writer Michael Dougherty (with co-writers Zach Shields) brings the monsters together with Godzilla: King of the Monsters, a follow up to 2014’s Godzilla. The opening ten minutes is an exciting introduction to the film, succinctly introducing the narrative set up. After this, the film settles into a standard pattern for an action blockbuster, with several scenes there to provide exposition on the monsters and current state of affairs, interspersed with big action set pieces.

There are a few good thrills, where Dougherty plays up horror aspect of the monster movie. The additional monsters are introduced quite quickly; it feels like a rush to pit the monsters against each other. Viewers do not get to have a full appreciation of these new monsters.

The script is rather lacklustre. The dialogue is exposition heavy, and lacks any particular character. The explanation of Dr Russell’s actions, which occurs about a third of the way through the film, is bizarre in its need to illustrate the rather basic things she mentions with images. The film does not really earn its moments of gravitas, as the characters are not fleshed out in any meaningful way. The frequent cuts to the human activity during the big fight sequences exposes Godzilla: King of the Monsters‘ flaws.

The moving camera does help to infuse the film with a sense of urgency. The CGI effects are not particularly seamless. In some of the scenes, there is simply a whirlwind of CGI and bright lights, which is not particularly exciting to watch. The real star of the film is the sound. The sound effects for the monsters, in particular, are most impressive. The film boasts a good cast including Ken Watanabe, Vera Farmiga, and Kyle Chandler. The script does not give them much to work with unfortunately.

Given the high-concept premise, Godzilla: King of the Monsters should have been a lot more fun.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters is available on DVD, Blu-ray™, 3D Blu-ray™ and 4K Ultra HD from 14th October 2019.

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