Movie Review: Godzilla – Did This Help or Hurt the Monsterverse?

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Titans Mothra, Ghidorah and Rodan
Titans Mothra, Ghidorah and Rodan

Godzilla: King of Monsters sat high on my list of 2019 most anticipated movies. I was really looking forward to this movie. What I hoped for a movie to break the string of average movies this year, but it ended up as king of the so-so heap. While this film had its fun parts, Godzilla: King of Monsters largely fell short of expectations on ALL fronts.

Did Godzilla: King of the Monsters Fix The Last Movie?

One of the biggest complaints about the 2014 relaunch of Godzilla was how it followed humans for far too long. Godzilla lingered in the background for much of the movie, leaving the focus on the humans. This isn’t quite what fans of Kaiju movies want. Did this movie fix that? Not really. No.

When Godzilla is on screen he is front and center, but once again the story focuses on the humans far too much. We get the starts of a great fight between Godzilla and Ghidorah early on, but of course that humans interrupt that so we can experience a real fight at the end.

Not only do the humans take up as much screen time, but this time around they suck even worse than the first movie. The 2014 version I thought used the humans well, if a bit excessively. There is nothing redeemable about the humans in this movie.

Inadequate Humans

Cast Members Charles Dance, Millie Bobby Brown and Vera Farmiga
Cast Members Charles Dance, Millie Bobby Brown and Vera Farmiga

For starters, the bad humans are nothing but a militant, anti-human, environmentalist group who want to unleash all of the kaiju’s across the world to destroy human life and restore balance to the planet. Once again humans are the parasite/disease. Stale and lifeless would be too nice a description.

The two most anticipated actors in this movie were Millie Bobby Brown and Charles Dance. The problem is Dance barely makes an entrance in the film and to no real effect. Millie did wonderful in her part, but it was such an inconsequential part it wasn’t rewarding enough. She needs bigger, better roles (cough-young Leia-cough).

As for the rest of the cast, quite honestly you could replace every single actor in the film with the cast from Sharknado 5 and not lose anything. In fact you might improve some performances. Inconsequential side-note: Why was Kyle Chandler in this movie? It drove me nuts that he was in Peter Jackson’s Kong, which is the one not canon to this monsterverse. It’s like casting Famke Jansen in this year’s Dark Phoenix as one of Magneto’s stooges.

We Want Godzilla Fighting Kaiju Not Oscars

Godzilla squares off against Ghidorah for king of the monsters
Godzilla Versus Ghidorah

Most responses to this type of criticism have to do with “We go to monster movies for monsters, not Oscar performances.” I totally agree with this! The thing is I had issues with the kaiju(Titans in this movie) as well.

A great deal of the fighting was magnificent. Godzilla versus Ghidorah matched up beautifully as a fight for the Kingship of monsters. None of this disappointed. Although I think the animation, especially on Ghidorah, could have been better. At times Ghidorah seemed very static and puppet like in the face. A bit more expression would have helped the fight at times. The Game of Thrones dragons for example showed a great deal of emotion.

My largest problem with the monsters were – well – the lack of monsters. Trailers billed this movie as a huge Kaiju royal rumble. We were told it would feature Godzilla, Ghidorah, Rodan, Mothra and more. While they were all technically there, they did very little in the film. Too much of the final fight was a 1v1 between the big boys. Rodan and Mothra show up briefly later, but that is short lived and quickly side lined. I really thought this would be the case of Godzilla versus multiple titans.

Is This Godzilla Film the End of the Monsterverse?

After the lowest box office opening of the three monsterverse movies, is the franchise in trouble? Not yet. There are two things that this Godzilla did well. The first is setting up the planet. The titans are seeded all over the planet. Some of them are meant to wipe humans out when they become too much, while other like Big G protect us and hold the titans in check, so they can easily summon more monsters believably. How does this help?

Godzilla

KONG! A teaser image in Skull Island hinted at the existence of Godzilla. In this Godzilla movie Kong and Skull Island are mentioned openly and frequently. This movie did a great job setting up the next movie which is in fact Godzilla vs King Kong! That match up alone is almost as big as Batman vs Superman! Let’s hope they don’t become allies because Godzilla yells “Save Mothra!”

In fact during the first half of the credits we are flashed news headlines from all over the planet after the awakening of all the titans. It is difficult to read as they switch very quickly, but early on you see Skull Island mentioned. By the end they are all talking about Skull Island and Kong. They spell out the battle to come.

How Good Is He?

Is this a great movie? No. There are simply too many problems with it on every end, but if you first set your mind to – this is a monster movie, and go into it for the love of the titan battles that will help. I honestly thing the 2014 version was done more effectively than this go around, but it was enjoyable all the same. I would say wait til home video for this one, but one does not love Kaiju movies and want to watch them solely on the little screen! This is GODZILLA! The big screen is a must if you love giant battles.

Final Score: 82

(But… Then There’s This…)

At the end of ALL the credits there is a post credit scene. I will not say anything about it other than it is a MUST SEE! It redeems the casting of Charles Dance as they aren’t finished with his character, but also there is…that other thing….

2 Comments

  1. Cody Cameron
  2. Matthew

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