“Godzilla” is a franchise that’s over 65 years old. The original 1954 film debuted in Japan under the title, “Gojira.” Two years later, the film was given an international release with new footage and dubbing for an American audience—inserting Raymond Burr as the starring role—and under a new title, “Godzilla, King of the Monsters!” While Godzilla is a Japanese creation, his moniker as King of all Monsters was unintentionally created by American Cinema, a title that’s stuck throughout the entire franchise. Now, the world’s biggest star returns in the all-new American made movie, “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.”
The film takes place five years after the 2014 events of “Godzilla.” The world has forever changed knowing that giant creatures referred to as Titans exist on Earth. The government believes they should all be destroyed, while Dr. Serizawa (Ken Watanbe) and Monarch, the organization dedicated to studying these creatures, want to preserve them. However, things soon go from bad to worse for Monarch when an unknown eco-terrorist organization led by a man named Jonah Alan (Charles Dance) attack one of their hidden labs.
Dr. Emma Russell (Vera Farmiga) and her daughter Madison (Millie Bobby Brown) are kidnapped during the attack, along with a special machine dubbed the Orca, a device capable of interacting with the Titans through frequencies. With it, Jonah plans on releasing a dormant Titan known as Monster Zero, a three-headed dragon powerful enough to challenge Godzilla. Once it’s free, it’ll be a winner take all fight as Monster Zero and Godzilla battle to decide who will be the top alpha on Earth and the true King of all Monsters. The film also stars Kyle Chandler, Mothra, and Rodan.
I’m going to cut to the chase and come out and say it. I loved this movie and I recommend it to anyone looking for an awesome monster movie. Before I delve into my reasons, however, there’s something I need to bring up. Since this film’s release, I’ve seen numerous critics tearing this film apart, yet their reasons have been conflicting. The most obvious have been complaints regarding too many scenes involving the Human sub-plot. Well, as a critic who’s actually seen the original Japanese films, I’m going to let you in on a secret. That’s how it’s always been.
Every Monster Movie, “Godzilla” included, has a set of rules it establishes in how the monster(s) impact the story and the people; and the audience sees that as we follow the human characters. With “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” we have Monarch who sees the Titans as creatures that need to be protected, while the government and other people see them as dangers that need to be destroyed. However, the film adds a spin to the story with Jonah and his eco-terrorists as it introduces a third viewpoint. That the monsters should be free to dominate and bring balance to a world Humans are ruining by allowing them to destroy civilization.
Suddenly, instead of it being monsters against monsters, with humans caught in the middle, the story is centered around both sides. Now it’s about good monsters against bad monsters, and good humans against bad humans. I know it sounds a tad droll and maybe a bit simplistic—Good versus Evil—but considering franchises like “Star Wars” and “Marvel” have been using that concept for decades, I’m going to give “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” a free pass. And speaking of the monsters, I’ve been looking forward to this part of the review because they are absolutely epic in this film!
From the moment we see our first monster, all the way to the final shot, the effects in this movie are some of the best I’ve seen out of any “Godzilla” film. While the days of men in monster suits are gone, for better or worse, the CGI on the monsters deserves a nomination for Best Effects. You can see the sheer size and strength they possess on screen. From the way they move, fight, even the way they fly is given great detail. There was one outstanding scene where just the flap of a monster’s wings decimated a whole village. And that is only one of several epic moments!
“Godzilla: King of the Monsters” is rated PG-13 for sequences of monster action, violence, and destruction, along with some language. If it comes off like I’m being too overly positive about this movie, well that’s just because this film feels like a real entry into the Godzilla franchise. I didn’t even mention the treasure trove of references the film is packed with, including the fact they brought back the monsters original themes from the Japanese movies. It feels like it was made by people who understood and respected the source material. While I’m willing to concede that the movie might not meet the expectations of every filmgoer out there, I can confirm it’s worth a view even if you’re not a Godzilla fan. If you are, however, then quit reading this and go see it because the final score for “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” is an outstanding 9 out of 10!
Marco Island resident and avid moviegoer, Matthew Mendisana is a Lynn University alumnus. While he possesses a bachelor’s degree in science, it’s the arts that attracted his attention. In his four years at Lynn, Matthew managed to achieve Magna Cum Laude status, earn three publications in the Lynn University magazine, make a short documentary featured in the university’s Film Festival, and created a radio PSA that was later broadcasted overseas.