In 2014, director Gareth Edwards brought us the visually stunning, yet tediously slow Godzilla – a reboot of the long-running Japanese monster series. In 2017, the film was (sort of) followed up by Kong: Skull Island – a bombastic and very fun reboot of King Kong, set in the same universe as Godzilla.
The third entry in this MonsterVerse – Godzilla: King of the Monsters – opened in cinemas today and is without doubt the LOUDEST entry yet. I just got back from watching the movie at my local IMAX and it’s possible I’ve lost hearing in both ears.
*Hears ringing noise in left ear*
What did you say?
*Waggles finger in ear*
Was it worth it?
The monsters in this movie (the real draw of the picture) are fantastic to behold. The human characters, not so much.
Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, Charles Dance (I could go on) are all wasted in this movie. To say they are playing cardboard characters would be an understatement – I’m not even sure they are characters!
Farmiga gets the shittiest end of the stick, being lumbered with a role that makes NO sense. At one point she delivers some mumbo jumbo dialogue about cleansing the Earth and not only did I not believe a word she said, I don’t even think she believed it!
Don’t get me wrong, I think Farmiga is a great actress, who can sell the heck out of anything, but here she clearly checked out when it came time to film her scenes and I didn’t blame her. As each word left her mouth, I could see the look in her eyes that said “I might as well be talking in tongues – this is bollocks”.
It was bollocks. Her character motivations were all over the place and she was wasted.
Although I’m amazed I could hear anything she said – not because of all the bashing and crashing from the monsters (which I happily welcomed), but because of ALL THE SHOUTING that the characters did around her. Charles Dance in particular should win an award for this film, for managing to shout most people off the screen!
Bravo, Mr. Dance.
But of course, I didn’t stump up the cash to watch King of the Monsters for the human interactions – nope, I was in this purely for the creatures and this is where the film didn’t disappoint. King of the Monsters is packed to the rafters with beasts, including the fantastically frightening star of the movie, King Ghidorah!
Just look at him!
Like something plucked from a Ray Harryhausen movie, King Ghidorah was mesmerising to behold. From the moment he appeared on screen, this was the monster I championed. Not Godzilla, who spent a great deal of time off camera, but Ghidorah who commanded every scene he appeared in.
Had Warner Bros. wanted to save some cash, the studio could have easily ditched the human cast in favour of giving Ghidorah more screen time. I can’t say it would have made the movie any better, but it certainly would have made it visually more appealing.
Speaking of the visuals, for the most part King of the Monsters is stunning, especially when viewed in IMAX, where the likes of Big G, King Ghidorah and their peers (Mothra, Rhodan etc) get a chance to shine. The wheels only started to fall off towards the end of the movie when so much action was thrown at the screen everything began to blur into incomprehensible nonsense.
Remember those Transformers movies where you couldn’t tell who was fighting who during the action scenes? Yeah, well King of the Monsters veers into this territory during the final act too, and I wasn’t quite sure if Godzilla was laying the smackdown on Ghidorah or a Decepticon!
OK, so it wasn’t quite that bad, but it was a little messy at times and my eyes began to glaze over. I certainly felt like I lost track of what was going on, but by that point I felt like I’d got my money’s worth so I didn’t really care.
After two hours, I was exhausted. Maybe that’s the real power of this movie – to knock audiences into submission!
Ultimately, Godzilla: King of the Monsters is an improvement on 2014’s Godzilla, but it is not a great movie. It’s fine and if this is a film you want to watch then go see it – just don’t expect to feel entirely fulfilled.
Kong: Skull Island remains the benchmark of this MonsterVerse and there’s still some way to go until these films perfect the formula. I’ll happily re-watch Skull Island, but I’m not sure I’ll be revisiting Godzilla or King of the Monsters any time soon and I don’t know what that says about this ongoing series which is now three movies deep?!
Does it matter?
Like the people who keep watching all those Children of the Corn sequels (you know who you are), I am still willing to stick with the MonsterVerse in the hope that the next entry is better than the last. I don’t expect 2020’s Godzilla vs. Kong, will be the Citizen Kane of creatue features, but if it continues to offer up decent spectacle then it is at least worth the price of admission.
King of the Monsters is a movie to see if you really like Godzilla films, or you’re a King Ghidorah groupie (who isn’t?), but it’s not the must-see movie of the summer. Unfortunately, for me it falls into Detective Pikachu territory – it’s one for the mega fans, not for casual cinemagoers.