Perhaps the biggest surprise claimed by Godzilla King of the monsters is that it is the legendarily giant Japanese monster that lays claim to the title and not celebrity salad dodger Gemma Collins. But this follow up to the 2014 film is a different beast. Many of the complaints about the first film in the Monster-verse was slow and there wasn’t enough of the large lizard in it but Godzilla King of the Monsters wastes no time in getting straight to the action and the monsters.
With Dr Emma Russell (Vera Farmiga) now divorced from Mark (Kyle Chandler) she has custody of her teenage daughter Madison (Millie Bobby Brown) and is working for Monarch a zoological agency that’s researching Godzilla and the other Titans they’ve found around the world. So when Dr Russell and her team are nurturing what turns out to be Mothra all seems well until the giant larva erupts just as a team of eco-terrorists led by Charles Dance sets it free and takes the Dr and Madison hostage. So right from the start writer-director doesn’t wait around before getting straight to the first of its monsters and its not long before the terrorists are setting free a deep frozen three headed King Ghidorah that culminates in the first face off with our Godzilla both seemingly keen to be King of the Monsters!
It’s an impressive battle and the wizards led by Oscar winning CGI wizard Guillame Rocheron have done themselves proud with Godzilla laying waste to buildings and breathing noxious fumes everywhere in a manner not too dissimilar to our Editor at last years Christmas party. (‘You’re fired!’ – Ed) . Here though it’s Dr Russell with her ‘orca’ machine a device that achieves the sonic frequency of the monsters that enables her to control them yet it’s her who turns out to be in cahoots with Charles Dance – her reason being one that the recent Extinction Rebellion protesters could identify with (in fact so much so that the Monarch logo is almost identical to theirs), believing that the human race is on a path of self destruction through over population and climate apocalypse and the elevation of D list celebrities that they decide that the world can co-exist with the long thought extinct Titans who will bring some balance to the world. It’s as good an idea as hiring Brooklyn Beckham to bring some celebrity sparkle to Cannes before realizing he has all the charisma of a 10 years in a coma patient.
Knowing that his daughter is with his apparently brainy yet now bonkers mum, Mark joins the government forces to rescue her as an apocalyptic brawl of beasts set about demolishing city’s led by Ghidorah with the world’s only possible salvation being Godzilla who’s laid low after a fight.
Director Dougherty is clearly a fan-boy and gets into the action with monsters galore involved in all manner of punch ups treating the planet as its playground and we have the classic Japanese originals that also includes Rodan as well as a whole bunch of new beasts that are briefly glimpsed throughout the film most significantly King Kong who will be part of next summers Godzilla vs Kong and there’s a fair sprinkling of back story. Understandably Godzilla King of the monsters is all about the monsters and here they are brilliantly rendered and magnificently majestic as they blaze a trail of destruction and for once it’s not London or New York but Boston which gets flattened. It’s all spectacle and the human element plays a minor role though there’s significant amount of self sacrifice by many of the characters on suicide missions that are all for the greater good. The script can’t resist the standard tropes:, the conflicted family ties, the child in mortal danger, the military mentalists and the quirky wise cracking character here played by Bradley Whitford who’s lines are irritating rather than laugh out loud funny.
But this is a monster movie so don’t expect the towering titans to be sitting around having an in depth Marxist dialectic about the nature of international materialism because like every Godzilla film this is essentially giant beasts battering each other as they stomp all over cityscapes and Godzilla King of the Monsters is all about the spectacle.
Oh!……and do wait til the very end of the credits for the obligatory teaser scene .
Here’s the Godzilla King of the Monsters trailer…….
…….and here’s the director and the cast introducing the film at the London premiere!