Godzilla: King of the Monsters

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I have been a Godzilla fan since I was but a wee-little geek watching the rubber suited Godzilla in films such as Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, or Godzilla vs. Mothra or Godzilla vs. Megalon at the movie theater matinees on Sunday afternoons in the summer.  Ah, the good old days.

of course, none of those movies are any good by today’s standards, but Godzilla has survived and has returned to the forefront of the new movie series from Warner Brothers, a direct sequel to 2014’s divisive Godzilla reboot.

When I first saw the 2014 movie, I loved it.  I think I even gave it a five star review.  Interestingly enough, the second time I saw it, I found it a little dull.  I still enjoyed it, but it felt as if my initial enthusiasm may have led me to over rate the film.

Despite this, I was looking forward to Godzilla: King of the Monsters just because of how much I love Godzilla.  I understood most of the criticisms from the last film, especially about how there was not enough Godzilla action ( which did not bother me much) and that the human characters were not engaging enough (agreed).

Godzilla: King of the Monsters certainly had more monster action (although Godzilla still is not used as much as many would like) and, unfortunately, many of the human characters are still fairly dull.

That is a shame because the cast is top notch.  Vera Farmiga is never bad, and she has a decent character arc and I always enjoy Millie Bobby Brown, who plays Farmiga’s daughter.  Kyle Chandler plays Brown’s father and Farmiga’s ex-husband.  They are fine but the story and dialogue they are handed is underwhelming.  They deserve more and they should be commended for reaching for the next level.

Early in the film, there is a storyline that is surprising and I did like that, but it really does not go anywhere.  The human are once again the weakest part of the movie, but to be fair, the human characters and story are miles ahead of the previous movie.

We get cool redesigns of all of the great Titans from the Godzilla mythos, as we continue to build toward something big.  The hints dropped about Skull Island and Kong are clearly leading us toward the upcoming Godzilla vs. King Kong film.  That should be epic, but, for now, we are filling up the rogues gallery with King Ghidorah, Rodan, Mothra, and several other CGI creatures.

This movie really hits its stride when we get the giant monsters fighting scenes, even though a few times they are a little darker than I would have liked.  Godzilla facing off with these creatures, mainly King Ghidorah, makes for a rousing good time at the theater.  It feels as if the producers do not trust that a film with a lot of monster fights is strong enough to carry the story on its own.  So they throw talented actors to fill time between the tussles.

Or maybe they just have not yet taken the time to develop the human characters to the level that we care about them as much as we do the monsters.  I thought the Vera Farmiga character started off well, but it slipped back into the same basic thing we have seen before.

Some people claim that you should not expect great characters in a monster movie but I disagree with that.  If you tighten up the writing, it helps out everything about the movie.

I did like this movie, even though I can see its flaws.  I am not giving this a five star review as I did last time because my head is not in the sand as it was before.  Godzilla:King of the Monsters is a good time that could have been a great time and hopefully, when Godzilla goes one-on-one with the great ape, that greatest will get a chance to shine through.

4 stars

 

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