Legendary’s MonsterVerse continues with Godzilla: King of the Monsters, a sequel to Gareth Edward’s 2014 Godzilla. Thus far, this ‘verse hasn’t thrilled me: I remember thinking Edward’s version was just fine, but ultimately unremarkable, and I flat out HATED Kong: Skull Island (2017). But the big, stupid magic of watching kaijus fight each other in Doughtery’s film got me good.
The movie introduces us to Dr. Emma Russell (Vera Farmiga), her daughter, Madison (Millie Bobby Brown), and estranged Dad, Mark (Kyle Chandler). A tragedy in 2014 – caused by, yup, you guessed it, THE KING RADIOACTIVE LIZARD, has fractured the family. But while Mark retreated to remote jungles for some nature photography therapy, mom started working for Monarch (the government organization that monitors supersized monsters), determined to find a way to communicate with the monsters and bring out their “good” side with a sonic device she created.
Of course, NOTHING goes according to plan. Big Bad Jonah Allen (Charles Dance) and his squad of ruthless killers swoops in and kidnaps Emma, Madison, and the device she created in order to unleash every single monster Monarch has contained. His plan is to “restore balance” to the earth by letting the monsters eliminate most of humanity. This guy and Thanos would be BFFs.
Anyway! Dr. Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) and Dr. Chen (Ziyi Zhang) find Mark and let him know what’s up so he can swoop in to save the day, only to find things aren’t quite what they seem — and before you know it, OOPS! All the giant monsters have been let loose and are stomping around, destroying cities, and blowing shit up.
I said big and stupid above because it definitely IS; the dialog is rife with ridiculous clichés; the plot holes are downright cavernous (radiation poisoning? what radiation poisoning?); Charles Dance is the most villain-y villain ever, and Bradley Whitford is just like, FULL THROTTLE for the whole movie. I’m not complaining; these are all things I like, and even if I didn’t, I could overlook them easily because the monsters. are. so. damn. cool.
MONNNSTTTERRRSSSS!!!! !! !!! ! !
This film took me right back to all those weekends I spent in front of the tv consuming reruns of the original Japanese flicks from the 50s, 60s, and 70s – cheering as rubber-suited monsters fought each other, and scientists schemed up ways to make sure mankind was able to survive each battle.
I spent the entirety of King of the Monsters experiencing ASMR whenever Godzilla’s signature RAWR was emitted, kicking my feet in excitement – which dangled off the end of the fancy theater recliners and made me feel as small as I did when I was a kid – and clapping while cackling maniacally whenever my fave monsters showed up.
Is my face cracked from smiling? It sure feels like it.