Godzilla: King of the Monsters – Good, Bad & Ugly Review

The crypto-zoological agency Monarch faces off against a battery of god-sized monsters, including the mighty Godzilla, who collides with Mothra, Rodan, and his ultimate nemesis, the three-headed King Ghidorah. – (Source)

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 39% (Critics) / 86% (Audience)
MetaScore: 48 – mixed or average reviews
Directed By: Michael Dougherty
Written By: Michael Dougherty
Starring: Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown and Ken Watanabe
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures

The Good:
As a person who spent many a weekend as a child camped out in front of the TV watching the old Toho produced Godzilla movies I cannot emphasis how tickled pink it makes me to be able to see full on Kaiju battles done in such beautiful and realistic looking big budget CGI. When you are used to stunt men in rubber suits flopping around a Styrofoam recreation of Tokyo it almost brings a tear to my geeky, Godzilla loving eyes to see these same characters done right.

My list of favorite Kaiju has a certain gigantic regal moth at the top of the list I was over the moon watching Mothra on the big screen. Not only was she given the rightful designation of “Queen of the Monsters” but she was shown to be humanity’s protector which is right in line with how the character is supposed to be depicted. And my Mothra fanboy glee got turned up to 100 with the little Easter Egg that was snuck into the film (it was so fast and subtle that most likely missed it) by way of Zhang Ziyi‘s brief dual role turn as the Doctors Chen that gave a callback to The Shobijin, the miniature twin acolytes/guardians/protectors of
And I cannot do a review of this movie without commending director/writer Michael Dougherty whose unbridled fanboy love for the Godzilla universe comes through in every beautifully shot scene of a Kaiju rampaging, fighting or just standing still and looking glorious.

The Bad:
The biggest issue with GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS is the same issue that I had with 2014’s GODZILLA…the humans drag the film down. And amazingly the folks who made this movie took a look at how awful Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s soldier hero was in GODZILLA and decided to triple down on the awful with the tedious travails of the wholly unlikable Russell Family. Despite the three Russells being played by actors I normally like (Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, and Millie Bobby Brown), I loathed this family and was annoyed with every second of excessive screen time they were given.

Being truthful I wasn’t a fan of most of the humans in this movie. With the exception of Ziyi’s Dr. Chen, Ken Watanabe‘s Dr. Serizawa and Charles Dance as the villainous eco-terrorist Jonah Alan, I was displeased with every human being who seemed to only exist to move a laboriously lazy plot forward and keep me from watching awesome Kaiju beatdowns.

Having Rodan be one of Ghidorah’s henchmonsters was not cool as far as this old school Godzilla Universe fan is concerned. Rodan is supposed to be temperamental but deep down he’s abidingly loyal to Godzilla, he darn sure isn’t supposed to be a lackey for Ghidorah and attacks Mothra without a second thought. I call shenanigans on this characterization of the winged monster.

The Ugly:
The tertiary monsters that were awakened in this movie were a total letdown to me. Where was King Caesar? They mentioned Skull Island but we couldn’t even get a glimpse of King Kong? And I know that his rights are owned by a different studio but Gamera is almost as popular as Godzilla…Warner Brothers has to be willing to cough up some cash to get the giant turtle added to the monster mash.

Final Verdict: A gorgeously shot spectacle of a movie that hit all the necessary beats one needs to see in a Godzilla movie but comes up lacking when the attention goes away from the giant monsters and focuses on the unappealing group of humans who take up far too much of this movie’s running time.

Grade: B-

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