It’s been five long years since the reboot of “Godzilla”. And two years ago, Warner Bros. gave us a new take on the famous giant ape with “Kong: Skull Island”. Most people know, going into “Godzilla: King of the Monsters”, that these two titans will be facing-off in next year’s “Godzilla v. Kong”. And if you don’t, don’t worry, “King of the Monsters” hits you over the head with multiple, not-so-subtle teases.
So this film serves as simply filler until then. And when the word “filler” is used to describe something, it’s usually not a positive.
“King of the Monsters” has a much wimpier story than its 2014 predecessor, though it features one of the most impressive casts of any movie in recent memory. You’ve got Oscar nominees Vera Farmiga, Sally Hawkins, Ken Watanabe and David Straithairn. Plus, Emmy winners Kyle Chandler and Bradley Whitford. There are also Emmy nominees Millie Bobby Brown, Thomas Middleditch and Charles Dance and Golden Globe nominee Ziyi Zhang. Two popular stars of the day — O’Shea Jackson, Jr. and Anthony Ramos — round things out.
But none of them is given anything to do but recite ridiculous dialogue while reacting to the antics of giant creatures created by digital artists months later. The core plot, if you can call it that, centers on scientist Farmiga, trying to cope with the death of her son in the first film. She builds a device that would, in theory, allow humans to live in harmony with Godzilla and the world’s other colossal creatures (including Mothra and Rodan). It’s not a good plan. There’s way too much talking and explaining — Whitford and Middleditch simply provide bad comic relief.
For a monster movie starring all the great monsters of all-time there really isn’t a ton of “monster on monster” action. However, Zilla & Co. do take the motto “When life knocks you down, you gotta get back up” to heart.
“King of the Monsters” is relentless, as it rages on from action sequences that attempt to meld everything together. Filming reportedly wrapped in September 2017. That means it took visual effects crews a year- and-a-half to do their thing. But, as striking as a handful of the battle sequences are, the rest of this over- wrought “Godzilla” chapter will drive even diehard fans of the genre a bit bananas.
Yes, I had to cap this review off with a “Kong” reference. See you in 2020 at the Battle Royale. In the meantime…
On The Official LCJ Report Card, “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” gets a D.
Running Time: 131 min.