Godzilla: King of the Monsters Review (IMAX)

One of the most iconic shots in the film features King Ghidorah and a foreground cross.

I saw Godzilla: King of the Monsters yesterday in a IMAX cinema and it was loud, filled with CGI, and monsters fighting. I am a quiet fan of Godzilla films so the movie should be great, but is it?

Godzilla: King of the Monsters is the latest American monster film, a sequel to Godzilla (2014) and the latest film in Legendary’s MonsterVerse and the third Hollywood Godzilla film. The main plot revolves around the magical “Orca” device capable of emitting frequencies that only the monsters (Titans or Kaiju) can hear. Eco-terrorists led by Colonel Alan Jonah (Charles Dance) take the device and used it to open the monster equivalent of Pandora’s box by awaking all the Titans on earth. What follows is chaos and death but the terrorists believe it’s for the greater good. I never saw the 2014 film and while it would help if I did for the overall story it isn’t essential to know what is happening.

I watched the film in IMAX so the first thing I noticed was the 3D effects and the computer-generated imagery (CGI) used. For me, the 3D didn’t really add anything to the film, and I wouldn’t of mind watching it in 2D. The use of 3D mixed with real humans and CGI monsters looks terrible in most instances in the film. It just looks like they are looking at a green screen. However, when it just monsters fighting each other it looks amazing but once again you can still tell its fake. Less CGI should be used and more practical effects.

The sounds in the film are atmospheric and suitable for the scenes taking place. All the times the familiar Godzilla music kicks in are great but the rest of the music used is mostly forgettable. I would have liked more different languages being spoken, as everyone speaks English even though the events involve the whole world.

For a film that should be based mostly on the Titans, a lot of it is focused on humanity. The main characters are the Russell family: Emma (Vera Farmiga), Madison (Millie Bobby Brown), and Mark (Kyle Chandler) and are mostly there for the audience to have a human story to follow but they are annoying at best and laughable at worse.

The Monarch cast of characters: Diane (Aisha Hinds), Sam (Thomas Middleditch), Ishiro (Ken Watanabe), Vivienne (Sally Hawkins), Rick (Bradley Whitford) and the twins (Zhang Ziyi) are more interesting and perform their parts well, are involved in some amusing moments and have some good dialogue. Even if there are too many characters to care about and Rick acted and made me think of Matthew Perry every time I saw him.

The cast of the film is quite impressive but a lot of the time they feel wasted. The best performances come from Diane, Charles, Thomas, Rick, and Ken who act out their skin to make the film at least watchable. While Millie and Vera drag down the whole film with cheesy acting, bad clichés and more. It is hard to care about the life of one girl when millions, if not billions of people have died throughout the film and the acting doesn’t help. Aisha Hinds is the star of the show with her performance even if she is playing a typical soldier type.

There are a few sad moments in the film which mostly revolve around Godzilla and Mothra getting hurt. For some CGI creatures, their relationship is touching and heart-warming too. I still don’t really get why Godzilla sometimes likes humans and sometimes doesn’t but it’s nice to have a friendly Godzilla to cheer for now and again.

The film goes on for two hours and twenty minutes where maybe three-quarters of it revolve around the humans and the rest with the Titans fighting and doing stuff. There is Titan imagery stitched throughout the movie but most of the time they aren’t doing much and what they are doing isn’t shown often enough.

You might not notice but there are nine Titans (Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra, King Ghidorah, Baphomet, Typhoon, Abaddon, Bunyip, Methuselah) in total shown but they are never really used to great affect. Maybe in the sequel, there will be one big royal rumble involving them all but until then it feels like a missed opportunity to add more flavour to less known Titans and to see them in action more. However, Godzilla should still be the main focus which this film fails to do again.

You will have to suspend your sense of disbelief often in the film. There are moments that are so emerging breaking or stupid that you are often taken out of the experience. Of course the film is about giant monsters fighting but if a child can outrun lightning from King Ghidorah but on the other hand experienced pilots in fighter jets can’t then it feels senseless. You don’t feel danger for the major characters because they seem involved in everything and able to teleport around the world. In one bit Mark gets caught in a shockwave and gets flung backward at eye blinking speed into a back of a shipping container and doesn’t even mess up his hair. Another scene involves the team finding Atlantis while on a detour which again takes you out of the film.

Overall the film is entertaining, goes past quite quickly and never feels boring. It does, however, relies too much on clichés, bad Hollywood stereotyping, and gimmicks. If you are a fan of Godzilla you will have a generally good time but while it seems better than the 2014 film, it still doesn’t feel like a Godzilla film. Sure it has the military failing to kill Titans spectacularly, some destruction, and people getting eating, with Titans fighting each other in the rubble but there is too much talking in the film to pad out the duration. Hopefully, a sequel will involve more scenes with Godzilla and other Titans demolishing structures and suggest a bigger moral message about the futility and horror of nuclear weapons to humanity and the planet like the original films did.
Video:

Godzilla King of the Monsters Trailer.

Japan is still the king of Godzilla and America is the squire. Watch Shin Godzilla (Godzilla: Resurgence) if you haven’t yet as that is currently the best modern Godzilla film.

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