Review: Godzilla: King of the Monsters
All filler, no thriller
When the Godzilla reboot hit cinemas in 2014, a lot of people - including me - were excited for an epic cinematic experience featuring a popular culture global icon in the monster world. We happily bought tickets and settled into our seats to see what Hollywood could produce from the Japanese originals.
Director Gareth Edwards’ successfully delivered ripples of thrills, wonder and surprise as the giant reptilian terror rose from the deep seas to fight off a number of Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms (MUTO), causing tsunamis and utter devastation along the way.
The impressive recreation of Japan’s most famous fictional icon was pulled off spectacularly; and so it was only right that, just like many others, I went to see the sequel Godzilla: King of the Monsters with high expectations upon its release last week.
Popcorn was ready to be consumed at extremely fast rates as I prepared myself for another thrilling adventure in the next Monsterverse installment.
As the 2014 film ended with Godzilla being hailed as a potential saviour of the world, I could not wait for him to fill the big screen again; but this time as the rightful King of the Monsters.
And of course, I was also rooting for Millie Bobby Brown in a movie! I mean, who does not love buzz-cut Eggos-loving Eleven (cue Stranger Things music).
But unfortunately, it is with much disappointment I must report I slumped back in my seat and almost fell asleep in the first half.
My heart sank as I found myself cringing at lazy dialogues, weak attempts at humour, mismatched plots, seemingly emotionless characters and a complete lack of unforgettable action.
Director Michael Dougherty made a good attempt at portraying Godzilla as the "King of the Monsters", but with several other Titans featured in this film, from Mothra and Rodan to the “too scary to speak about” Ghidorah, it just lacked the punch of a visually exciting roller coaster.
Although the film climbed in intensity after the first hour, the narrative and plot structure did not hold enough substance to carry it through as a success.
Vera Farmiga, who is well known for her stellar performance in thriller The Conjuring, failed to emulate the necessary actions and reactions for a mother turned eco-terrorist who thought awakening the monsters would do the world good.
Millie Bobby Brown’s struggle to choose between her father, mother and her own moral compass just made for a confusing character arc, which did not allow her to develop as a strong cast member. And Kyle Chandler’s mediocre acting skills as an ex-husband, father, and animal behaviorist was a bore to watch.
But not all is bad! Zhang Ziyi (Memoirs of a Geisha) and Ken Watanabe (Inception) offered genuine performances as employees of secret scientific organisation "Monarch" and some stills of gargantuan monster battles were arguably spectacular.
Without giving anything away, it was quietly strange how much this film had similar connotations to two of this year’s biggest releases on the big and small screen, namely Avengers: Endgame and the final season of Game of Thrones.
So for God(zilla)’s sake, give this one a skip UNLESS you’re completely fine with cheap dialogue, average performances and a weak story line, mixed through bits and pieces of gigantic creatures ripping at each other’s throats. Fingers crossed Godzilla vs Kong proves very different upon its release next year.