5 years after the Gareth Edwards helmer launched the MonsterVerse, Godzilla returns in a monster movie mashup, aptly titled King of the Monsters. While I enjoyed the 2014 version, I couldn’t help but feel that I was cheated in a few instances since the film kept cutting back to the human storyline every time everyone’s favorite lizard came up on screen. And when the sequel was announced, I’m dead sure I wasn’t the only one who expected the film’s titular character to have more screen time. And Michael Dougherty delivered. Quite well I must say.
The story begins with the King’s roar, in the devastation that is San Francisco in 2014. The Russells desperately search for their boy child, Andrew amidst the rubble. Kyle Chandler’s character instantly forms a hatred against the creature he deems responsible for his child’s death and we cut to five years later, the couple has separated – their daughter, Maddie (Millie Bobby Brown) lives with her paleobiologist mother, Emma played by Vera Farmiga. Emma has developed a signaling device called the Orca, one that emits a frequency that can control the Titans.
Since Godzilla’s rampage five years earlier, the world is now aware of the existence of the radioactive titans, massive beasts in hibernation around the world. Introduce Charles Dance’s Alan Jonah, an eco-terrorist who wants to unleash the Titans upon Earth and allow them to reclaim the planet due to the fact that humans continually destroy it via pollution. While his motive against humanity makes sense in a Thanos-ish way, the execution is quite poor and lacks conviction. Monarch manages to get Dr. Russell to come on board after his wife and daughter are kidnapped by Jonah and he seems to know more about the Titans and their behavior than the rest of the Monarch team who have spent years studying the beasts. This is primarily where the film fails, in its human characters – but then again, I wouldn’t be one to complain too much. Everyone knows what to expect from a Kaiju movie right? Massive city-leveling monster battles and thunderous booms.
Ken Watanabe’s character has bigger presence in the movie as well. And while I am definitely NOT happy with how they handled Sally Hawkins’ Dr. Graham, Serizawa at least gets to do something worthwhile and kickstarts a badass third act. The monsters are the prime focus of the movie, and the designs are done right. Godzilla, at one point emerges from the water, newly powered with larger dorsal fins akin to his 1954 Japanese counterpart. Ghidorah is simply terrifying and ominous while Mothra takes flight with female elegance and beauty. The Kaiju each have their own personalities which are well engraved within the animation, truly impressive.
While King of the Monsters may have been a sequel to Godzilla, at times it did feel a bit jam-packed and its true purpose is pretty obvious – to set up the Kong vs Godzilla sequel. I mean, they name drop Kong quite a lot so I guess we’ll be hearing from the gigantic ape before too long.
All in all, if you are a monster movie fan, this movie will leave you delighted and be sure to experience the Kaiju in all their behemoth glory at cinemas.
Courtesy of Akash SK