Critics are calling Godzilla: King Of The Monsters an inferior sequel to the 2014 Godzilla reboot, but I contend that it’s just as bad. Just because these Star Wars fanboys enjoyed Gareth Edwards’ Rogue One, this possible fluke doesn’t make any of his other awful offerings any better. 2014’s Godzilla was a terrible movie, it was overrated by most critics but it was eventually forgotten by most movie-goers, in fact I’m surprised that there’s any interest in this follow-up. Godzilla II suffers from many of the things that made the first movie unwatchable and forgettable; the militarism, the corny lines, the unsympathetic characters, but this time there’s an added feeling of amateurishness in terms of plot and direction.
Directed by Michael Dougherty, this film looks and feels like the worst kind of B-Movie, in fact you wonder what the $200 million budget was spent on since the end result is no more impressive than a Netflix disaster movie. The entire flick suffers from masses of visual clutter, if you thought Transformers or Man Of Steel were hectic and chaotic, Godzilla II: King Of The Monsters is just as bad if not worse, especially since much of the “action” takes place in the dark whilst in the midst of smoke, smog, mist, or volcanic dust.
King Of Monsters features a Batman V Superman-esque plot: oh look what Godzilla did to the little people below in the previous installment! The film then flip-flops with the main characters yelling what amounts to “he’s evil” only to later concede “oh no he’s not” like a big-budget Punch And Judy show. In an attempt at rectifying the lack of Godzilla screen-time in the previous movie, in this film, ol’ Zilla butts heads with other Titans; Rodan (a giant flammable bird-slash-pterodactyl), King Ghidorah (a three-headed dragon-slash-Hydra thingumabob), and Mothra (a huge, bright butterfly who Godzilla actually gets on with). Although even with this straight-forward plot, the film still manages to include some preposterous and downright idiotic elements…
There’s some more Army imbeciles shooting at a giant monster with a gun (just like the first movie). And just when you think the lack of plausibility and militarism have hit their collective peak, we at one point see a soldier saving a child by getting out of the way of Rodan’s gargantuan flapping wings, which by the way, create a shock-wave that destroys whole cities. Given the power that this Titan’s wings generate, a hero in fatigues saves the day by turning left. How utterly fantastic.
One of the main characters (Dr. Emma Russell) at one point tells her colleagues that these Titans bring balance to the Earth. She mentions all the terrible things humans have done to the planet during her Skype call but during her speech there’s inexplicably some footage of pollution, war, and overpopulation on screen. What did she do, load up the images beforehand like a Keynote presentation?
Since we’re told that these Titans awaken to bring balance to our planet and that their fighting and destruction is beneficial to Earth, in this film, humans have to awaken these creatures with an artificial digital sound which means they were all dormant during our ruination of Earth which in turn brings doubt to whether the Earth is actually in ruin.
The story also informs us that radiation makes Godzilla stronger so that means the military essentially have carte blanche to drop more nuclear bombs and launch more nuclear missiles. The message here seems to be “nukes are brilliant” and “radiation is fun” which means we’ve completely lost the point of the original tale.
With a cast of what seems like a hundred actors, King Of The Monsters is filled to the brim with fleeting or insignificant characters and all of them are either unlikeable or so dull that they blend into the bland background. There’s no point in going through all of the cast but the main ones are Kyle Chandler who gives a mediocre TV performance and Vera Farmiga who looks like she’s waiting for James Wan to come back to the Conjuring universe. Sally Hawkins, Ken Watanabe, and David Strathairn follow on from the last film (although since most people have forgotten about the last movie in the series, it’s almost pointless to have brought them back). Thankfully the irksome duo of Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver have buggered off but now there’s the annoying Bradley Whitford whose sole purpose seems to be to mock the “Hollow Earth theory” whilst attempting to be the picture’s comic relief. His character’s completely unfunny lines make you simultaneously roll your eyes, cringe, and hurl your popcorn at the screen (which is the best action you’ll see during this film). Bradley’s character at one point quips about radiation and not wanting his children to have “flippers” and yet given his age, his cum-tadpoles are probably incapable of creating life, let alone malformed land-sea hybrids. There’s also O’Shea Jackson Jr. playing some random army grunt (his Army ID pic shown on a monitor for some unknown reason sports an angry expression which is surely against regulations). Thankfully there’s Millie Bobby Brown like a jewel amongst the trash, but despite her talent and her outstanding performance in Stranger Things, this film, this script, and this character doesn’t really give her much to work with.
Given that Hollywood have chosen to translate a Japanese creation into American, pop-corn-chomping, blockbuster, non-fun, the writers for some strange, bigoted reason have chosen to insert a few digs at the country who brought them their money-making monster. There’s the sly “blurred genitals” comment which mocks Japanese pornography and there’s the likening of the word “Gonorrhoea” to the name “Ghidorah” which essentially disses the Japanese language. Maybe stick with your own dumb-arse monsters such as your President before ridiculing other cultures. But I digress.
With more than three decades worth of Hollywood films blowing up, crashing into, and bringing down buildings, haven’t we all become jaded to such goings on? Surely by now, the huge budgets required for these kinds of films are no longer worth the lacklustre end result? First it was alien ships and meteors, then it became giant robots followed by mechanoid suits and crappy Kaiju, but regardless of who or what is responsible, how many times can you see a cityscape being destroyed before your reaction is “meh”? I think we’re at the point in cinema when it’s easier to elicit an emotional response from the audience by showing something being built rather than showing it being destroyed. I mean how many more hacks can regurgitate this hackneyed idea before the public lose all interest? If you’re feeling weary of computer-generated destruction, this isn’t a film that’ll reinvigorate you.
Regrettably, Godzilla II references “Skull Island” multiple times and shows us a cave painting of King Kong and Godzilla clashing during the end credits to make way for another unwanted sequel (to two crap films). As you may know, this film (along with 2017’s Kong: Skull Island) is part of Legendary Entertainment’s so-called “MonsterVerse”, with Godzilla Vs. Kong coming next year (even though there’s a 200 foot disparity in height). With back-to-back bullshit remakes coming out of this mundane MonsterVerse, it’s obviously less about recreating beloved characters and more about generating profits. This is a wannabe Marvel/DC-type franchise but thanks to the completely mediocre films they’ve made (and continue to make), it has more in common with Hasbro’s output (Transformers and Battleship): a loud, CGI behemoth filled with attractive or popular stars to detract from the soulless film-making.
A Gigantic Dung Heap.