Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)

Godzilla – King of the Monsters (2019) poster.pngDirector: Michael Dougherty
Running Time: 132 Minutes
Starring: Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, Bradley Whitford, Sally Hawkins, Charles Dance, Thomas Middleditch, Aisha Hinds, O'Shea Jackson Jr, David Strathairn, Ken Watanabe, Zhang Ziyi, Joe Morton, CCH Pounder, Anthony Ramos Elizabeth Ludlow, Jonathan Howard

Acting as the third entry into Legendary's MonsterVerse, this follow-up to 2014's Godzilla feels a bit reactionary. It's predecessor was criticised for not including enough of the titular creature, so swaps the building tension ala Jaws to deliver more of the monster bouts, which includes transitioning a trio of the eponymous figures well known co-stars to Hollywood.

As the world still recovers from the destruction caused in San Francisco, the agency known as Monarch aims to study and, if necessary, stop any further monsters. As a number of these creatures awaken, focusing on destroying and reigning supreme, Monarch has one hope: Godzilla.

The directorial reins have been passed over to Michael Dougherty, whose previous work make him seem like a perfect choice. Familial strife occurring around large scale monsters? See 2015's impressive festive horror, Krampus. A juggling of numerous storylines and a multitude of horrific creatures? The long delayed Trick 'r Treat wonderfully delivers on that. He certainly delivers on the monster front, as each included Kaiju monster is given a distinctive personality to set them apart from one another. The clear standout is the elegant Mothra, but the menace of King Ghidorah is brought across fantastically, even while one of his heads proves to be humorously dopey. While the battles may be shrouded in darkness more than necessary, they still manage to be a pulse-pounding spectacle to behold, with fantastic images worth viewing on the big screen.

Sadly, there's also the rest of the film. As brilliant as these monster moments can be, they're drowning in dull character drama, as a fantastic cast are given little to work with in portraying such thinly sketched characters. Some of the overstuffed cast have their performances go as far as reacting to monsters, half-hearted quipping, and piling on the exposition, leaving one to wonder if some of the characters could've been cut down. A key example is the inept handling of one loss, which should feel significant, but feels like such an afterthought, with little interest within. One can't blame the filmmakers for wanting to focus more on the giant monsters, especially in a Godzilla film, but when the character drama takes up so much of the running time, a bit more care would've been appreciated. Half-baked ideas about eco-terrorism and plot devices just won't cut it.

Godzilla: King of The Monsters delivers on the exciting fights between giant monsters. What a shame it's surrounded by an overstuffed cast, wasted on such boring character drama.