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Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Kaiju / English / 2019

Sequel to the 2014 reboot, but a box office flop. Better?

Yes, it is a better movie, for a few pretty big reasons.

Firstly, we're spared the melodrama that polluted the first movie, the monsters are now front-and-center, and the human element is is purely to narrate a select few characters attempt to survive the devastation as well as their role to play in awakening the "titans" in the first place.

We eventually learn that Mom is pulling a Thanos and deliberately waking the titans with the help of eco-terrorists and a McGuffin that uses sound to way-too-easily control the monsters' disposition. There's no real tidy conclusion to the plot other than that the "this is bigger than just us" line eventually heel-face-turns into "I won't lose my daughter again" and suddenly we're just supposed to forget that one of these characters is guilty for attempting to kill millions of people.

Unlike the first movie we're also treated to a host of classic Godzilla foes including Gidorah, Rodan, and Mothra. I'm not attached to any of these monsters, but I definitely appreciate seeing some of the major icons that shaped the series.

The weird audio bullshit is virtually non-existent, as I said they should have reserved the use of silence during action scenes for poignant moments and they do that in one major scene and that's it.

Rather than waiting to see Godzilla until halfway through the movie we get pretty consistent action, at land, at sea, and air. Godzilla is also much ore firmly established as a "benevolent" force, and his convenient interference in monster attacks eventually woos our skeptical protagonist as well.

Our skeptical protagonist here is established as a guy who made the McGuffin. And that's it. He made a device that broadcasts a frequency. That's apparently all that qualifies him to make military decisions and dictate to the other characters how the monsters behave.

Ken Watanabe has a much bigger and more respectable role in this movie, he's clearly very biased in favor of defending the monsters from military strikes, but by the end of the movie he sacrifices himself to nuke Godzilla even though I don't think it's ever made clear that the characters have realized that nuclear weapons will only make him stronger. He has much more, and more varied, dialog this time around, but he still has a ridiculous habit of randomly asserting the motives and relationships of the monsters with LITERALLY no evidence whatsoever. It's really annoying.

Much as I appreciate more action, more monsters, more Godzilla, I will say that some of the charm of that first reveal is gone because they already left that first impression to die in the first movie. Godzilla suddenly tail-whipping the MUTO into a skyscraper was a cool way to end a fight, but we don't really get that here. Godzilla also Kamehameha-ing down the other MUTO's throat was also really cool, so him beating Gidorah with a couple shockwaves and stepping on him isn't quite as visceral and satisfying.

That's not to say that seeing Godzilla drag Gidorah underwater wasn't cool, or that Mothra v. Rodan wasn't cool, or basically any scene with Gidorah wasn't cool... he's a giant three-headed wyvern that manifests a hurricane around him and breathes lightning, that is a level of power visually conveyed in a way that could NEVER compare to the original movies' practical effects.

It's a shame this movie was a box office bomb because despite it's flaws I do think it's a much better kaiju movie than it's predecessor. I'd say this is the best Godzilla movie I've seen, but there's still a lot of room for improvement.

Final Verdict:
[Pretty Good]