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article imageReview: ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’ is a problematic ruler Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Jun 3, 2019 in Entertainment
‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’ delivers on the larger-than-life monster fights, but the script fails to match its awesomeness.
Since being introduced by Toho in 1954, Kaiju have fascinated movie audiences with their sheer enormity and devastating destructive abilities. Then they took it up a notch by shifting the beasts’ focus to each other as the giant creatures battle for supremacy while still obliterating everything in their paths. With dozens of pictures in their catalogue and fans all over the world, they’d essentially created a genre. Now, as Hollywood continues to reach back in time for inspiration, they’ve decided to reboot the stories and rebuild the world of “titans.” In Godzilla: King of the Monsters, the giant reptile is in hiding but the government would prefer him dead.
Five years after Godzilla destroyed a city — and a family — Project Monarch is debating its efficiency with the government and trying to avoid falling under military jurisdiction. However, something is happening that may require everyone to agree to work together to prevent global annihilation. A former project member, Dr. Emma Russell (Vera Farmiga), has designed a way to communicate with and mollify the titans. When she and her daughter, Madison (Millie Bobby Brown), are kidnapped by an eco-terrorist (Charles Dance) who wants the valuable machine, it’s up to her estranged husband, Mark (Kyle Chandler), to return to the fold and save the world from a new dawn in which humans are no longer at the top of the food chain.
The movie preceding this one positioned Godzilla as a creature that maintains the world’s balance, awakening in order put other beasts in their place while also destroying entire cities. He’s since been dormant in his underwater lair. When the big three — Ghidorah, Rodan and Mothra — are released, as well as some of their friends, Godzilla rises to restore order. The result is some epic monster clashes on land, and in the sea and air. The big improvement from the last picture is these battles are visible to audiences, rather than shrouded in darkness and quick editing. Their appearances and subsequent fights are undoubtedly the highpoints of the film, particularly as they fill the IMAX screen and their calls reverberate from the speakers.
But there’s not a lot more to praise in this movie. The choppy and cliché dialogue is often laughable and moderately annoying. The string of self-sacrifices are very melodramatic and seemingly unnecessary — especially when there’s a military team better equipped and at the ready to give their lives for their country. Then there’s the problematic reasoning that informs the main plot, borrowing from science fiction narratives (and to some extent, the MCU) in which unsympathetic A.I.s rely on deductive reasoning alone for their ultimate decision-making. It’s incredibly flawed and leads to plot-driven mistake that likely would not be made under normal circumstances.
Ken Watanabe and Sally Hawkins resume their roles from 2014, but they’re the only real connecting thread beyond Godzilla himself. They’re now also joined by Ziyi Zhang, Thomas Middleditch, Bradley Whitford, O’Shea Jackson Jr. and David Strathairn, leaving no shortage of recognizable names in the picture. But no amount of acting talent can entirely rescue a poor script.
Director: Michael Dougherty
Starring: Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga and Millie Bobby Brown
More about Godzilla King of the Monsters, Vera Farmiga, Kyle Chandler, Millie Bobby Brown, Charles Dance
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