Back in June, I was so excited for the impending release of this movie that I declared the entire month to be a celebration of giant monster movies we knew and loved, along with ones very few knew and likely very few cared about, let alone “loved”. In the words of Socrates though, “shit happens” and DaikaiJune was not one such proverbial bowel movement. Instead, my personal hype boner for the event was salt petered into the center of the (hollow) Earth when news of Godzilla: King of the Monsters‘ opening weekend intake was more red than green. Red enough that its sour box office performance convinced Legendary to rethink the 2020 release of their much anticipated Godzilla Vs. King Kong, opting to push back to a later date in the hopes that the fallout from GKotM‘s atomic bombing won’t contaminate its own ticket sales.
[X-Men cartoon voice over] Previously, on Godzilla…[/XMcvo] we met the newest American iteration of the great skyscraper destroyer. The “thicc daddy” of kaiju, Dad Bod Godzilla defeated a pair of giant insectoids called M.U.T.O., leveling half of Las Vegas and San Francisco in the process. Despite leaving two major American metropoli uninhabitable from heavy nuclear radiation, Big G was generally hailed as a hero by humanity. “Generally”, because plenty of people who lost loved ones in the colossal conflicts chose to hold grudges against these “Titans” (as they came to be known) and want nothing more than their total elimination.
Dr. Ishiro Serizawa, member of the mysterious monster studying organization Monarch, is back to fight for kaiju rights, working to convince the US government big wigs that Godzilla is a protector of mankind, not a threat. Here’s to hoping he’s right, since the story’s antagonistic militant group of bio-terrorists are plotting to release the Titans on mankind in a global extinction event! Nothing short of an Infinity Gauntlet is going to sweep these gigantic Jehovah’s Witnesses from our collective front door either, so go go Godzilla!
5 years ago, the biggest complaint I heard about Godzilla was director Gareth Edward’s focus on human drama at the expense of mammoth monster smackdown action. When King of the Monsters stomped onto screens, its detractors denounced writer-director Michael Dougherty’s emphasis on too much monster mashing in lieu of compelling human characters. The lesson? You can please most of the critics some of the time and some of the critics most of the time, but there’s no such thing as a universally loved Godzilla flick.
As for me? I liked it. Equally as much as I liked the previous one, in fact. 2014 was a great “less is more” human-level tale, KotM is a great “more is more” blast in the face from a popcorn shotgun of epic monster brawling with a respectable roster of world ravagers that makes me wish it could be a weekly wrestling show! The beasties each have their own moments of personality, especially Ghidorah, whose trio of craniums are frequently snapping at each other like siblings doing that obnoxious “I’m not touching you” torment. Mucho fun.
As for the supposed malnourishment of quality drama? I was happy with the human cast. Sure, some of their characterization wasn’t the best (again, it’s a Godzilla movie, what the fuck do you expect?) and Bradley Whitford’s role was borderline cheese grater-ing my brain stem half of the time, but Kyle Chandler (whom my Evil Dead Bride refers to only as “Friday Night Lights dad”) was a pleasant surprise, while Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown and Ken Watanabe brought their respective acting chops to the table as always, not skimping on the applesauce.
The inevitable throw down between Goji and Kong can’t get here soon enough for my tastes, nor the teased other sequel that baits us after KotM‘s end credits. Mayhaps the Pacific Rim crossover that a sadly diminutive percentage of the populace has prayed for since Legendary acquired the Big G license? Given that the Hollywood machine runs on the fuel of dead presidents, it’s gonna take a LOT of media sales, physical AND digital, to get us up that mountain. As such, get out there and rent it, buy it, download it, and then do all three all over again with someone else’s credit card! Do your part! Make it happen! Godzilla or Die!
Four Godzookies out-of-Five
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