Godzilla: King of the Monsters

12

The classic example of a creative team pulling the worst from its predecessor and failing to develop on its potential. Gareth Edwards' Godzilla, as an origin for the new 'zilla incarnation and a study of humanity's insignificance amongst ancient beings, was a miraculous success even if it chose to portray the titular creature as a vehicle of Spielbergian suspense. The constant cutaways were playful and frustrating, lending the climax an extended fanboy payoff that worked for some and didn't for others. Fair enough. Enter Godzilla: King of the Monsters, directed by modern cult horror auteur Michael Dougherty, which offers neither satisfying humor or credible scale for a giant monster mash, all while being stuffed with a truly terrible human-storyline, one that doesn't even bother attempting a central theme or premise beyond notions of 'family' and following big monsters around the planet. It isn't simply that the titan fights are pre-vised to hell - offering no weight, exciting developments, or a sense of unpredictability, just one expensive indiscernible composition stuffed with rubble and fire after another - and that it's masked by constant snow/rain/smoke storms that hide the action and the creatures; it's that the film still *frequently* cuts away from the fights, much like Edwards' film, but without the skill or elegance of its predecessor! And while Godzilla developed a streamlined narrative of escalating emotional and disaster beats, as one does in a monster movie such as this, most of King of the Monsters is a shitty cast speaking gobbledygook in poorly-lit airplane control rooms and submarines while following monsters that we hardly get a legitimate look at! God forbid we Godzilla fans ask to not just see the creatures, but maybe have them fight without the context of wiping or cutting away to the snooze-fest humans? And before anyone tries to act like this isn't anything new for Godzilla and his cinematic heritage, remember that each of those had ideas on their mind, whether based in socioeconomic anxieties, post-traumatic stress disorder, environmentalism, and spiritual connectivity. Their slam-bang spectacles offered subtext both within its depths and on the fringes. This, in contrast, is *nothing* at all, created solely for the "cool" images you've already seen in the trailers and to set-up the next franchise entry. A deeply unpleasant movie, especially as a fan of the big ole 'zilla boy, and a sign of the formulaic standards yet to come.

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