“It doesn’t get any better. It just gets worse.”
As far as classic Kaiju monster mashes are concerned, Godzilla: King of the Monsters delivers the necessary levels of massive entertainment. It’s a spectacle film, spanning the globe while unearthing long lost super species for a new generation to behold. That’s all good and fun for a while, so long as you leave your brain outside the theater door, because this sequel to 2014’s Godzilla somehow manages to be more visually thrilling yet numbingly moronic than its predecessor at the same time. You don’t need a bucket of popcorn to chomp away at during such an indeterminable and corny blockbuster; however, you might take a mini nap, awaking to find that you’ve missed nothing of importance in this one size fits all disaster.
Thick with chewy plot but relatively light on worthwhile story, King of the Monsters shows a lot without telling us much of anything. Having created a technology called ORCA that allows her to communicate with the legendary Titans, Emma Russell (Vera Farmiga) tracks down the risen beasts with her curious daughter Madison (Millie Bobby Brown) who’s always near by. They’re kidnapped by eco-terrorists, Emma’s ex-husband and Madison’s dad Mark (Kyle Chandler) is recruited by the organization Monarch to help find them, and more monsters are slowly unleashed to wreck havoc on a dying world with the intent to fix the uneven equilibrium and restore an ecological balance.
Lifelong fans of Godzilla are sure to get a kick out of seeing so many monsters grace the screen in one sitting. Rodan, Mothra, Ghidorah, and then some. But beyond that, King of the Monsters is just a difficult film to really care about. Most of the CGI action is buried in clouds of fog and heavy bouts of rain, making them almost indiscernible, and the big slugfests are about as inventive as two standstill Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots trading straight jabs until a head pops off. While I thoroughly disliked 2014’s Godzilla, that movie still took a bold leap by being a slow-burner with a few stunning shots. On the complete opposite end of the spectrum is Michael Dougherty’s King of the Monsters, a bloated film that’s stuffed to the gills with empty human characters living in a bleak world colored by a visually anemic palette.
There’s plenty of the citywide destruction folks will likely expect going in, as well as a dreadful and inevitable conclusion which attempts to further flesh out this new monster-verse. Yet what really undoes the project is the hasty script and its deaf ear for dialogue. The people on the screen are hard to validate as actual humans, mostly because they’re used as vehicles who are meant to share ridiculousness conversations full of exposition and obvious statements. Godzilla: King of the Monsters might be the loudest movie currently playing in your local cineplex, and I’m guessing it might be the dumbest to boot. Just because the ample action screeches with volume doesn’t mean it’s any more appealing than nails on a chalkboard.
“May God have mercy on us all.”
Rating: 1.5 out of 5