By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
“Godzilla: King of the Monsters”
is a dark, clumsy and rather dull monster mash. Gareth Edwards who directed the 2014 “Godzilla” movie has relinquished the reins for this sequel to Michael Dougherty who is best known for the fantasy flick “Krampus” and co-screenwriter of “X-Men: Apocalypse.”
While it’s good to see the mighty, monstrous king make his intro much earlier on screen than in the original, Dougherty, who also co-wrote “King of Monsters” with Zach Shields and Max Borenstein, have too much story and uninteresting characters.
They interfere with what matters most which is watching Godzilla stomp, chomp and throw down Mothra, the fire-spitting Rodan and his ultimate nemesis, the three-headed Ghidorah, aka Monster Zero.
“King of the Monsters” picks up after the first movie and the battle Royale between Godzilla and the Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms- (MUTOs) which left San Francisco in ruins.
The Russell family have tried to hold things together since then, but it hasn’t been easy. Mark Russell (Kyle Chandler, TV’s “Catch-22”) is a recovering alcoholic and back to his animal behaviorist job. His scientist ex-wife Emma (Vera Farmiga, Upcoming “The Conjuring 3”) is trying to be strong for their teen daughter Maddie (Millie Bobby Brown, TV’s “Stranger Things”) who is still coping from the death of her brother, killed during the tragic events.
Maddie and Emma are tucked away at a remote Chinese outpost for a secret organization called Monarch to study the gigantic, Titan monsters and determine if they’re capable of being friends with humans rather than foes. Apparently, there are 17 Titans hiding out in China, Arizona, Antarctica and Mexico.
But is it really possible for humans and these creatures to peacefully co-exist? Monarch scientists, Dr. Ishira Serizawa (Ken Watanabe, “Pokeman Detective Pikachu” and “Isle of Dogs”) and Dr. Vivienne Graham (Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”) believe they can.
But, there’s always someone in the mix who isn’t willing to give peace a chance. That would be Col. Jonah Alan (Charles Dance, TV’s “The Widow” and “Game of Thrones”), an ecoterrorist who is itching for Dr. Russell’s invention called the Orco, an electronic contraption that allows you to communicate with Godzilla and other creatures. It’s all about control.
Col. Alan and several other military leaders including U.S. Navy task force Adm. William Stenz (David Strathairn, TV’s “Interrogation” and “The Expanse”) want to blow these monsters to smithereens.
The movie goes all over the place, tracking their whereabouts. All the mumbo-gumbo military posturing and stilted dialogue becomes tedious.
It’s a shame that such a capable, supporting cast which includes O’Shea Jackson Jr., as a Chief Warrant Officer, doesn’t have much to do.
Aisha Hinds (TV’s “9-1-1”) fares a bit better as the whip-smart Colonel.
Part of Col. Alan’s (Dance) nefarious plan involves awakening the Titans and unleashing them on Earth. When he kidnaps Dr. Russell (Farmiga) and Maddie for the Orca, that sets things in motion.
Ghidorah isn’t pleased to be awakened from his icy slumber in Antarctica. The battle of supremacy with Ghidorah, Rodan and Mothra should be far more exciting, but much of the action in “Godzilla: King of Monsters” is hampered by herky-jerky camera shots and excessive darkness which makes it difficult at times to see what what’s going on.
There are a couple of top notch action scenes that are among the best in the movie as cars, people and buildings are swatted and blown away along with the monstrous smack-down in Boston’s Fenway Park.
To its credit, “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” also gives a few nods to the 1954 “Godzilla” movie and you should stick around for the end credits which hint at additional sequels.
I sure hope the next ones will literally lighten up a bit and be more fun than this one.
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Check Out This Trailer For "GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of The Broadcast Film Critics’ Association (BFCA), The Black Film Critics Circle (BFCC), The Alliance Of Women Film Journalists (AWFJ) and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.