‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’ Review

It's got monsters punching each other, what more do you people want?

Godzilla: King of Monsters

Here are some things that Godzilla: King of the Monsters has.

It has a giant lizard and a giant moth and a giant fire bird and a giant three headed snake-dog and it has all of these things punching and biting and stinging and spraying each other and sometimes those things shoot fire at each other and also it has ecoterrorists who want to save the world by destroying it and military jets shooting missiles at some of the aforementioned monster things and a nuclear bomb.

Sometimes King of the Monsters feels about as coherent as that run-on sentence and, much like reading that aloud, it will occasionally leave you out of breath as you try to figure out what, exactly, is going on while images assault your eyes and roars blast your eardrums. But this was intentional? Godzilla: King of the Monsters succeeds at what it sets out to do, which is overwhelm and excite.

I don't particularly care about the family drama at the heart of the film, though Vera Farmiga and Kyle Chandler are their usual charming selves as a divorced mom and dad and Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things‘s Eleven), who plays their child, has mastered the ability to have a single tear roll down her cheek while emotion clouds her face. Thomas Middleditch and Bradley Whitford are solid comic relief. Ken Watanabe adds a dose of pathos to the proceedings as a scientist who just wants everyone to get along with Godzilla. Charles Dance is amusingly villainous in his role as an ecoterrorist whose time as a member of the British armed forces taught him that humanity was beyond redemption. That's right: I'm excited to announce that environmentalists continue to make excellent movie villains.

You'll note I'm not bothering with character names, because who cares. All of the human stuff is good enough. Fine, acceptable, pleasantly extraneous glue that holds the script together, more or less. Because we're not here to watch people work through their problems, not really. Emotions are wasted on this audience. We're here for the spectacle of it all. For the giddy thrill of watching impossible beings do impossible things. For the horror of cities reduced to graveyards, immolated wastelands where nothing could survive. For the reminder that there are forces beyond our control, events we cannot stop, tragedies that we cannot curtail—and heroes who can save us, if we let them.

And on that front, again, Godzilla: King of the Monsters more or less delivers. I probably could have used somewhat fewer cutaways to O'Shea Jackson Jr. and Aisha Hinds, who play military hands coordinating human efforts to aid civilians and combat the Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms (MUTO) unleashed around the world by the ecoterrorists hoping to restore ecological balance. Then again, this movie gives us more than ten (10) minutes of Godzilla and his famous friends onscreen, so I'm not sure I'm going to get too sniffy about the interruptions of the hot MUTO-on-MUTO action we paid top dollar to watch.