More noise than signal

Godzilla: King of Monsters

Republished from the show notes of my other site, Fuds on Film.

Gather round, children, as I relate unto thee the complex and labyrinthine plot of Godzilla 2, as it was called on some posters in a cruel mockery of all known counting systems – there am some monsters, and they do fights and that. 7/10.

Hmm, okay. There’s a little more to it, but none of it is why you’d watch a monster flick. Namely them there humans, scurrying about like they are in some way more interesting than skyscraper size monsters suplexing each other. Humans like Vera Farmiga’s Dr. Emma Russell, a scientist for the shadowy Titan studying group Monarch who goes off the reservation and, alongside ecoterrorist and, to be honest, afterthought, Charles Dance’s Alan Jonah, sets about freeing all the known Titans across the world in the hopes this will wind humanity’s neck in a little, and allow the planet to recover.

What remains of Monarch attempts to stop this, with a personal interest for Kyle Chandler’s Dr. Mark Russell, estranged husband of Emma dealing with the collateral loss of one of his kids in the last Godzilla attack, leaving him ill-disposed to the big fella, now worried about the safety of Millie Bobby Brown’s Madison Russell, currently on the lam with her mother.

There’s also some talk about a device that communicates / controls Titans, a thistle whistle I think it was called, but this is a film where Ken Watanabe climbs an underwater Mayan temple to offer a nuclear missile to a dinosaur god, so maybe science isn’t exactly the strongest suit the film has to offer and we should nod politely and move on.

Indeed, had this film been approached by Michael Dougherty in the same manner as Gareth Edwards’ boring Godzilla, it would have been a dumpster fire. That film was either ashamed it was a Kaiju movie, so often did it hide away its star and only attraction, or else taking entirely the wrong lesson from horror movie monsters. This, while still having more human interaction than is strictly necessary or advisable, does at least deliver more on the monsters knocking lumps out of each other front.

The visual stylings may be a bit Marmitey, I suppose, but I was rather fond of the various atmospheric conditions that provide a bit of a more dramatic backdrop for action than sunny blue skies, and I think it delivers well on those battle scenes enough for me to like this an awful lot – easily more than the first (not first) Godzilla, or Kong: Skull Island, or Shin Godzilla for that matter.

It’s a long way from perfect – you’re going to have to tune out a lot of very poorly sketched or motivated humans bumbling about to really enjoy this, but it caught me in the correct frame of mind, I suppose. I had few expectations, and this exceeded them.