Ghidorah is a damn Yankees fan. Makes sense, seeing how the three-headed dragon leader of the Monster Island Czars hails from Long Island (King Geedorah’s Take Me To Your Leader was MF Doom’s second studio album, after all). On a more serious note, witnessing the destruction of Fenway Park had me emotionally all twisted up until Big Papi himself — Godzilla! — knocked in another game winning shot, even as the Boston faithful hiding within the storied stadium walls had to run for their let’s-get-the-fuck-outta-the-nucleuh-shit-heah lives. To our dismay the Baltimore Oriole (Mothra) arrives to the defense of Gojira from the fiery spirit Tampa Bay Ray (Rodan). The AL East went mayhem that day, but it proved a glorious pennant race nonetheless.
Silly baseball, hip-hop and video game analogies aside (Fenway as a nuclear safe haven? Someone‘s a fan of Fallout 4), Godzilla: King of the Monsters is a mega-monster popcorn movie that lives up to its ginormous hype, so long as you don’t take the somewhat dumb, yet improved — and thankfully far more limited — scenes featuring human actors too seriously…
Looking back at my review for Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla, I had no choice but to berate the acting, script, story, plot and everything else involving human life in the first film since that’s practically all it had. Gojira was a fuckin’ afterthought and the 2014 film suffered heavily for it. With King of the Monsters, Writer/Director Michael Dougherty (Krampus) places the emphasis on monsters and, better, monster fights. Thank the geek heavens! If you can let your guard down for just a little bit, sit back, take in a large bucket of popcorn and just “enjoy the show”, you are going to love the fuck outta this flick. King of the Monsters is an absolute splendid guilty pleasure. The many kaiju all look and respond wonderfully (and unsurprisingly have tons more personality than any human here), the set pieces are epically designed, and the score absolutely rocks; any time Godzilla appeared I was super tempted to shout, “Simon says get the fuck up!”
Unlike Godzilla (2014), the sequel’s pacing is significantly better, too– even if that equates to sacrificing logic. Stupid, nonsensical things happen when humans talk, but at least not all of the dialogue and performances are bad. Kyle Chandler is fine as the take-no-bull lead, and his reaction shots are good. A lot of the reaction shots are good. When titans like Gojira and Mothra and Rodan and Ghidorah are outside fucking shit up, having good reaction shots is good (Dr. Mom Vera Farminga and daughter Millie Bobby Brown especially knock these out of the park). Bradley Whitford has the funniest lines as Dr. Rick Stanton, while Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance) does his whole “mean British guy” thing as ecoterrorist Jonah Alan. Be careful of guys with two first names, dammit!
Above all else, go see this in 4DX and sit in the second row. Yes, that second row. You’ll be looking up in awe at these monsters giving each other the business for 2-hours plus, loving every second. While I often recommend the 4DX movie-viewing format for major blockbusters, the seat movement in Godzilla: KotM in an ultimately intense and unique experience. Every time a major titan appeared on screen–or was even hinted at–my 4DX chair rattled like a snake having a hernia. My back got shivers from these remarkably eerie and brilliant seat shifts, and many times went “for a ride” during the film’s many triumphant monster fights.
When Rodan swooped in and raised hell upon the military aircraft, my bottom felt as if it spun counter-clockwise for several seconds; and during the final epic tag-match in Beantown between all the four behemoths, my 4DX seats have never felt that intense.. I was holding on for dear life! Throw in high wind effects and unique smells of fresh greenery during certain landscape scenes, and watching King of the Monsters in 4DX was hyper geek sensory at the highest level.
Movie = 4/5 Bibles
4DX = 4.5/5
“This is Godzilla’s world, we just live in it.” That one statement encapsulates the entire philosophy that drives Godzilla: King of the Monsters and tells you exactly what to expect. There are several human stories in this movie, but ultimately they all come down to humans coming to term with their own insignificance in this world while also trying to find some meaning in it.
This movie is almost entirely driven by the epic conflict between Godzilla and the other titans who inhabit this world, particularly Godzilla and Ghidorah, so it would be completely understandable that people looking for a movie with a relatable human story to attach themselves to might be underwhelmed, but the reality is that this movie isn’t for those people. It’s for people willing to forsake that human element for the chance to dive head first into the mythology of these grand monsters and to go along for a ride on their journey.
If you are one of those people, then there’s a depth of emotions awaiting you when you watch this film. There are few human stories that have made me as emotional as moments involving Mothra, Godzilla, and Ghidorah did. However, even if you’re someone who didn’t buy into that premise, it’s still a movie worth watching as it’s virtually impossible not to stand in awe of the terrifyingly beautiful Mothra, the horrifyingly apocalyptic Rodan and Ghidorah, and the absolutely majestic Godzilla. When I covered the Godzilla panel at WonderCon, director Michael Dougherty specifically described these monsters as ancient dieties and they certainly feel that way when they’re on screen. It’s a truly epic experience. 4.5/5 Godzilla Bibles.