Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Godzilla: King of the Monsters (released as Godzilla II: King of the Monsters in some markets) is a 2019 American-Japanese Kaijū/monster film directed by Michael Dougherty and co-written by Dougherty with Zach Shields. A sequel to Godzilla (2014), it is the 35th film in the Godzilla franchise, the third film in Legendary's MonsterVerse and the third Godzilla film to be completely produced by a Hollywood studio. It is dedicated to executive producer Yoshimitsu Banno and original Godzilla suit performer Haruo Nakajima, both of whom died in 2017. The film had its red-carpet premiere in Beijing on May 13, 2019 and was released on May 31, 2019, in IMAX, 3D, Dolby Cinema, RealD 3D, IMAX 3D, 4DX and ScreenX formats by Warner Bros. Pictures, except in Japan where it was distributed by Toho. A sequel, Godzilla vs. Kong was theatrically released internationally on March 24, 2021, and in the United States on March 31, where it was released in theaters and on HBO Max simultaneously.
5 years after the MUTOs were defeated, members of the crypto-zoological agency Monarch face off against a battery of god-sized monsters, including the mighty Godzilla, who collides with Mothra, Rodan and his ultimate nemesis, the three-headed King Ghidorah. When these ancient super-species - thought to be mere myths - rise again, they all vie for supremacy, leaving humanity's very existence hanging in the balance.
Why Godzilla Teams Up Here
- The movie is a love letter to Godzilla fans.
- Unlike the 1998 remake of the 1954 film, this movie stays true and respectful to the source material it is based off of and contains all the charm, charisma and spirit that Godzilla movies have been known for. It also contains numerous neat Easter eggs and references to the lore of Toho's Godzilla franchise. Examples include:
- The titular monsters in this movie utilize a lot of their iconic roars from the older Toho films. King Ghidorah even emits his 1991 incarnations' roar in Godzilla vs King Ghidorah.
- The story feels very similar to the storyline in Destroy All Monsters! from 1968.
- The monsters sometimes being referred to by their nicknames in the older films, like Godzilla being called "Gojira", Mothra being called "Mosura", and King Ghidorah being called "Monster Zero" with that nickname first being hear in Invasion of Astro-Monster from 1965.
- Rodan's volcanic home being designated as Outpost-56, being a clever reference to the release date of his own movie, well, Rodan from 1956, or Mothra's home being designated as Outpost-61, a reference to the original film Mothra from 1961.
- The Oxygen Destroyer from the 1954 original film playing a decent role in this.
- Godzilla getting lava-esque skin and producing omnidirectional nuclear pulses near the end of the movie, a nod to Godzilla in Godzilla vs. Destoroyah.
- Rodan, Mothra and Ghidorah, three iconic kaiju, make a return after a long absence.
- Amazing, absolutely incredible CGI for the Kaiju, with well-done redesigns for Rodan, Mothra and Ghidorah that fit well within the MonsterVerse. Godzilla's design in particular has some improvements as it looks similar to his 2014 design, but adds some elements from the Toho version. The backgrounds are also gorgeous to look at and are a great treat for the eye, as for how colorful they are.
- The monsters (including Godzilla), have more screen-time in this film, compared to other movies that focuses on humans.
- This movie has more action than its predecessor.
- Well-done acting, with Ken Watanabe, David Strathairn and Sally Hawkins reprising their roles as Dr. Ishiro Serizawa, Admiral William Stenz and Dr. Vivienne Graham respectively.
- The dubs also reprise their roles: Latin Spanish (Vivienne Graham and Ishiro Serizawa), Brazilian Portuguese (Dr. Graham and Admiral Stenz), French (Dr. Serizawa, Admiral Stenz and Dr. Graham), Italian (Dr. Serizawa and Admiral Stenz) and German (Dr. Serizawa, Admiral William Stenz and Dr. Graham).
- Just like the previous film and other films he starred in; Watanabe even dubs over himself in Japanese.
- Awesome fight sequences with the monsters, as well as having many great action/chase sequences throughout, Rodan's chase scene being one of the best examples.
- King Ghidorah being an ancient alien seeking to transform the Earth to his own liking is interesting, and does a good job at showing that not all monsters are dumb. His iconic three individual heads even have their own personalities, which acts out like The Three Stooges in a way.
- Mark Russell has a tragic backstory, where he lost his son Andrew in the events of the previous film.
- Mothra's death scene is very touching (even though it can be too early).
- Dr. Graham's death was also sad. Same goes for Dr. Serizawa's.
- A few of the characters get some decent character development.
- Rodan gets an epic and very tense city destroying sequence.
- New Kaiju in the forms of Scylla, Behemoth, Methuselah, and Barb (aka the Queen MUTO).
- Like the first film, there's a good amount of suspense and dread.
- King Ghidorah was suitably terrifying and a nice return to his world-destroying, sadistic roots.
- It retains the first film's dark tone and rather well-executed, while pretty inconsistent.
- Awesomely bombastic and very well-composed soundtrack by Bear McCreary -- being a beautiful, terrifying and very loud (except in a good way as it is fitting for a monster movie after all) music track with some themes from Akira Ifukube's scores for Toho's Kaiju films, and a cover of the Blue Oyster Cult song named after and inspired by the franchise.
- The humans in this movie are actually better and get some more development in this film than the previous one.
- One exciting scene that promises a sequel. The ancient cave paintings of Godzilla and Kong in battle are shown.
- Amazing cinematography just like with the previous entries in the MonsterVerse.
- Great and passionate directing from Michael Dougherty, who is an avid fan of Godzilla and has done the franchise justice.
- It pays tribute to Yoshimitsu Banno and Haruo Nakajima, who both passed away two years before the movie came out.
- Emma Russel is an very unlikable character as she constantly does bad things. She's responsible for endangering her own daughter Madison and causing many deaths after awakening Ghidorah and Rodan.
- However, she is been manipulated by Alan Jonah.
- Ford Brody (the main protagonist of the previous film) isn't in this film, nor is he mentioned at all.
- Weak pacing.
- Alan Jonah didn't get his comeuppance, but at least he's set up in the after-credits scene.
- Like other monster movies, the dialogue can be cheesy at times.
- The CGI, although brilliant, can sometimes have some clunky, choppy movements, most notably the monsters (albeit rarely) having random/sudden bursts of speed.
- The flashing lights are almost everywhere when King Ghidorah appears, meaning some viewers can get epileptic while seeing this film.
Critical and audience response
Godzilla: King of the Monsters received mixed reviews from critics, and was positively received by audiences and Godzilla fans, both old and new, with praise for the visual effects, action sequences, cinematography, and musical score as well as tributes to the classic Toho films, but the pacing, tone, plot, and characters were criticized. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 42% based on 338 reviews, with an average rating of 5.20/10. The verified audience approval rating is at 83%, with an average rating of 4.2/5 from over 25,000 ratings. The site's critical consensus reads, "Godzilla: King of the Monsters delivers spectacular kaiju action—and reaffirms that cutting-edge effects are still no substitute for a good story.". On Metacritic, the film has a score of 48 out of 100 based on 46 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". The user score is 7.1/10 for Metacritic. Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale, the same grade earned by the first two MonsterVerse installments, while those at PostTrak gave it an overall positive score of 85% (with an average 4.5 out of 5 stars) and a 75% "definite recommend." Letterboxd has the score of 2.8/5, while IMDb, on the other hand, earned the score of 6/10.
DeviantArt user JacobHessReviews gave this movie an rating of 8/10 (Great), explaining that this is quite an epic mash.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters underperformed at the box office due to being released while Avengers: Endgame and another Warner Bros. Pictures/Legendary Pictures movie, Detective Pikachu, were dominating the box office.
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