Godzilla: King of the Monsters

The 35th installment in the Godzilla movie franchise first started in 1954 in Japan and the third Godzilla production from a Hollywood studio, Godzilla: King of the Monsters is a summer blockbuster that has everything expected from a monster movie, especially a film about the iconic Godzilla, full of spectacle and CGI chaos but light on story despite a stellar cast of well-known talented actors. The movie, which is a sequel to 2014’s Godzilla, follows scientist Dr. Emma Russell, played by Oscar nominee Vera Farmiga, and her daughter Madison, played by Millie Bobby Brown best known for her role in the Netflix TV series Stranger Things, who are kidnapped by a shadowy eco-terrorist group led by Alan Jonah, played by the terrifically villainous Charles Dance best known for his role in the HBO TV Series Game of Thrones. Dr. Russell has developed a machine that can attract and control the large God-like monsters known as the Titans that are seen as a threat by governments across the world and are under surveillance and guarded by the secretive zoological organization known as Monarch, which Dr. Russell and her husband Dr. Mark Russell, played by Emmy winner Kyle Chandler, worked for as scientists and researchers. Over the course of the film, several of these Titans are released and inflict widespread destruction with Jonah’s idea that it would restore the Earth’s ecological balance with humans. Monarch tries to track down these monsters and prevent them from causing more chaos. This expansive classified agency is led by an expert team of scientists, including a Japanese scientist and the de facto leader played by Ken Watanabe, a paleozoologist played by Oscar nominee Sally Hawkins, a technology expert played by Thomas Middleditch best known for his role in the HBO TV series Silicon Valley, and a wisecracking crypto-sonographer played by Bradley Whitford best known for his role in the TV series West Wing. It will surely delight fans of the Japanese kaiju monster genre with the appearance of such iconic large-scale creatures as Mothra, Rodan, Ghidorah, and Godzilla. Initially referred to as Monster Zero, Ghidorah is an extremely powerful three-headed monster who acts as Godzilla’s arch rival and is often shown in huge battles with Godzilla over who will be the apex predator. Godzilla becomes a sort of ally of the human race and the Monarch scientists as a result of his ability to defeat the other monsters and restore balance to the planet without further disaster. The best part of the movie is the CGI fight sequences between the humongous creatures as they lay waste to such major cities as Boston, and the filmmakers make the rather unusual decision to have the footage appear darker and granier to perhaps provide a dire atmosphere. Overall, I found it to be a fun and silly entertaining popcorn flick that provides enough monster mayhem to make for a suitable Godzilla film, and it should not be criticized so severely because its overall intention is not to take itself too seriously.

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