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Movie Review: “Godzilla: King of the Monsters”

There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.

Theatrical Release: 5/31/2019

Theatrical Release: 5/31/2019

Synopsis

An agency known as Monarch has been studying Godzilla and many monsters just like him. The agency is aware of over a dozen monsters of various species. All of them are monstrous, and all of them are dangerous, but fortunately, all of them have been hibernating for a long, long time. Still, Monarch knows they need to be aware of and study these creatures, as it may only be a matter of time before they wake up, and mankind needs to be ready for it.

When a group of extremists get a hold of a Monarch prototype called Orca, they use it to wake up the sleeping monsters. The extremists' want to save mankind, but their goal is to wake up as many monsters as they can get their hands on. Dr. Mark Russell (Kyle Chandler) studies animal behavior, and he gets called in when his wife, Dr. Emma Russell (Vera Farmiga), and daughter, Madison (Millie Bobby Brown), get kidnapped by the extremists. Dr. Emma Russell was one of the minds behind Orca, a machine that can mimic monster's calls to manipulate their behavior. The extremists have taken her, Madison, and the device, and they plan to use it to wake up the monsters. Dr. Mark Russell must now work with Monarch to help track down his wife, and he must use his experience to interpret the active monsters' behavior. Strangely, Godzilla seems to be helping mankind, but there are those who do not trust the giant lizard's intentions, and they are coming up with a plan to take him out.

Official Trailer

The Pros & Cons

All movies start with an average score of 75pts, points are then added or subtracted based on each Pro and Con. Each Pro or Con is designated points, ranging from 0-10, to convey how significant these Pros or Cons are.

The ProsThe Cons

Godzilla & Monster Action (+8pts)

The Human Antagonists (-6pts)

Dr. Mark Russell (+4pts)

Orca (-3pts)

Protector or Threat (+4pts)

Madison Russell (-2pts)

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Pro: Godzilla & Monster Action (+8pts)

The filmmakers seemed to have learned from their mistake from the last movie, as there was a lot more of Godzilla in this movie, and there were a lot of other monsters as well. There were a few times when the humans very stupidly stood around staring at the monsters rather than running for cover, but for the most part, the monster action in this movie was cool and exciting. I enjoyed seeing the various monsters and what they were capable of, I enjoyed seeing all the carnage, and I enjoyed seeing Godzilla taking them on. Would I have liked to have seen even more monster action? Yes, that was what I watched this movie hoping to see, but there was plenty of it in here, and it was all fun to watch.

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Con: The Human Antagonists (-6pts)

The filmmakers seemed to get hung up on delivering a complex storyline for the humans. Why not just make a story about humans who feared Godzilla, and nearly killed Godzilla right in the beginning of the movie? This could have then caused Godzilla to be temporarily out of the picture, and a bunch of other monsters could have surface—having been in hiding out of fear of Godzilla. These monsters could have then devastated humanity, leading to the humans trying to find Godzilla, and the climax could have been the military and Godzilla against a bunch of monsters.

That story—or something like it—could have had humans involved in what was happening, but it would not have over complicated the human storyline. Instead, the filmmakers had a group of extremists with eye-roll inducing motivations. These antagonists wanted to save the world from over-population, so they were trying to wake up monsters to manage the human population. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen this type of antagonist. They literally wanted to save humanity, and their plan to do so was to wipe out most of humanity. Their presence took focus away from the monsters, and they were not interesting enough to make that a worthwhile sacrifice. They were a generic group of antagonists, and I thought this movie would have been far better if they were taken out of the story entirely, giving more focus to the real threat of this story and the real draw of this movie—the monsters.

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Pro: Dr. Mark Russell (+4pts)

I liked the idea of following an animal expert trying to make sense of Godzilla and the other monsters. They were monsters, yes, but they were really just colossal animals, so it would make sense that an animal expert could interpret their behavior. I thought this aspect of the character should have been given more focus, but I thought this was an interesting idea for the protagonist of this story. I also felt for the guy regarding his story with his family.

Mark's family suffered a tragedy during the events of the last movie, and that tragedy forced him and his wife apart. I liked this storyline, as even though this family of characters were not in the last movie, they were still connected to the events of that movie. It also made it easy to sympathize with this character, and it made his negative view of Godzilla feel very natural. I thought this could have been a lot more impactful if Mark had some big change of heart later on in the movie—a change of heart that actually got dramatic focus—but I liked this character and his story nonetheless.

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Con: Orca (-3pts)

I thought the whole Orca thing was pretty dumb. It was a device that was initially designed to communicate with whales, allowing humans to help whales navigate. The device was then modified to be able to communicate with the monsters, and it was pretty much used as a plot device for the entire movie. Whenever the filmmakers wanted the monsters to do a certain thing, they just had the extremists flip a switch. The writers basically wanted us to believe that this device—which was designed to deliver simple sounds and signals to attract or deter whales—was able to control the monsters and even make them attack cities. I thought it was a dumb idea, and I thought it was able to do way too much. It made sense that this device was able to wake monsters up, and it made sense that it was able to get them to show up in specific locations, but its ability to control monsters the way that it did just seemed kind of dumb.

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Pro: Protector or Threat (+4pts)

I liked this part of the story, but I thought it could have used more focus. I felt like the filmmakers got too hung up on the whole human extremist thing, and they sort of left Godzilla on the back burner. This movie should have been all about Godzilla and humanity's relationship with him. Fortunately, some of that was still in here, and I thought this was some of the more interesting parts of this story. I liked seeing how different human characters viewed Godzilla, with some seeing him as a guardian of mankind, and others seeing him as a threat to it. The filmmakers did not focus on this a ton, but I thought it was interesting when they did.

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Con: Madison Russell (-2pts)

I did not dislike this character as a whole, I just did not like her involvement in the movie's climax. Without giving anything away, this character's lack of supervision leading into the climax was insane, and the way the character learned what she learned was ridiculous. I liked the character in the rest of the movie, as her being the daughter of Mark and Emma made her a natural focal point of this story, and I thought Millie Bobby Brown was unsurprisingly great. I simply thought this character's role in the climax was a little ridiculous.

Grading Scale

GradeCategoryPoints

A+

Amazing

95-100

A-

Great

90-94

B+

Good

85-89

B-

Decent

80-84

C+

Average

75-79

C-

Watchable

70-74

D+

Bad

65-69

D-

Terrible

60-64

F

Garbage

45-59

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Grade: B- (80pts)

I thought Godzilla: King of the Monsters was a step up from the last movie. Unlike the last movie, the filmmakers did not avoid showing Godzilla or the monster action at every opportunity. There were plenty of monsters in this movie, there was plenty of destructive action, and there was a decent amount of the titular lizard. I would have liked it if the story was less focused on the humans and more focused on the monsters, but the Godzilla and monster action was always exciting, and there was plenty of it in here.

I also liked seeing the protagonists being unsure of whose side Godzilla was on, and I liked the idea of having the main character be an animal expert, as it was interesting to see these giant monsters compared to real animals. Unfortunately, this movie was not all good. I thought the Orca thing was dumb, I thought Madison’s involvement in the movie’s climax was ridiculous, and I thought the filmmakers made the wrong decision by delivering a generic group of human antagonist, rather than focus the monsters. I had my issues with this movie, but the filmmakers seemed to learn their lesson from the last movie, as there was plenty of monster action to keep things exciting.

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