Godzilla II: King of the Monsters

Their reign begins.

Godzilla goes up against Mothra, Rodan and the three-headed King Ghidorah in this blockbuster action sequel with an ensemble cast including Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, Ken Watanabe, Sally Hawkins, O'Shea Jackson and more.

Secretive scientific agency Monarch, seen in 2014's Godzilla and 2017's Kong: Skull Island, has spent decades studying massive unidentified terrestrial organisms. As more god-sized monsters emerge, considered by a rival organisation to be essential to Earth's survival by wiping out humanity, both Monarch and Godzilla must fight battles on an epic scale.

Godzilla II: King of the Monsters is the darkest film I’ve seen for a while. No, not thematically, but in a Pacific Rim “let’s shoot everything gloomily so you can’t bloody see it” kind of way. Static images and production design sketches may look cool and moody and stuff when they’re ominously lit, but I expect most people like to be able to actually see the movies they watch. As Godzilla II ushers the viewer through night-time set-pieces, underground bases, underwater adventures, and gloomy super-storms, the net result is a film that’s frequently difficult to follow, bordering on the incoherent—not exactly what one might be after in a giant monster action spectacular.

Well, at least it’s consistent. The narrative is also all over the place, with half-arsed characters brought to life by actors given the hospital pass of trying to add a human dimension to proceedings. It’s a valiant but largely impossible struggle, whether we’re talking the fractured family at the film’s core (Millie Bobby Brown, Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga), an exposition-spouting scientist frequently required to dramatically exclaim “Godzilla!” (Ken Watanabe), or a quipping fellow scientist  (Bradley Whitford), whose gags achieved about a 0% laugh rate from the audience when I saw this.

“Who cares,” you might say, “what about the monsters?" Thankfully, they look cool, their scale is well-captured, and the devastation they bring is phenomenal. Frequently throughout the film the sheer terror and incomprehension of their presence is captured—and then the spell will be broken by more human-level dullness or plot machinations. But there’s nothing dull about watching Rodan’s atomic bomb-level impact on a city from the air, the multi-headed monster King Ghidorah, or the tussles Godzilla has with his super-sized enemies. There are some thrills and spectacle here, but they either don’t come often enough, or neglect how our senses have been dulled by loud and often confusing action.

The concept of titanic entities scattered all over the world and waiting to emerge from caverns, temples or under mountain ranges is suitably buzzy, and there’s some interesting world-building and historical mythology that sadly struggles to make its way to the viewer. There are thrills to be had in the film’s final mega-battle, and some awe-inspiring moments scattered throughout—not least of which is the destination of a submarine mission. But there aren’t nearly enough in 132 minutes of movie though, and following the pretty damn fun Kong: Skull Island (which evaded most of the above issues), this is a disappointing development along the way to seeing Kong and Godzilla share the screen next year, more of an endurance test than something to get excited about.

Empire (UK)

press

An overload of repetitive, joyless destruction that mistakes volume and demolition for actual excitement.

FilmInk (Australia)

press

...if you're in the mood to see skyscraper-sized monsters smacking the everloving shit out of one another, you're absolutely going to have a good time...

New York Times

press

It's rather beside the point to note plot goofiness in a Godzilla picture, but this one does push its luck now and then.

TimeOut (New York)

press

If you go to these things to see cities flambéed and flattened, you won't leave disappointed. At the same time - almost impressively - director and co-screenwriter Michael Dougherty is savvy enough to make the human drama monster-shaped.

The Guardian

press

Within minutes of the film itself expectations start to dissipate, quickly replaced with crushing disappointment.

Hollywood Reporter

press

A kaiju-sized step up from the monster's 2014 Legendary Pictures debut.

Variety (USA)

press

You won't feel cheated; at stray moments, you'll feel the wonder. But for every high point, there's a moment when the thrill threatens to leak away.

Stuff.co.nz (Graeme Tuckett)

press

Uninvolving, needlessly complicated and far too talky.
Barny

Barny

user


All the Toho Monsters Represent

If you've found yourself in Taupo with 3 hours to fill before your bus home, then hoo boy is this the only thing screening at the Starlight Cinema till then.

I was strangely impressed Michael Daughert had assembled the cast from last time with the Toho films monsterverse together on screen for my afternoon out of the cold & wind.

Whereas Godizilla (2014) Served as a metaphor for the approaching SJW movement, this time around the theme is climate change and humankind's looming extinction. It had lotsa pretty neato moments but the action is shot in such a colour corrected swirly blue fashion - add the blockbuster soundtrack - that by the third act final monster fight in Boston, I was pretty much exhausted and just rooting for the end credits. Kyle Chandler acted his butt off but couldn't save the flavorless script. There where some absolute clunker 'joke-liners' and 'applause breaks' moments - Imagine something like "say nigh' night, you 3 headed douchebag dragon" but only far less gritty.

!!!!!! SPOILERS !!!!!! Mothra dies ...I nearly teared up at that point but quickly checked myself.


Spectacle over story

It definitely has quality action and spectacle, but definitely not enough quality writing and characters. But maybe that's all you need.