Godzilla II: King of the Monsters
Aida Vucic | 30/05/2019
It’s the sequel no one asked for. Fortunately, it's so painfully dull that it’ll be forgotten by the time the Kong vs Godzilla film is released. Maybe then Godzilla will have a chance to reclaim some of the fans this bland, obnoxiously terrible sequel will undoubtedly lose.
The film follows from the 2014 reboot which saw Godzilla pillage earth, leaving mass destruction in his wake. Of those affected were the Russell family, Emma (Vera Farmiga) an employee of Monarch, the corporation which is defending Godzilla and creatures alike, and husband Mark (Kyle Chandler). The pair lost their son during the carnage but were fortunate that their daughter Maddison (Millie Bobby Brown) survived. Five years after the attack, the pair have since become estranged, with Mark retreating into the wilderness whilst Emma works on perfecting a machine dubbed the 'Orca' that can interact with these creatures (the Titans).
The Orca proves valuable as a band of eco-warriors headed by Colonel Jonah Alan (Charles Dance) break into the Monarch facility, stealing the machine as well as kidnapping both Emma and Madison. The Colonel and his allies are intent on rescuing the world from the true parasites, which in their view are us humans, and are willing to release mayhem on Earth to achieve their objective. The film then jumps around various Monarch sites, as the creatures begin to awaken. Once again, Earth must rely on the mighty Godzilla as the only hope to save the Earth.
King of the Monsters is, frankly, terrible. The first issue is its interminable length; a runtime that feels unnecessarily bloated and full of just about everything you don't care about when someone suggests watching a Godzilla film. There are an inordinate number of scenes which could have easily been scrapped. They are made even more incomprehensible with a degenerate, threadbare script. If the plot doesn't enrage you with its lack of depth, the incessantly cheesy one-liners will make you cringe into your cinema seat. They are coupled with some significant tonal issues, with random injections of comedy (particularly from Bradley Whitford) repeatedly falling flat.
Director Michael Dougherty proves to be ill-equipped in nearly every way. His action set pieces are muddled, disinteresting, and lose everything that was good in the admittedly short fight scenes from the previous film. His dramatic tension sags loosely, never creating anything close to energy, tension or suspense. He also can't manage the large cast he has assembled. So many incredible actors (even Sally Hawkins!) are saddled with 'worst of the year' dialogue and are lost in the frantic vision of a director who can't seem to decide what story he wants to tell, or how best to tell it. What we are left with is uninspiring world building that lacks originality, creating a distinct feeling we are watching a 90's movie; quite a compliment actually, when you consider the CG work feels even earlier than that.
From an acting perspective, the leads do little. Bobby Brown is fine, although her characters age seems to change around depending on how capable she needs to be to fight the next monster. Farmiga, meanwhile, delivers a career worst performance. Her and Chandler both cruise through this poorly written drivel with an absolute absence of enthusiasm or passion. It’s the supporting cast that create any semblance of depth, and its a shame they were sidelined most of the time in lieu of the Russell family. As one note as the huge supporting cast all are, the sheer size creates a tapestry of interest that largely outstrips anything we get from the presumed trio of leads.
That concept of interest is key, because there is frankly nothing interesting in the film. And given the scope, the scale and the size of the cast of characters, it is shocking that at no point in the King of the Monsters journey do you give a shit about any of them. Even more shocking is that this isn't the most egregious element of the film. No, that can be saved for the monster battles. Dougherty can't match the tension of the previous flick, and instead crams this with so much monster fury you find yourself begging for an end to the constant boring carnage. For a Godzilla film, perhaps that is the greatest sin of all.
An absolute shambles of a film, that either doesn't understand it's title character or doesn't respect it enough to give it the screen treatment it deserves.