Godzilla King of the Monsters movie review: Sound and fury, signifying nothing
Godzilla King of the Monsters movie review: Dark and murky, the film suffers from the same problem as Game of Thrones’ Battle of Winterfell.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Director - Michael Dougherty
Cast - Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown
Rating - 1.5/5
‘A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing’.
It is a travesty to waste Shakespeare on a film as soulless as Godzilla: King of Monsters but it was such a perfect fit, I couldn’t resist. Unlike the Bard’s classic Macbeth from where the line is borrowed, Godzilla’s latest inane iteration has enough sound and fury to fill up a dozen trashy films. The story, alas, can be written on a fortune cookie.
Watch the Godzilla: King of the Monsters trailer here
Here’s taking a stab at it – Mark (Kyle Chandler) and Emma Russell (Vera Farmiga) lost their son the last time the 355-feet lizard paid San Francisco a visit. The tragedy broke them up – while Mark found succour in wildlife photography, Emma lives with daughter Madison (Millie Bobby Brown) and embraces the Monarch programme to ensure a tragedy like that doesn’t recur. Because, surprise, surprise, Godzilla isn’t the only one, there is a total of 17 titans out there from the classic kaiju era and they need to be kept accounted for.
On what appears to be ‘bring your daughter to work day’, Emma and Madison head to a super-secret Monarch facility when a titan is to be birthed. What follows is a twist so crackpot that the film never recovers – Emma and her daughter are kidnapped by an eco-terrorist (Charles Dance) and soon we are in the middle of a Thanos-like spiel about restoring the ecological balance by letting the titans run wild; they can right humanity’s wrongs, such as overpopulation. The idea is so hare-brained that your sanity is the collateral damage. Avengers: Endgame carried it off because the one propounding it was called the ‘Mad Titan’ built up over the years, but here the characters lack both complexity and heft. And anyway, the film unspools whatever little goodwill it has built about its intentions by revealing the origins of its key villain.
You can feel the Bryan Cranston-shaped hole in Godzilla: King of Monsters. If the film is supposed to be treated like a kitschy B-movie, which it is, someone forgot to mark the cast on that email. With their most serious faces on, the cast spouts the most asinine of dialogues and goes through motions that stretch common sense to beyond breaking point. There is not a moment of levity despite the film being about an ancient nuclear god Godzilla, a giant luminescent moth called Mothra, their arch-nemesis King Ghidorah who is a cross between a dragon and a multi-headed serpent, and a few other beasties.
Where you want the film to embrace its campy origins and have some fun, it wants you to take it as a save-the-world enterprise with most of humanity acting as monster fodder. The face-off between the two perspectives is nothing short of the climactic fight between Godzilla and Ghidorah and ends similarly too – as an all-round mess.
Talking of the fight sequences, they seem to be shot as a tribute to Battle of Winterfell. Everything is so dark and murky, sometimes, it is hard to make out which monster is winning, or whether that is a monster or a particularly violent thunder and clouds. The phosphorescence the film liberally applies on its monsters with doesn’t help either.
I hold Michael Bay responsible. Godzilla: King of Monsters gives up on its rich kaiju past to embrace Transformers-like action sequences where big beasts fight with even bigger beasts and quantity is considered the perfect replacement for quality.
If watching cardboard characters flit through an insane narrative as stop-gaps between kaiju havoc is your idea of a fun, then this is your juju. Me, I was ready to follow the actors and scream in terror.