'Godzilla: King of the Monsters' film review: Long live the king - long may he reign
Everybody knows Godzilla - but the iconic Toho city destroyer isn't best remembered for the cautionary dramas of either the 1954 original or even the stellar 2017 remake. People just want to watch the famed kaiju fight other crazy big monsters - and that's exactly what the audience gets with this all-star monster brawl flick "Godzilla: King of the Monsters" (opening in theaters nationwide May 31).
In short: A rogue group of environmental terrorists begin to awaken the "Titans" - building-sized monsters - around the globe. As the monsters wreak havoc, Godzilla must take on Mothra, Rodan, and his archenemy, the three-headed King Ghidorah. Stars Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown and Ken Watanabe.
The 2014 was .. not a great movie by any measure: from Godzilla's meager 11 minutes of screentime to its completely pointless human characters. "King of the Monsters" learned from those mistakes and thrusts the legendary monsters on screen from the start - and pushes the humans to the supporting roles. And this is clearly the right choice because "King" is just way too much fun when it allows the monsters to just throw down. The no holds barred battles are brutal and devastating. This is just the type of action the big screen was designed for.
"King of the Monsters" moves at a pretty good clip, resulting in a movie never idles. It’s either a monster fight or humans running around and figuring out how to move the story to the next monster fight. The humans in these battle-centric free-for-alls have always taken a backseat - and Chandler, Farmiga and Brown have the thankless job of being the human core to an otherwise monster spectacle. To the film's credit, director Michael Dougherty keeps the humans interesting enough to tie the monster bouts together.
Fans of the classic Showa-era flicks will dig all the subtle nods to the classic flicks. And hearing Godzilla's theme music, for the first time in a U.S. film, is pure hype. Composer Bear McCreary found way to tweak the monster's formerly foreboding theme into a heroic motif.
Final verdict: "King of the Monsters" isn't just the crazy monster brawl as promised - it's one of the most exciting Godzilla battle royales in the franchise. This is sheer summer popcorn fun.
"Godzilla: King of the Monsters" opens in theaters nationwide May 31. This action, monster flick has a running time of 131 minutes and is rated PG-13 for sequences of monster action violence and destruction, and for some language.