Directed by Michael Dougherty
Starring: Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, Ken Watanabe, Charles Dance
Runtime: 132 minutes
When I think of Godzilla I think of MASS DESTRUCTION. I remember a game growing up called Rampage (inspired by King Kong and Godzilla) and you were essential giant monsters destroying cities. Going into this film, I figured it would be much of the same. What I didn’t expect were relatable characters, a nice score, and more “story” then usually accompanies summer popcorn flicks.
This film is a sequel to the Godzilla from 2014. It’s a part of a bigger universe (Aren’t all the films today this way) called the Monster Verse. I felt the “first” Godzilla wasn’t terrible but marketing at the time was pushing Bryan Cranston’s character (hot off Breaking Bad) and as viewers of that film can tell you it didn’t play out that way. The next film in the universe was Kong: Skull Island. I LOVED this film. I took my grandpa to see it back in 2017 and we watched a 3d showing of it. Maybe it was because he had such a great time, but I thought highly of the film all around, from the humor, to the action, plot and cast. This next film had a lot to live up to. Side note the director Dougherty was born in Columbus, Ohio. Also, this film makes the 35th film in the Godzilla franchise. Neat little tidbits.
Onto the film.
Even before the film begins, we can hear ominous sounds. BOOM. BOOM. BOOM. I’ll be honest that effect had me excited. Obviously, it would be Godzilla, but right when the film begins? YEP!!! Immediately the viewer is shown Godzilla causing chaos back in 2014 (first film) We are introduced to the Russell’s. Dr. Emma Russell (Farmiga), a paleobiologist, Dr. Mark Russell (Chandler), co-inventor of the ORCA (More of that later) and their daughter Madison (Brown). Mark is frantically calling for his son Andrew in all the rubble. We get a shot of Godzilla and then a time jump.
Time has not been kind to the Russell’s. It’s obvious that Mark and Emma aren’t together. Emma has thrown herself into work and believes the TITANS (Godzilla and other monsters) can be controlled and some are to help us and others to hurt. Mark is off the grid. Emma is know working for an organization called Monarch. Their main goal is to find the Titans. Assisting them is Dr. Serizawa (Watanabe) and of course we have the “big bad” Alex Jonah (Dance.) Viewers will remember Dance from Games of Thrones and he shines here as well. A struggle over the ORCA and controlling the Titans plays out almost like a separate battle with Godzilla’s battles taking center stage. Nice back and forth between the human struggles and monsters.
I don’t want to give too much away in this film, but I will tell you that many of the Titans are found and battles happen between them. This is where the film shines. I expected a lot of CGI (which can be good or really bad), but surprisingly it came off life-like. Very impressive. The score also was surprising. Don’t you notice how some films have a score which makes you feel like you’re part of an “epic” adventure? I felt this is how Godzilla played out. Most of the scenes used the score to enhance what was playing out on screen. Epic battle, Epic music.
This film does have its flaws. Maybe I’m jaded but I felt some of the characters mindset and actions were careless, if not clueless. I understand most of the decisions were made to further the story, but some left me scratching my head. Issues like this took me out of the film and took some time to get back engulfed in it. Thankfully there was usually a monster fight not far off to bring me right back. I will say the cast has flaws as well, at some points Farmiga to me came off over the top but Brown (Stranger Things alum) and Chandler were great. They had a nice chemistry and hope it plays off onto the next film…. If they survived.
I’d recommend this film. The battles alone are worth the price of admission. Godzilla destroying buildings and Titans alike didn’t get old. Even for a casual fan like myself it was still enjoyable, and I’d imagine someone deep in Godzilla lore would have a blast. Some plot points and dialogue may sour you, but Godzilla will bring you back. Side note there is a scene during the credits. Worth waiting for. Go see this film! 4 Stars out of 5 #SHOPLOCAL
Andrew McManus is Operations Manager for Patties & Pints and its parent company Eflow Development. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 740-981-9158.