Hollywood seems to think that humans matter, and that audiences care about characterisation, growth and all that jazz. That was the mistake Transformers made and in the first movie, we had a little of that as well.
Thankfully, director Michael Dougherty knows what we really want in this sequel, and that’s monster fights. You don’t watch a Godzilla movie hoping to be impressed by the story. You want to see cities being flattened, aircrafts and warships being crushed, as well as monsters kicking each other’s butts. If your expectations are set right, then this sequel to 2014’s Godzilla will be one hell of a ride.
We are introduced to new protagonists in this movie. Emma (Vera Farmiga) and Mark (Kyle Chandler) are a couple who lost their son when Godzilla broke loose five years ago. Their relationship crumbled and Emma is living with their daughter (Millie Bobby Brown) in the forests. She works for Monarch, a secret scientific organisation which protects creatures like Godzilla. Things go awry when an eco-terrorist (Charles Dance) kidnaps them to unleash more monsters around the world.
As it turns out, Godzilla is but one of 17 kaijus discovered, and Emma seems to have developed a way to communicate with them.
Ken Watanabe, Sally Hawkins, David Strathairn all reprise their roles from the previous movie, while new characters played by Zhang Ziyi, Thomas Middleditch and O-Shea Jackson Jr add to the convoluted plot.
Taking a cue from Thanos, their story is driven by humans who want to bring balance to the world through monsters. As the screenplay plods along, we are introduced to high tech machines which use acoustics to interact with the creatures, exotic legends which explain how monsters and humans co-existed in the past, and noble characters who sacrifice themselves for the greater good.
Will you be moved by the human drama? Unlikely, because we are all here to see some explosive kaiju-on-kaiju action!
Kaiju (which means “strange beast” in Japanese) is a film genre that features giant monsters attacking urban cities, fighting the military and engaging other monsters in battle. This Hollywood version directed by Dougherty is actually the 35th film in the Godzilla franchise, and should please viewers who felt that the monsters had too little screen time in the 2014 movie.
Fans of the Japanese monsters will be in awe with what Hollywood has created here. Mothra, a giant larva which grows into a colossal moth, is depicted grandiosely here as an angelic-like goddess monster which becomes a sight to behold when it spreads its luminous wings. Rodan, which looks like the prehistoric Pteranodon, is a dragon-like monster which you don’t want to mess with. King Ghidorah, the biggest villain in this movie, is a three-headed serpent that is royal pain in the ass. Of course, it takes Godzilla to take this bad guy down, but it is not without a few setbacks.
When Godzilla is seemingly defeated and goes into retreat, you know it will be back to create some serious collateral damage. It is worth watching the finale unfold on an IMAX 3D screen because the monster-on-monster battle is a smackdown that is high on the thrill factor. You will be reminded of the times when you anticipated the weekend TV shows where human performers fought each other in monster suits.
Not much can be said about the actors’ performance here. Brown looks like she is playing Eleven from Stranger Things, Dance reminds us why we loved Tywin Lannister from Game of Thrones, while Zhang tries her best not to sound ridiculous whenever she explains the origins of a monster species. What you would want to see are the epic monster fights, and in that department, this mindless popcorn blockbuster delivers. It conjures the kind of movie magic and excitement which fans rightly expect from this genre of films.
Long live the king of monsters.
GEEK REVIEW SCORE
Step aside, humans. We are here to see Godzilla kick some monster ass!
Story - 7/10
Direction - 8/10
Characterisation - 6.5/10
Geek Satisfaction - 9.5/10