I was massively disappointed with 2014’s Godzilla reboot. I didn’t engage with the characters and, even worse, was bored by it all. I slated it and haven’t felt compelled to give it a second look. Recently I watched 2016’s Shin Godzilla, and if anything that was even worse and I didn’t even make it to the end credits. With the big guy returning to the silver screen again, and with plenty of monsters for him to face off with, would I finally be entertained by a Godzilla movie again?
The answer is, kinda.
The good news is that the human aspect is a bit more engaging with a family at the centre of the drama. The separated parents, both reeling from the death of their son at the hands, or feet, of Godzilla back in ’14 and their young daughter, are involved in much of the story thanks to the parents being scientists associated with Monarch, the monster containment organisation. Throw in some eco-terrorists led by the charismatic Charles Dance who believe that the monsters, or “titans” as they’re named here, are the key to restoring balance in nature and helping cure some of the ills mankind has caused the planet.
Of course, the main draw is that Godzilla is going to throw down against some other beasties. This happened in the 2014 movie but the monsters there were slightly underwhelming, here we learn that Monarch know of 17 titans, which is kinda exciting, as you wonder who’s gonna show up, and we get to see a fair few of them. These include Mothra, Rodan and the big bad of the movie, Ghidorah.
Ghidorah is the standout of the trio, with three heads, giant wings and the ability to spit lightning and create storms, he’s the obvious enemy to Godzilla. I also liked that the whole movie is based around the fact that Monarch scientists have developed ways to control the titans by broadcasting an alpha frequency and that Ghidorah has his own signal, similarly the theory that the titans will restore natural balance is undermined when they realise that while Godzilla, Mothra and co are natives, Ghidorah is actually an invasive species and so this isn’t the natural order but the three headed bastard trying to transform Earth to be like his home world, which is bad news for mankind who have to deal with the titans running amok, natural disasters and general chaos.
The titans soon line up in good vs evil tag teams with Rodan backing Ghidorah up while Mothra partners with Godzilla. The rest of the titans are seen on news broadcasts following Ghidorah’s orders and wreaking havoc.
The action sequences are quite well done and it swithces focus between the clashing titans and the people on the ground. These stretch your suspension of disbelief to breaking point as the main characters survive countless near misses as the monsters level half a city.
The only problem is that much of the supporting cast are largely anonymous so it’s hard to care too much as they run around. There’s a team of Monarch soldier types, but aside from a guy with a beard I’d struggle to vaguely describe them.
Similarly the Monarch scientists do very little other than spout exposition and theories. The exception is the sarky comic relief played by Bradley Whitford who gets some decent moments.
Kyle Chandler does a decent job as the hero, but his part is a rather generic good guy. I’d like to see a bit more colour in the films going forward, both in the characters and the largely grey tones of the movie.
It’s more fun than the last movie, the humans are a smidge more interesting and the monsters are more memorable. It has its flaws, but it mainly works as a passable blockbuster.
It teases Kong vs Godzilla, but if they want that to work it needs to be more like Kong: Skull Island.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.