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“Godzilla: King of the Monsters” is a colossal clash of epic proportions

by Daniel O'Connell Ever since he graced the silver screen back in 1954, Godzilla has become one of the most endearing icons of cinema. Having appeared in over 30 films, he has recently been appearing in American films as a part of Legendary Pictures’ Monsterverse. With the previous films in the series being both critical and financial successes, the latest installment has finally arrived with Godzilla: King of the Monsters, and it brings us a glorious clash of titans.

Simple plot and serviceable characters

Image from IMDb
Taking place five years after the first film, it deals with Monarch, a crypto-zoological organization that has found more of the Titans, giant creatures who were once the dominate lifeform on Earth. Scientist Emma Russell (Vera Farmiga) has created a machine known as the ORCA, which emits frequencies that can either attract Titans or change their behavior. However, she and her daughter Madison (Millie Bobby Brown) are kidnapped by eco-terrorist Alan Jonah (Charles Dance). Jonah plans to reawaken the Titans with the ORCA, and have them cull humanity, lessening humanities numbers and returning the Earth to its natural state. To do this, he reawakens a powerful Titan known as Ghidorah, and it begins its rampage across the world. Monarch, in turn, recruits a former Monarch member, Dr. Mark Russell (Kyle Chandler), Emma’s ex-husband and an animal communication specialist. Together, they must track down the one Titan who is capable of defeating Ghidorah: Godzilla. The plot of the film is very basic in premise, and unfortunately, their characters are not the deepest or well developed. However, anyone who is familiar with a Godzilla movie knows that the human characters serve the purpose of moving the plot along to the get the monsters into the film. The cast of the film does a good job of portraying the characters. The backstories and personalities of the characters are serviceable and give the actors something to work with. For example, Mark Russell has a negative opinion on the Titans due to having lost his son when Godzilla battled the MUTOs in San Francisco back in 2014. Chandler does a great of portraying a man who is still in grief and wants to get his family back. Ken Watanabe’s performance as Dr. Ishiro Serizawa brings a lot of weight and presence to the role. He’s someone who admires the Titans and believes humans can live alongside them. The real standout performances among the human cast belong to Bradley Whitford and Charles Dance. Whitford plays Rick Stanton, a scientist working for Monarch. He brings a lot of humor through his snarky attitude and commentary throughout the film, adding a sense of levity to dark situations. Dance, on the other hand, has a presence and authority to him, which he usually brings to his roles. This works brilliantly with a character like Jonah. Within the first minute of his introduction, he unflinchingly executes a man with a pistol at point blank range. He wouldn’t feel out of place in a James Bond or Mission: Impossible film.

Incredible monsters and glorious battles

Image from IMDb
One area in which the film does succeed is in its portrayal of its monsters, who are the real highlight of the film. The returning star Godzilla now has much more screen time in comparison to the first film, giving him more time to shine. The new Titans introduced in the film are also brilliantly redesigned to make them standout when compared to previous incarnations. Rodan, a Titan found within a volcano in Central America, is massive in size, looking like he’s made of volcanic rock, complete with a massive wingspan and a razor-sharp beak. Mothra is beautiful and elegant, complete with an illustrious, illuminating glow. Still, even with this, she’s swift and deadly in battle. However, King Ghidorah, steals the show with his design. He is completely sinister and utterly demonic, with each of his three heads being serpentine in design. His intimidating design and devastating powers make him a worthy adversary to face off against Godzilla. The redesigned monsters also lead to the amazingly destructive fights between the Titans. With more screen time focused on the monsters, it leads to more fights than the first film. This starts off with Godzilla and Ghidorah’s first clash in Antarctica, their fight utterly annihilating the Monarch base there. The destruction in these battles are massive in scale, and it’s glorious to witness the monsters duke it out with one another. This all builds up to a final fight in Boston between Godzilla and Mothra fighting Ghidorah and Rodan. Another thing that should be praised is the score done by Bear McCreary. His score does a great job of capturing the majesty and awesome power of each of the monsters, being beautifully composed. His rearrangement of Akira Ifukube’s original Godzilla theme is the real standout. He keeps it similar to the original, but adds his own touch with the chanting of a male choir. He makes it truly befitting the King of Monsters.
Images: IMDb Featured Image: IMDb

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