I took the kids to see the new Godzilla movie (and matt and scooter went to) Thursday and it was quite the show. I knew it was going to be a big throw down from the trailer that depicted King Ghidorah and it did not disappoint in that regard. However I can see the complaint raised against the film that it was far too crammed with plot and scenes for a single one-sitting movie. In addition to Ghidorah and Godzilla, it’s got Mothra and Rhodan in major parts of the film.
I really liked the 2014 Godzilla movie– it had just the right amount of seriousness and fun mixed together, doing an excellent job of portraying the ‘holy shit’ factor when the humans see/experience Godzilla for the first time in modern CGI. Yet it wasn’t like Cloverfield or the Host, Godzilla was only partly this horror/menace, it also fights another giant monster in the film, something I did not expect at all walking in.
The 2019 film has similar themes and must have the largest casualty count in any Godzilla film I’ve ever seen. Yet it retains the fun of a Kaiju movie with an additional twist on what fans of the series think is going to happen (Alien invasion).
From the various Godzilla film series, we see a pattern of films that complete a story arc for that series.
First there’s a stand alone godzilla movie
Next is a godzilla vs some other monster, usually 2-3 of these films. One of these is Godzilla vs some aliens that use the other monsters to take over the earth
Next is Godzilla vs Mecha-godzilla that usually involves aliens
Finally there is the large alien invasion plot that inevitably involves King Ghidorah and all the other monsters (the original King of the Monsters, 2004’s Godzilla Final Wars).
When I walked into the film, I expected aliens to use Ghidorah to try to take over the earth in this one, but it wasn’t that, yet it didn’t recon the earlier set up that Ghidorah was an alien monster–which was quite clever. This is definitely an homage film, even throwing in the air-eater bomb that was used in the very first Godzilla film.
How does this compare to SHIN Godzilla (which won best picture in Japan). SHIN is a political film more like the very first Godzilla where Godzilla is a representation of nuclear/environmental disaster in monster form. While godzilla is in the film, and his scenes are horrifying and awesome, the real story is in the board and meeting rooms with the human characters rather than it being any sort of normal kaiju movie. Godzilla King of the Monsters tries to give us both the character development and politics as well as being a massive kaiju battle movie. While crammed to the brim, I feel it succeeds in both.