I guess I’m a Godzilla fan? But what classifies someone as a “fan” of something, really? Sure, I’ve seen all the live action Godzilla movies, but I’ve seen all the Children of the Corn movies and I’m certainly not a fan of that franchise (no one is). The only Godzilla merch I own is a card game that has been collecting dust ever since I picked it up. I own a Gamera DVD collection with 9 or so movies, so am I a Gamera fan? No, but you get the idea. I guess for me, calling myself a fan means that when Godzilla starts glowing red in Godzilla: King of the Monsters, I cheered for the reappearance of Burning Godzilla. So I’m a fan in that I’m a huge fucking nerd.
The monster on monster action begins when Dr. Emma Russell (Mrs. Vera Farmiga) gets kidnapped by ecoterrorists led by Alan Jonah (Charles Dance), who immediately lets Mothra out of its containment field. Well, “Wormra,” but the queen of the monsters doesn’t go anywhere and eventually cocoons herself to become Mothra. Anyway, turns out Emma and Jonah are working together, and I honestly believed at first that he was her dad. Really, watch the movie with that in mind and you’ll wonder if something got cut during editing the script. They believe that humanity will destroy the Earth if left unchecked, and that the
titans kaiju are a sort of force of balance that will help prevent this. Unfortunately, neither of them did any reading on the mythologies surrounding the various kaiju, so they next release Monster Zero, AKA King Ghidorah. Hey, that name is a reference to 1965’s Invasion of Astro-Monster! Anyway, Ghidorah is from space and doesn’t give a shit about balancing Earth, so it proceeds to wake up other kaiju and order them to destroy the planet. It starts with Rodan, who I kept imagining would speak like a Skeksis from The Dark Crystal. “Mmm! Friend to Ghidorah!” Same level of aligning yourself with whoever is more power. Godzilla takes umbrage with all this, but their fight is interrupted by the US government releasing their secret kaiju destroying weapon: the Oxygen Destroyer. Hey, that’s a reference to how Godzilla was killed in the original (1954) Godzilla! Sure enough it’s super effective on Godzilla, but Ghidorah’s an alien so he’s unharmed. The humans eventually revive Godzilla by… nuking Atlantis? Sure, why not, this movie’s already pretty nuts. Godzilla bounces back and fights Ghidorah while Mothra fights Rodan, but the nuke made Godzilla too strong, so now he’s glowing red and about to explode in a nuclear blast. Hey, that’s a reference to 1995’s Godzilla vs. Destoroyah! Mothra dies protecting Godzilla, but the big lizard is able to destroy Ghidorah. The day is saved, the rest of the kaiju bow to their king, and news clippings throughout the closing credits show that the presence of the kaiju is restoring nature. Doesn’t do shit for the irradiated crated that was Chicago, but whatever. Oh, and Millie Bobby Brown was also involved and was kind of useful. That last part won’t be the case in Godzilla vs. Kong.
A post-credits scene has Jonah buying a severed Ghidorah head, a thing that will tie into Godzilla vs. Kong despite Charles Dance being absent in it.
Truly, this is the story of how not to process the death of a child. Emma and her husband (Kyle Chandler) lost a son when Godzilla stomped San Francisco in 2014’s Godzilla, and they both had… interesting ways to cope. Emma, as mentioned, dove head first into understanding how the kaiju work, eventually nearly wiping out humanity with her hubris. Her husband, however, drank a lot, then felt bad about it and decided to take pictures of wolves in the wilderness, not seeing his daughter (the aforementioned Millie Bobby Brown) for years. Life advice, don’t do either of those.
I can’t say that this is a perfect Godzilla movie, because a perfect Godzilla movie already exists in Godzilla: Final Wars, a film where Godzilla–played by a man in a suit, as God intended–fights a completely CG Zilla (from the 1998’s Godzilla film, called as such because it was so bad it took the “God” out of “Godzilla”) while Sum 41’s “We’re All to Blame” plays. No, that is not a fever dream. Yes, it’s a real movie, and it’s perfect. But Godzilla: King of the Monsters is pretty close. Sure, there’s a heavy focus on the humans like all Godzilla movies are contractually obligated to have, but hot damn do we get some moments seemingly made for me. Mothra’s String Shot attack continues to be overpowered! Mothra is watched over by generations of twins! Godzilla and Mothra’s theme songs are recognizable and absolutely slap! Burning Godzilla nuking the everloving shit out of Ghidorah! There are other, new kaiju as well, but none of them do anything interesting or are really mentioned again. So while not perfect, it’s still a damn fun monster movie for nerds like me and my friends.
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