The general rule of thumb while making monster movies is that it can’t just be about beasts bashing each other silly throughout the entire runtime. You need compelling human characters that get affected by the shenanigans of these titans, who use urban communities as their personal wrestling rings. Wanton destruction is spectacular to look at, but it gets old quick. What sells are gripping human stories designed to ground the script and drive the point home.
After going through this one, I say remove the humans entirely. Human stories are stupid.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters takes place five years after the initial attack and battle between three titans in San Francisco. Do you remember the complaints? Too much human element and not enough Zilla? Legendary Pictures takes your feedback to heart and follows it up with a sequel that turns both the human and the monster elements up a thousand notches. You will not be disappointed in the monstrous action between giants here. Some of the most striking visuals, special effects, production designs, and cinematography went into making this a treat for the eyes. Post-production went on for more than a year, which I say is time well spent. But the time that went into script development? Not that good.
Every time the movie tries its best to make you empathize with its cast, it fails spectacularly. There’s a thin line between dumb fun and just dumb. King of the Monsters stays on the latter’s side, where the performances of even the veteran ensemble leave a lot to be desired. Every time a character orates, trying to make an emotional impact, it sends shivers down my spine. Those are the shivers of cringe. Vera Farmiga’s redemption arc disappoints and doesn’t land. Kyle Chandler’s persona, who’s supposed to be the backbone that props up the rest of the cast, crumbles down with stating-the-obvious talk. Bradley Whitford gets typecast as the dumbed-down version of smartass Mr Drunk-A-Lot. Every second Millie Bobbie Brown appears on-screen is a second wasted where she’s not snapping necks with her mind in a much-awaited Netflix production. It’s pretty clear that the human element doesn’t work in these films when you realize Sally Hawkins reprised her role here from the previous Godzilla, and you forgot all about it. At this point, it’s better to just abandon all the people. I wish they’d rather make a two-hour Planet Earth-style documentary about titans. Make David Attenborough narrate the daily experiences of Godzilla and his journey across the planet, where he’s challenging other monsters and recharging himself in his nuclear cave. Title it Planet Zilla.
To sum it up, Godzilla: King of the Monsters lives up to its name as well as disappoints hard. It is a movie playing tug of war with itself. On one side, the monsters are trying their hardest to get asses in seats, and on the other side, the vanilla humans are trying to get them off of it.