Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)
May 31, 2019 11:07 AM - Subscribe

The crypto-zoological agency Monarch faces off against a battery of god-sized monsters, including the mighty Godzilla, who collides with Mothra, Rodan, and his ultimate nemesis, the three-headed King Ghidorah.

Rotten Tomatoes 40% Critics / 90% Audience Score
posted by Fleebnork (12 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I wanted to post this one just so I could talk about it. Is it great? No. Does it have epic kaiju battles? Yes.

The pacing is all over the place, and it gets slow and exposition-y between monster battles. The monster battles do delight, however, and it has a poignant moment with Ken Watanabe.

Two thumbs up from Fleebnork Jr.
posted by Fleebnork at 11:09 AM on May 31, 2019 [6 favorites]

I wanted to like this film but I. Hated. It.

I found both parents at the center of the film utterly unsympathetic. The plot depended on the Dad having Mary Sue levels of “brilliant insights”, and the point at which a female coworker started to speak in a meeting, then got shoved out of the way so he could talk over her? I spent the rest of the film hoping he would get stepped on.

(How they handled Ken Watanabe’s character felt like a fridging to me. Be correct but ignored for the first two acts... in order to set up pathos for another character.)

The Kaiju leaving behind radiation that had some sort of planetary healing effects also did not land well for me. Maybe I’ve just been watching too much Chernobyl recently, but I was just baffled by that choice.

The only explanation I could think of was someone trying to re-tool the IP to be more palatable to the Fox News crowd. Ecologists are bad, radiation and the US military are rad, go-go-Godzilla!

Sorry to be such a downer; I had existing plans to see it last night, but a friend wants to see it tonight for his birthday. I’m venting my spleen here to try and maintain my poker face tonight.
posted by FallibleHuman at 11:52 AM on May 31, 2019 [7 favorites]

The only explanation I could think of was someone trying to re-tool the IP to be more palatable to the Fox News crowd. Ecologists are bad, radiation and the US military are rad, go-go-Godzilla!

That seems like a bit of a stretch. The "beneficial" radiation I chalked up to sci-fi movie magic nonsense, and the US military was completely ineffective at doing much of anything in the movie. Their bomb didn't work, their jets and missiles didn't work.

There was a pretty clear thread throughout the movie that we humans have fucked up the planet but good, and the kaiju were either a "fever" to cleanse our infection, or benevolent healing "gods", depending on whether you believed the villains or the hyperborean hieroglyphics.
posted by Fleebnork at 1:13 PM on May 31, 2019 [2 favorites]

I broadly liked this movie, because my taste in movies is highly suspect and, you know, giant monsters fighting. I think Dr. Stanton (Bradley Whitford) is a stand-in for every nerd in the audience and I enjoyed his character deeply. Dr. Serizawa's (Ken Watanabe) character was totally wasted, both his end but also..what's the point in having a kaiju expert around if you're just going to aggressively disregard everything he says?

But yeah, the two parents were spectacularly awful, but in a way that I sort of appreciated. They took every actually-terrible-if-you-think-about-it trope of heroic parenting that you see whenever a parent is the lead and just put that out there in all of its awful glory. The Evil-British-Dude (who apparently survives by pure virtue of the film makers forgetting about him even though he starts as the central villain) straight up points how terrible Mom is to her face a few times and I loved that. Let us not forget, though, the point where they try to pivot to Mom being actually good and we're supposed to feel bad that she's going to die. This is straight up magical. This woman is directly responsible for planning and executing the apocalypse that is engulfing them all and has knowingly killed..thousands? millions? She's basically this generation's Hitler and is going to be reviled by everyone who survives this, but OK.
posted by selenized at 5:40 PM on May 31, 2019 [1 favorite]

I enjoyed it, not because it was a good movie, but because it was a good version of a bad movie, or, more specifically, every bad movie I liked in the 1970s. It has an alien, mass urban destruction, monsters, and even sort of had the Bermuda Triangle.

I also like it because the villains were right. It's hard to make a case that this was a retooling for the FOX crowd when the only thing the villains got wrong is that Ghidorah is a space alien. Other than that -- yes, they are bad for humanity in the short term, but legitimately are here to repair the world.

Also, some if it was just gorgeous to look at, and Mothra is the real star of the movie. I have heard complaints that it is too dark, which I have to imagine are projection problems, because it looked great to me.
posted by maxsparber at 8:16 PM on June 1, 2019 [4 favorites]

I love the bits of the movie that's already been mentioned, but like, also, Mothra? My queen.

The lead family has like, half a brain cell between them, but if I have to suffer them to get to the monster fights, so be it. Kinda wished for a proper Mothra-Godzilla tag team fight against Ghidorah though, but I'll take the Rodan fight.
posted by cendawanita at 1:28 AM on June 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

This movie was great whenever the monster were on screen. The family plot felt like YOU MUST INCLUDE THESE STORY BEATS from a screenwriter's manual but this delivered good monster fights and pleasingly ridiculous symbolism.
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:29 AM on June 3, 2019 [2 favorites]

It was by no means a GOOD movie, but it was a very FUN movie. The only part of the plot that baffled me, and thus annoyed me, was... if Emma was working with the Sinister Bad Guy (I cannot remember his name) why did they need to storm in and kidnap her and her daughter? Just for appearances? Or was she NOT working with them, but planning to do the same basic thing that they wanted to do? Or... something?
posted by sarcasticah at 12:43 PM on June 3, 2019

[...]Or was she NOT working with them[...]

I'm pretty sure she was always working with them. At one point, when she starts to vacillate on whether this was a good idea (I believe immediately after it became obvious that Ghidora was the fun and cool dude they thought they were) Evil McBritish says something to the effect of "hey you came to us". Like not only was she working with them, she came up with the whole plan in the first place and he was just the muscle.

But honestly it felt at times like the three acts were written by three different screenwriters who at no point shared notes.
posted by selenized at 7:32 PM on June 3, 2019 [4 favorites]

Well, apart from the sloppy scripting, the absurd physics, the ever-changing murky motivations, the wacky geography, the pompous soundtrack, the product placement, and he consciously PG-13 bloodless carnage, and the reliance on entirely unearned emotional payoffs, what was not to like?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:43 AM on July 15, 2019

It was boring. And interminably over-long; we paused at 1h30m for a snack and somehow there was still 40m to go. Bradley Whitford's kinda sleepwalking through it and Charles Dance is weirdly in it but not in it -- oh, he's the main villain/antagonist? but we're not actually going to see very much of him?

Yeah, a couple of really striking monster shots though.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 6:48 AM on January 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

At "Long live the King" I screamed. It was like being smothered beneath a tidal wave of cheese.
posted by GuyZero at 7:25 PM on April 7, 2021

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