Godzilla 2: King of the Monsters (2019) Review

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RATING: 3.5/5

With the awakening of King Ghidorah and the natural order thrown out of wack, humanity needs help from Godzilla to stop Ghidorah and restore that order to its rightful glory.

While “Godzilla” 2014 was an adequate American reboot of the franchise. The sequel right here delivers on many things that will surely make lots of Godzilla fans happy. As for the most part, this is a pretty good improvement over the predecessor.

The human characters, albeit were thin and didn’t have much backstory, were many times likable than the 2014 film. They weren’t boring, they actually had some life and personality toward them. This film had a pretty good cast and many of them do give fine performances. It’s not particularly great, but one can tell that all of the actors/actresses were having fun with this blockbuster/popcorn feature. The best actor was Ken Watanabe. He returned in this and he had a somber scene which was a reverse parallel to one infamous scene in the original “Gojira” film from 1954.

Unlike the serious tone of the 2014 film, much like with Kong: Skull Island, this movie took a campier, cheesier, and tongue-in-cheek direction. As I was watching this, the whole experience reminded of “Pacific Rim.” Where this movie went along for the ride and doesn’t hold anything back. This type of shift I believe was appropriate and this was the tone I want for future installments of the MonsterVerse. Sure the humor didn’t land all the time, but the whole mood of the entire thing was nonetheless, fun. Which was what I wanted it to be.

Visual effects in the movie were very good. As one saw from the first trailer, many of the effects and how it was presented seemed like it was borrowed from a Renaissance painting. There were many colors popping. A large chunk of it looked gorgeous.

The cinematography was mixed and this was something that the 2014 film did better I thought. There were some shots to show the sheer magnitude of the destruction and the beauty of the visuals. There were cool POV shots, particularly from the Rodan scene, where people were looking at something terrifying in the distance.  But there were shots where the camera was close-up and it was fast-edited, thus making it bit hard to figure out what was happening.

Music in the film was very well done. There were original scores introduced, as well as playing the classic themes including Mothra, Rodan, Ghidorah, and of course, Godzilla. I was so glad that the awesome Godzilla theme from Akira Ifukube was here. Something that was severely lacking from the 2014 movie. The other sounds presented were good. Godzilla had its trademark roar. Mothra had her roars. It didn’t sound like Ghidorah or Rodan had their recognizable roars, but I may have to watch it again.

I wasn’t bored with the movie. There wasn’t a dull or slow moment. I was kept engaged for the whole time.

As the film showcased in the trailers, Rodan, Mothra, and Ghidorah were here and they were all presented great. All of their reveals were really good. Rodan was the best as it was coming out of an erupting volcano. The air chase he did shortly after was tense and pretty cool to see.  Their designs and powers were really cool. Whenever Ghidorah was on-screen, one couldn’t look away from him as he was a majestic yet dangerous force. Definitely better than the anime Ghidorah by FAR. A vast majority of the fights were short but sweet. I really wish we would have seen more, especially with the Mothra/Rodan fight. But whenever Godzilla and Ghidorah fight, it was epic. I will say there was an underwater fight, which was average. But compared to underwater Kaiju fights in the past, it was one of the best if not the best.

One can actually SEE the fights and know what was happening. As I said, the fast-editing can be at times hard to focus. There was of course rain which is in a lot of Kaiju movies. But for the most part, I can tell what was going on.

The film threw in some environment themes, which was good at giving a reason for why the bad guys want the Titans loose on Earth. I wish it was further explored.

The film dived deeper into the backstory of Godzilla. It showcased an ancient civilization that worshipped him and it was the place where he would go to gain radiation. The movie also expanded the world of the MonsterVerse. Like showcasing more of the Monarch Organization and delivering other new Kaijus. It doesn’t show all of the new Kaiju, only a few. I’ll say my favorite was the elephant Kaiju, Behemoth.

It seemed like director Michael Dougherty did his homework at bringing a Godzilla film that stayed true to the classic era of the character. There were many easter eggs, nods, and references to other Godzilla films that were nice. Though there was one that was completely unnecessary and it was treated as a throwaway piece. The tributes (Banno and Nakajima) at the very end of the credits were sweet.

Of course with this being a part of a cinematic universe, there was a post-credit scene. It was cool I suppose. It did make me curious as to what will come in the future.

“Godzilla 2: King of the Monsters,” was a good sequel and a better movie than its predecessor. It was stupid, ridiculous, campy, cheesy, and bonkers. But as a Godzilla and Kaiju fan, that was something I appreciated it. It was entertaining with its music, effects, action, tone, and it was a step in the right direction for Americans making a Godzilla film altogether. I am so looking forward to what “Godzilla vs Kong” delivers next year.