Film review: Godzilla: King of the Monsters

This monster movie is a monumental flop, says our critic Linda Marric


The sequel to Gareth Edward’s 2014 reboot of the ubiquitous Godzilla franchise could well be the first truly abysmal big budget production of the summer. Directed and co-written by Michael Dougherty (Krampus), Godzilla: King Of The Monsters presents such a preposterous and idiotic plot, that even those with expert knowledge of the franchise might find it impossible to follow.

Set five years after the end of the first instalment and starring Vera Farmiga (The Departed, Up In The Air) and Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights, Manchester By The Sea), the story follows the crypto-zoological agency Monarch as its scientists face off against more giant monsters. As well as reacquainting audiences with the mighty lizard king Godzilla, this new chapter introduces some new adversaries, including the powerful three-headed behemoth Ghidorah.

After suffering a great loss five years earlier in the first attacks, Dr Emma Russell (Farmiga) has dedicated her life to attempting to understand the nature of the monster who killed her son. On the other side of the world, her husband Mark (Chandler) is finding it equally impossible to come to terms with the events which went on to destroy his marriage and kept him away from the couple’s teenage daughter Madison (played beautifully by Stranger Things teen star Millie Bobby Brown).

When both Emma and Madison are taken hostage by a group of eco-terrorists headed by Jonah Alan (a suitably sinister Charles Dance), Mark must locate his family and retrieve the Orca, a scientific gadget created by Emma and which could help stop Armageddon.

Even if one is willing to forgive its ludicrously complicated and drawn-out plot, there’s no ignoring the fact that Godzilla: King of The Monsters is simply not a very good movie. Michael Dougherty presents a poorly written screenplay and a story so devoid of any coherence that it seems unable to decide what to do with its protagonists.

Squandering the bulk of an undoubtedly huge budget on some dimly lit and poorly thought-out action set pieces, the film fails to bring anything new to a franchise which, impressively, is on its 35th instalment.

Elsewhere, the usually excellent and hugely funny O'Shea Jackson Jr (Straight Outta Compton, Ingrid Goes West) is wasted in a role which barely sees him uttering more than a couple of sentences throughout. The immeasurable talent of Sally Hawkins is squandered on a “blink and you’ll miss it” appearance.

Overall, Godzilla: King Of The Monsters is a huge misfire for Warner Bros and for what is being referred to as the MonsterVerse series. Here’s hoping that lessons could be learnt before the next instalment which is likely to pit Godzilla against the franchise’s other iconic monster, King Kong. 

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