★★½ - A Review by Cameron Kanachki
2014's Godzilla was very good, although the screenplay could've used some touchups. 2017's Kong: Skull Island was a bucket of fun that was also incredibly well-made. So far, the MonsterVerse is 2 for 2.
However, Godzilla: King of the Monsters stops the MonsterVerse from going 3 for 3, as it is ultimately mediocre. The film follows Dr. Mark Russell (Kyle Chandler), an animal behavior & communication specialist who formerly worked for Monarch & is known for creating the ORCA, which allows humans to communicate with Titans, creatures who once ruled the Earth. Mark has been chosen by Dr. Ishiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) & Dr. Vivienne Graham (Sally Hawkins) of Monarch to help find his ex-wife Emma (Vera Farmiga) & his daughter Madison (Millie Bobby Brown), who have been kidnapped by an ecoterrorist group led by Alan Jonah (Charles Dance) while watching over Mothra. While reluctant at first, as Godzilla killed his son Andrew during its rampage through San Francisco in 2014, Mark ultimately agrees.
Meanwhile, Godzilla is traveling to Amtarctica, followed by Jonah, where he intends to free a Titan known as Monster Zero. Monster Zero is awoken, killing several Monarch members. The Titan Rodan is also awoken in Mexico. The military, mainly Admiral William Stenz (David Strathairn), want to use weapons to take down Monster Zero at all costs, but Monarch believes that Godzilla is their best bet at defeating Monster Zero.
At Monarch's Bermuda base, they deploy their G-Team, led by Col. Diane Foster (Aisha Hinds), & including Jackson Barnes (O'Shea Jackson Jr.). Also at the base are Dr. Sam Coleman (Thomas Middleditch), Monarch's director of technology; Dr. Rick Stanton (Bradley Whitford), a crypto-sonographer; & twin mythologists Dr. Ilene Chen (Zhang Ziyi) & Dr. Ling Chen (Zhang Ziyi), who discover that Monster Zero is King Ghidorah, an ancient three-headed monster. They must all fight to stop Ghidorah from influencing the other Titans.
The cast is excellent. Kyle Chandler does some of his best work. Vera Farmiga shows that she is great in non-horror roles. Millie Bobby Brown shows that she has a great future in film. And Bradley Whitford is the standout in a role reminiscent of the character of Rick Sanchez on Rick & Morty.
Michael Dougherty's direction is great. Although Dougherty has some issues with making the first two acts interesting, he makes up for it with an action-packed third act.
The screenplay by Michael Dougherty, Zach Shields & Max Borenstein is mediocre. The plot is very thin & boring, the characters are underdeveloped, & the dialogue isn't the best.
And the visual effects are stunning. The CGI is incredibly well-done, & the fights & explosions are intense, in-your-face, & impressive.
It could've been better. In fact, from what the trailers showed, it should've been better. However, the action sequences & performances aren't enough to overcome a terribly weak storyline & an underwritten screenplay.
Godzilla: King of the Momsters was seen by me at the MJR Marketplace Digital Cinema 20 in Sterling Heights, MI on Thursday, May 30, 2019. It is in theaters everywhere. Its runtime is 132 minutes, & it is rated PG-13 for sequences of monster action violence & destruction, & for some language.