One of the bigger complaints about the 2014’s ‘Godzilla’ was that in the vein of something like ‘Jaws’, it built up for a while until making the monster visible so obviously some folks wanted to see more Godzilla. While I wasn’t one of those and was actually very pleased how it was executed, I can understand why in this 2019 sequel, Godzilla: King Of The Monsters, they just showcase every kaiju as much as they possibly can. Godzilla himself is back in all of his size but there are also bunch of others that awaken. They are all involved in the best parts of the film but sadly all of the even mildly interesting human parts are replaced by pure dumpster fire.
In the first film what I found to be commendable was that the line between locations and coloured screen VFX was more blurred than often is the case. In ‘Monsters’ though it is mostly visual effects artists doing the heavy lifting since nothing feels to be at stake here. All the monster movement and fights look simply incredible to the point that I almost got lost in momentary bliss. Even when the establishing shots are dark and lack the human-to-kaiju-or-building scale that the first movie wonderfully showed, the destroying and breaking stuff are fun. All the kaijus are anchored by their own glorious sound work, whenever Godzilla roars or stomps you do feel it in your skin.
Most people both behind the camera and in front changed between films so there is a big separation between them which leads to the biggest problems. Anything and everything to do with humans is a miss as director Michael Dougherty never seems to be in control. The family we followed in the first was alright but here the new one featuring Kyle Chandler (dad Mark), Vera Farmiga (mom Emma) and Millie Bobby Brown (daughter Madison) are written to be basically NPC video game characters while Chandler and Farmiga are truly awful in their roles. All of them seem to lack any sort of direction from Dougherty as Brown is basically left staring into space to the best of her abilities. Besides them basically all the female characters in the film are treated to be expendable while the male characters exist just to tell the viewer about a technological aspect used to follow the monsters, all of the dialogue is unimaginative.
Smileys: VFX, sound design
Frowneys: Acting, directing, dialogue
Fast forward to the parts with the creatures and you’ll walk out satisfied.