Godzilla: King of the Monsters should have been the ideal sequel to 2014’s Godzilla. After the giant, nuclear power-fueled primordial leviathan was reintroduced to American audiences five years ago, the natural step was to let Earth’s other gigantic beasts (or “titans,” as they’re called by the admiring scientists in this movie) through the door that Godzilla opened.
Meet fiery pterodactyl Rodan, glowing insect Mothra and three-headed dragon Ghidorrah. (A familiar giant ape is mentioned a couple of times, but never shown. He’s being saved for the next sequel.) And we get several unnamed, insignificant monsters — the residents of the cities they destroy might disagree – briefly shown on screen.
Director Michael Dougherty (Trick ‘r Treat), who co-wrote the script with Zach Shields (Krampus), toys with the presumption that Godzilla is the unquestioned big man on the titan campus. One of the other beasts stakes a claim as the planet’s apex predator and challenges the champ after being unleashed from frozen hibernation. “Let them fight!” — as Dr. Ishirō Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) declared in the previous movie.
Yet, there isn’t enough of that fighting. The spectacle is obscured in darkness with the battles occurring at night. And the action scenes are disjointed, intercut with the peril of the story’s human characters. Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga and Millie Bobby Brown give their best efforts as a family shattered by Godzilla’s destruction of San Francisco five years prior. But they’re just a diversion from the giant lizard clashing with the colossal dragon. C’mon, guys! What are we paying to see?
Abundant fleets of overbearing military aircraft and several bad ideas for killing the beasts combine with the monster fights and family drama to create far too much noise. Your senses will be exhausted at the end of it. Then the movie threatens more to come. Give us another few years to recover!