Rent Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)

2.9 of 5 from 31 ratings
2h 12min
Rent Godzilla: King of the Monsters (aka Fathom / Godzilla 2) Online DVD & Blu-ray Rental
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Synopsis:
The new story follows the heroic efforts of the crypto-zoological agency Monarch as its members face off against a battery of god-sized monsters, including the mighty Godzilla, who collides with Mothra, Rodan, and his ultimate nemesis, the three-headed King Ghidorah. When these ancient super-species - thought to be mere myths - rise again, they all vie for supremacy, leaving humanity's very existence hanging in the balance.
Actors:
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Directors:
Writers:
Michael Dougherty, Zach Shields
Aka:
Fathom / Godzilla 2
Studio:
Warner
Genres:
Action & Adventure, Coming Soon, Horror, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
BBFC:
Release Date:
07/10/2019
Run Time:
132 minutes
BBFC:
Release Date:
07/10/2019
Run Time:
134 minutes
BBFC:
Release Date:
07/10/2019
Run Time:
134 minutes
BBFC:
Release Date:
07/10/2019
Run Time:
134 minutes

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Reviews (1) of Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Best non-Toho Godzilla film yet - spoilers. - Godzilla: King of the Monsters review by NP

Spoiler Alert
05/06/2019

In 1998, America’s mighty film studios took on the Godzilla mantle from licensors Toho. The release was not the success it was hoped to be, and the critics, as they often do, gave it a hard time. In 2014, Legendry Entertainment made a far better-received version. In 2019 came the sequel, which proves the old adage ‘third time lucky’ to be quite true.

This is a true celebration of audience memories of Godzilla films, whichever ones they may be. Triumphant echoes to the past include purist-pleasing mentions of Godzilla ‘lore’ (if we are to call it that), none more so than vast slabs of music from the original films including, of course, Akira Ifukube’s monumental original theme. Bear McCreary ‘s music sometimes strays into unmemorable bombast, but also has moments of greatness, particularly Ghidorah’s sing-song call to his titanic minions.

I found the human characters – rarely anyone’s reason for seeing such a film – incredibly bland in 2014’s ‘Godzilla’: square-jawed vacuums racing around the carnage trying to save their insignificant family trophies from probable death c/o Big G and his city-snuffing ways. There is an element of that here, particularly towards the end, but the human characters are a lot more real, a lot better acted and therefore much easier to care about. Debonair Charles Dance lends his steely-eyed insidiousness to the much less virtuous Jonah Alan. (If, like me, you wondered what happened to him towards the end, stick around after the credits have rolled.) Sally Hawkins is also very good as the PJ Harvey-esque Dr, Vivienne Graham, and Millie Bobby Brown not only makes sure her character, young Madison, steers clear of the brattish tendencies that sometimes afflicts heroic film juveniles, but that she is also very real and appealing.

And yet the monsters are who we really come to see. And ‘King of the Monsters’ does not disappoint. We see plenty of them, and this time, the camera doesn’t cut away every time a fight breaks out. Ghidorah is one heck of a nasty piece of work, albeit with a nifty, icky way of regenerating on of his three heads if need be. Rodan is great fun, all beak and swooping wings. Mothra is genuinely beautiful, and possesses a sense of ethereality that earlier films often strove for, but didn’t always achieve (there’s even a brief mention of her guiding human twins, although mercifully we’re speared actually seeing them).

As for the main man, the big lad, the star performer, Godzilla – he’s been battered in fights before, but always come back fighting. Here, he requires a little help. Does this undermine him as The King? Not really. His regenerative powers are revealed, but if left to the natural cause of things, the world might have come to an end. So he is given a push (albeit one requiring a massive cost), no more than that. And there is something air-punchingly great about his returns from the brink. Such moments have been great in the past but here, with some extraordinary effects at play and with such a horrible and seemingly unstoppable opponent, it is difficult not to feel elated. Watching this on the big screen with a bunch of strangers, I felt like cheering. And when the sparingly used atomic breath makes an appearance, it’s impossible not to feel elated.

My score for this is 9 out of 10. ‘King of Monsters’ hardly puts a step wrong. We’re not waiting 45 minutes for the first bout of monster action, and after the fights are over, we don’t have tedious minutes of sickly human ‘bonding’ to sit through. Looking through the rolling ends credits, you can understand why it has taken five years to plan and make this meticulous masterpiece. You’d need an atomic heart not to enjoy it.

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Critic review

Godzilla: King of the Monsters (aka Fathom / Godzilla 2) review by Mark McPherson - Cinema Paradiso

It’s sad to report that second outing of the latest American rendition of Godzilla, his last appearance in the 2014 film by Gareth Edwards, unfortunately, falls back on the familiar cliches of the genre. Whereas the previous the film at least had a different angle, King of the Monsters returns to the usual, albeit this time with a beefier budget for competent CGI of giant monsters. Sure, you’ll get more fights, more monsters, and heaps of destruction this time around, but at the end of the day, this film offers little else than a loftier roster with old tropes. It’s essentially your standard Godzilla outing.

The story is at least busy enough to never get too lost in the melodrama of the human story. Five years after Godzilla fought the Mutos, the Monarch corporation has gone from trying to cover up the existence of these titans to convincing the world governments to live in harmony with the likes of Godzilla. They’re not buying it. One group is buying into it a little bit more is a secret organization of eco-terrorists wants to sabotage Monarch and let all the monsters free, believing that the Earth must be cleansed by this titans to allow it to flourish for both species. They believe King Ghidorah is the ultimate king to weave this worldwide rebirth, but those familiar with Godzilla lore know there’s more to the three-headed monster than what initially appears.

This version of Godzilla, more than any other American adaptation, is the first film to get the average tone of the genre right, while at the same time doing nothing new with it. Weaved into this tale of monsters is a family drama where Kyle Chandler plays a dad on a mission to save his family from the monsters and the eco-terrorists, leading to a handful of melodramatic exchanges. There’s enough expositional craziness going on that such predictable developments as coming together, running back home, or making a sacrifice are mostly glossed over. Chandler’s ex-wife played by Vera Farmiga is a scientist who plays a crucial role in monsters being unearthed. Millie Bobby Brown plays their daughter and fulfills the reaction quota well. But only about as well as everyone else.

Adhering to the typical format, most of the story is talking about Godzilla and other monsters, with lots of Star Trek worthy babbling and little personality. Bradley Whitford is the wise-cracking scientist. Sally Hawkins is the touchy-feely monster lover. Charles Dance is the stuffy villain on the side of the monsters. Thomas Middleditch is the plucky new director of Monarch. Aisha Hinds is the gruff military leader. O'Shea Jackson Jr. is the back-talking grunt. David Strathairn is the exposition-shouting Admiral once more. Also returning is Ken Watanabe as Godzilla’s #1 fan who knows him best, that letting the monsters fight is the only way to win...sort of.

But does anyone care about this? Aren’t we really here for the monster fights? Yes, and there are plenty. Godzilla versus King Ghidorah in a throwdown of the atomic-energy barfing giant and the three-headed dragon of electric powers. Mothra shows up at the right time to get in a duel with the other flying monster of Rodan. Throw in some oxygen bombs and atomic booster bombs for Godzilla and you have a Godzilla film that hits all the right notes. There’s no going off the script this time.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters fits neatly enough into the bare requirements of the franchise but not much else. If you’re really into Godzilla and just want to see more of the same with a fresh and modern CGI makeover, this film delivers. But as someone who has been on this ride before, I can’t help but look perplexed and ask if that’s all there is.

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