Monsters have always been an important key in Hollywood. Ever since the first King Kong was released in 1933, we have had a lot of different stories about beasts in different shapes. Of course Hollywood knew that the audience loved frightening monsters, so they made a lot of films to try and please horror fans. Who remember the cult classic Creature From The Black Lagoon, released in 1954 ? Directed by Jack Arnold, this film tells the story of a geology expedition in the Amazon, who discover a fossilized skeletal hand from the Devonian period that provides a direct link between land and sea animals. And this expedition is being watched by a piscine amphibious humanoid, that no one has ever seen before. Creature From The Black Lagoon may not look amazing in present day, as it probably did back in the 50´s. But as a monster movie, this is a true classic with a great story and a great looking costume design ( considering they worked hard to make this costume work for the film ). Let´s stay within the 50´s but move to Japan instead. In 1954 the first film was released about the giant monster Godzilla. Directed by Ishiró Honda, this film tells the background story of Godzilla, as it is the first time we see the beast. Scientists and politicians deal with a sudden appearance of a giant monster known as Godzilla, whose attack triggers fear of nucelar holocaust during post-war Japan. It was clear that the Japanese audience loved the monster Godzilla, and the giant beast kept coming back for a lot of films. I have not seen all of the Japanese Godzilla films, only a few of them, and i did enjoy some titles. Of course i did see the American version from 1998, not a film i like to think about. But the 2014 film was of course a pleasent surprise, and the best Godzilla film so far in my opinion. We have a sequel here now, and i just had to experience Godzilla: King Of The Monsters in a cinema. Is this the Gozilla sequel we all wanted, or should this sequel have been stopped from being made ?
Dr. Emma Russell ( Vera Farmiga ) is a paleobiologist for the crypto-zoological organization Monarch, wich seeks out and studies giant creaturs known as " Titans ". She and her daughter Madison Russell ( Millie Bob Brown ) witness the birth of a larva dubbed Mothra. Emma calms Mothra down with the " Orca ", a device that can control Titan behavior. A Group of eco-terrorists, led by Alan Jonah ( Charles Dance ), suddenly attack the base and kidnaps Emma and Madison. Mothra flees and pupates under a waterfall. Monarch scientists Dr. Ishiro Serizawa ( Ken Watanabe ) and Dr. Vivienne Graham ( Sally Hawkins ) approach Dr. Mark Russell ( Kyle Chandler ), Emma´s ex-husband and Madison´s father, to ask for his help. The Monarch team tracks down Godzilla in Antarctica, where Emma and Madison is located as well. Emma awakens Monster Zero, who kills several Monarch members. They find out that Emma was actually not kidnapped by the terrorists, but was secretely working with them. Emma contacts the team and inform why Titans must be awakened in order to heal the planet from the damage that humans have caused. But Monster Zero is actually an alien seeking to terraform the Earth with the help of other Titans. Humanity will be lost unless Godzilla can bring back hope.
If you love big monster fights, then this sequel will probably please you for trying to give you more monster battles than in the 2014 film adaptation of Godzilla. And i will admit that some scenes are cool, they feel pretty epic when Godzilla fight the massive monsters. But there is one problem i have with this film, compared to the 2014 film. And that is the characters are not very strong in this film, as they were in the previous film. That does not mean all the performances are bad here, not at all. I will get into some of the performances i did enjoy. Actor Kyle Chandler ( who most of you have most likely seen in the really good drama film Manchester By The Sea ) as the lead character Dr. Mark Russell is a great lead character, and Kyle manage to make this character more interesting through his emotional performance. Actress Vera Farmiga ( who i especially adore in The Conjuring films ) also gives a solid performance as Dr. Emma Russell. One of the characters that gives this film a deeper meaning, is actor Ken Watanabe as Dr. Ishiro Serizawa ( who also was in the Godzilla film from 2014 ). Especially one scene towards the endwith Ken Watanabe, is both very emotional and well made. But these are the only performances that stood out for me , and we have a lot of characters in this film. Remember how good legendary actor Bryan Cranston was in the 2014 film version Godzilla ? This acting level is not reached in Godzilla: King Of The Monsters and i think this film would have needed that. Let´s get into some positive details though. The action scenes in this film ( compared to the previous film ) are more majestic. I like the fact that this film tries to look more like the old Godzilla films, where the beast attacks in a brutal way. There is especially one scene towards the end where Godzilla is forced to strike really hard, and i appreciate the CGI effects. This film also manage to work pretty good as a monster film, showing us some great details about the beasts. Director Michael Dougherty ( who directed the cult classic horror film Trick ´r´ Treat ) have done a pretty good job with this sequel. He clearly wanted to bring back the old school formula of Godzilla, and manage to do so. Godzilla: King of The Monsters is a film that you will enjoy if you love monster films, and Godzilla films in general. And you will forget about the 1998 version as well watching this film, and that is of course a good sign.