‘Gorgeous’ monsters can’t save ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’

By Chic DiCiccio

Charles Dance, Vera Farmiga, Zac Zedalis, Jonathan Howard, Joshua Leary, Millie Bobby Brown (third from left) and Tracie Garrison in “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.”
Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures/Daniel McFadden

“Oh no. They say he’s got to go, go, go, Godzilla.” For anyone interested in a movie that contains traditional story elements such as “plot” or “character,” those lyrics will absolutely ring true. That goofy Blue Oyster Cult song is more entertaining than “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” and if you’ve never heard that song, well, just know that isn’t good. 

“Godzilla: King of the Monsters” is a disastrous movie. Not a disaster movie. Disastrous. There isn’t anything remotely close to a plot and the characters make choices so stupid that you may root for the giant monsters to actually put an end to humankind. To make matters worse, there’s nary a second of relief and this movie wants you to take it all seriously. 

The movie begins with some promise as it picks up in the middle of San Francisco’s destruction from the 2014 film, “Godzilla.” During that battle, Dr. Mark Russell (Kyle Chandler) and Dr. Emma Russell’s (Vera Farmiga) young son is killed and it drives them apart. Emma and the couple’s surviving daughter, Madison (Millie Bobby Brown), join up with Monarch, the monster hunting agency that doesn’t seem to report to a specific government and has an endless supply of funding. 

After Emma and Madison are kidnapped by eco-terrorist Alan Jorah (Charles Dance), the remaining Monarch members bring Mark in to help track them down. Of course, nothing goes right, and one by one, giant monsters are released to then destroy all the major cities on Earth. 

This leads to an endless amount of monster fights and destruction, while actors like Ken Watanabe, Sally Hawkins, Thomas Middleditch and O’Shea Jackson simply stare upwards, mouths agape and only moving when they are forced to spit out a poorly conceived quip. Bradley Whitford is the only actor who manages to turn his one-dimensional dialogue into something that is somewhat entertaining. 

Poor Kyle Chandler is so miscast that he whispers his lines as if embarrassed to be saying them. Vera Farmiga is not only stiff as a board, but her character arc is completely preposterous and director/writer Michael Dougherty (along with co-writer Zach Shields) would need years to explain away that mess. 

Millie Bobby Brown does more of what she does on “Stranger Things” — being put upon and constantly screaming while under duress. 

At least the effects and action are top notch, right? Errrr, not so much. The monsters are gorgeous, and their detail is truly spectacular, but the fighting becomes repetitive and it loses the sense of urgency by the start of the second hour. The movie tries to build suspense and tension as Godzilla takes beating after beating and is thought dead, but that’s a tough sell considering this thing has “King of the Monsters” in its title. 

The cool monsters initially carry it, but once that wears off, the ridiculous plot of “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” becomes too much to ignore. By the time all the monsters and characters get together in Boston, there’s little left to care about. To make matters worse, it feels like the movie should have ended three or four times. For a movie this dumb, one ending is all that you really need.