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Review – Godzilla: King of the Monsters – “Absolutely nails the creature design”

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Godzilla: King of the Monsters follows on from Godzilla and Kong: Skull Island, is written and directed by Michael Dougherty (Trick ‘r Treat), and stars Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things), Kyle Chandler (Argo), Vera Farmiga (The Conjuring), Charles Dance (Game of Thrones), Ken Watanabe (Inception), Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water), Ziyi Zhang (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), Bradley Whitford (Get Out) and O’Shea Jackson Jr. (Straight Outta Compton).

The Russels’ are a family divided. After losing their son during the San Francisco attack at the end of Godzilla, dad, Mark (Chandler), splits to go and take photographs of tigers as far away as possible, leaving mum, Emma (Farmiga), and daughter, Madison (Brown) to grieve and build a machine that replicates the roar of a titan and can be used to calm the giant monsters down or to rile them up.

Bad guy, Jonah (Dance), nicks the machine, kidnaps Emma and Madison and sets about travelling the globe and awakening seventeen titans to destroy the world – so it can come back better or something, because humans are trash.

Mark returns and joins up with the scientists (Watanabe, Hawkins, Zhang and Whitford) to stop Jonah, rescue his wife and daughter and get Godzilla to beat up the other titans before they kill us all.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters absolutely nails the creature designs. Godzilla, Mothra, Rhodan and Ghidorah all look incredible and there are some truly epic shots of these iconic monsters. Thanks to lots of little character moments like Ghidorah’s heads snapping at each other in frustration, Mothra’s loyal ride-or-die face and Rhodan’s untrustworthy head tilt their personalities all shine through too.

In action though, things aren’t so great. The aerial chases kind of work and on the ground the Titans have some great poses, but the grappling fights have hard to follow physical geography and just aren’t exciting – it never feels like there is any suspense, stakes or danger.

On the human side, Millie is good – with a valiant, earnest and genuine-feeling performance – but O’Shea Jackson gets nothing to do bar an eye-rollingly bad The Thing reference, Dance is clearly here for the cheque and definitely knows that this is a bad film, while everyone else is made to look very silly earnestly yelling out an awful soap opera script with seemingly no direction and Whitford’s “jokes” and pithy one-liners – he’s that guy –  flatline every. single. time.

There are some cool visuals, and the big guy’s roar can still make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, but Godzilla: King of the Monsters plods and is borderline OK when it should RULE.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters is out now in the UK.

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