Godzilla: King of the Monsters is now in theaters, but critics have been left divided over director Michael Dougherty's entry into the MonsterVerse, with the sequel attracting many negative reviews. Picking up five years after the events of 2014's Godzilla, King of the Monsters sees more Titans emerging from within the Earth, including Mothra, Rodan, and the terrifyingly powerful King Ghidorah. With humanity all but helpless to stop the rampaging kaiju, it's left to Godzilla to battle Ghidorah for dominance of the Titans.
Ken Watanabe and Sally Hawkins reprise their roles as Monarch scientists Dr. Ishiro Serizawa and Dr. Vivienne Graham, but otherwise Godzilla: King of the Monsters stars a mostly new cast of characters, led by Vera Farmiga, Kyle Chandler, and Millie Bobby Brown as the Russell family. The sequel blends human drama with a catastrophic global emergence of Titans, and has epic battles between Ghidorah, Godzilla, Rodan and Mothra. On the face of it, it sounds like a crowd-pleaser - so why the bad reviews?
The general consensus from critics who disliked Godzilla: King of the Monsters is that the movie has spectacle and some genuinely outstanding battle moments, but they're dragged down by a weak story, silly dialogue, and dull plotting. Not everyone was impressed by the Titan battles, either, with some reviewers pointing a finger at the blue-tinted cinematography and endless barrage of bad weather for making everything too murky and hard to make out. Here's a sampling of some of the reviewers' complaints.
"It’s loud and muddled and overlong, and it spends too much time focusing on the too-many characters as they exchange ridiculous dialogue and stare up in wide-eyed wonder at the madness in the skies and in the seas and right in front of them."
"The length and the pacing are the biggest problem. Running over two hours, the sequel crams every dialogue scene with a mountain of exposition, with different characters finding slightly different ways of restating the information just to be absolutely sure those in the audience get it."
"Godzilla: King of the Monsters suffers from Marvel-inspired attempts create a monster-themed cinematic universe incorporating 2017’s woefully inept Kong: Skull Island and from the more pressing, though not unrelated, issue of being unforgivably dull."
While that doesn't sound great, it's worth noting that Godzilla: King of the Monsters has been quite a polarizing movie and has its fair share of positive reviews as well. Moreover, there seems to be a divide between critic and audience opinion; though King of the Monsters has a mere 41% score from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, it has an impressive 90% from verified ticket buyers. So, if you're not looking for sophisticated dialogue or an intricate plot from a Godzilla movie, and just want to see some huge monsters beating the hell out of each other, there's a good chance you'll walk away satisfied. Here are some of King of the Monsters' more positive reviews:
"Titan designs are gorgeous, with Dougherty paying attention to imposing scale and bioluminescent colors, putting incredible effort into the picture’s CGI buffet... You want chaos? Dougherty delivers chaos, and “King of the Monsters” is loaded city-clearing business, making these encounters the highlights of the movie."
"Dougherty has packed this thing with all kinds of fire and fury and darkness — actually too much of it as he rarely lets the audience sit back and take a breather. This is Godzilla for the attention-deficit crowd, which is exactly why it probably will do just fine."
"Every time the film critic in me wants to point out its flaws, my inner 10-year-old keeps telling him to shut up. Essentially, this is a movie that anyone who grew up loving the Japanese kaiju pictures, and has wanted to see what one of Toho’s monster rallies would look like with a $200-million budget and the latest CGI technology, will not want to miss."
Do you think Godzilla: King of the Monsters' negative reviews are fair, or do you think the monster brawl is seriously underappreciated? Let us know in the comments!
- Godzilla vs. Kong (2020) release date: Mar 13, 2020