If you are a fan of the genre, then Godzilla: King of Monsters scores a direct hit with its unashamed B-movie sensibilities in a big monster mash directed by Michael Dougherty (Krampus).
What a monster movie, though, and one which isn’t afraid to gloss over the role played by the humans who have to advance a plot which sounds a lot like pure hokum when written down.
In a movie which is a sequel to 2014’s Godzilla and 2017’s Kong: Skull Island, we see a bunch of eco-terrorists unwittingly wake 16 other gigantic ‘titans’ with the extremely dangerous ‘King Ghidorah’ threatening to lay waste to the planet.
Not exactly try the most original way to kick off a film – but leave your brain at home for this movie and bring the popcorn and you’ll be just fine if you’re up for a B-movie monster smashathon.
Cities are laid to waste before Monarch, an organisation which has been tracking the ‘titans’ for decades, begin the counter attack with the survival of humanity at stake.
Ken Watanabe, Sally Hawkins, and David Strathairn return from Gareth Edwards’ original Godzilla film to grease the plot wheels.
Bradley Whitford and Watanabe embrace the B-movie sensibilities, alongside Hawkins as scientists, with gusto while the central family – played by Kyle Chandler, Vera Formiga, and Millie Bobby Brown (of Netflix Stranger Things fame) work hard to be relevant to the ‘big’ storyline.
Charles Dance also does well with what he gets to do but the main point of pure B-movies like this is to get down to the action – and boy is there action along with some very expensive looking destruction.
The bad news is that there’s too much of the cgi heavyweight destruction of cities going on in rainswept, dusty and murky environments.
The good news is that fans of Godzilla’s rich and storied back catalogue – this is his 35th appearance in celluloid – are properly honoured in this film and there are some emotional moments to enjoy in between the heavyweight clash of the titans.
Watch on the biggest screen possible but perhaps avoid altogether if you aren’t a fan of shaky cam action or prefer a film which needs you to think a bit harder about the plot.
I’ll admit I had a bit of a headache at the end of the shaky Jason Bourne style camera work and I’ll admit that it did spoil my overall enjoyment of the spectacle.
Regardless of what you think of it, this series of films is due another sequel next year – a rare example of a non Marvel film franchise becoming popular – look forward to seeing Godzilla take on King Kong in 2020.
And stay till the end of the credits for a a bonus scene.
Godzilla: King of Monsters (12A; moderate threat, violence, infrequent strong language; 131 minutes)
Director(s): Michael Dougherty
Cast Includes: Millie Bobby Brown, Charles Dance, Vera Farmiga, Sally Hawkins, Bradley Whitford, Ziyi Zhang
Summary: GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS is a US action fantasy in which eco-terrorists release ancient monsters who battle for supremacy.
Rating: *** (Huge and kinetic crowd pleaser if you like Godzilla or action films)