2014’s Godzilla reboot was a triumphant return for Toho’s iconic monster, and thanks to the first film, the sequel arrives with all the foreshadowing and exposition out of the way, introducing us to a far bigger and detailed world of monsters and colossal beasts that flesh out one of the most entertaining monster movies in the giant lizard’s illustrious history.
While the first Godzilla film took a slow-burn approach to the character’s inevitable reveal (only really appearing in the latter part of the movie), King of the Monsters ups the screen-time of the titanic character tremendously, but doesn’t lose touch of the human-element too, which has always been a staple of the franchise.
Stranger Things‘ Millie Bobby Brown does a fantastic job at bringing an element of child-like awe alongside the starring creatures, while Vera Farmiga and Kyle Chandler offer some predictable, but charismatic heroics throughout the film. Ken Watanabe is the only character reprising his role from the first movie, and acts as the moral compass for Godzilla’s intentions, helping bridge the gap between man and beast and give some interesting mythology to the ancient behemoth – which always makes for a captivating scene. The performances are all great, with the only downfall being some unusual attempts at humour to lighten the apocalyptic tone of the film, which often fall flat as jokes don’t land or seem organic given the context of the high-tension sequences.
While the human cast has been expanded in the sequel, so has the roster of Titans. The franchise’s other famed creatures, Mothra, Rodan, and Godzilla’s horrifying three-headed nemesis Ghidorah, all make their Western film debut, giving the beloved leviathan some opponents for some much-anticipated city-ruining battles. Thankfully, King of the Monsters does a great job at capturing and visualising the scale of these monumental fights with some truly spectacular cinematography and some well-orchestrated shots from the human characters’ perspective amongst the chaos.
After an initial breaking-in period with the first film, the sequel allows director Michael Dougherty to go full-tilt and throw the kitchen sink in for Godzilla’s second outing, which has paid off tremendously. Despite some minor hiccups in tone, King of the Monsters invests the audience in the human and Titan characters, delivers some breathtaking CGI, and ups the scale of Legendary and Warner Bros’ monster-universe to new heights.