Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Godzilla: King of the Monsters

2019, PG-13, 132 min. Directed by Michael Dougherty. Starring Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, Ken Watanabe, Bradley Whitford, Sally Hawkins, Charles Dance.

REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., May 31, 2019

Officially the longest-running film franchise in history, Toho Studios’ gargantuan, Atomic Age metaphor-on-steroids has become a global pop culture staple. Thirty-four movies, Saturday morning cartoons, sugary breakfast cereals, memorably comic cameos in One Crazy Summer and Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, and even a late-Seventies stint as a member of the Marvel Comics Universe have ensured the big galoot a permanent place in the pantheon of sine qua non monsterdom. As they say, it’s Godzilla’s world, we just live in it.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters is the third entry into Legendary Pictures’ MonsterVerse brand – following 2014's Godzilla and 2017's Kong: Skull Island – and while lifelong fans of ‘Zilla will be rightfully impressed by the epic kaiju smackdowns on CGI display here, much of the film’s fun is overrun by a combination of overlong exposition, ham-fisted dialogue, and some genuinely confusing editing. You’re never quite sure at any given point where, exactly, the human characters are, what exactly they’re doing, or what the fuck that sudden, off-putting plot twist that just happened means. That actually makes this one of the more faithful homages to Toho’s “Heisei era” Godzilla movies, particularly Godzilla vs. Destoroyah and Godzilla vs. Biollante, which – while enormously entertaining – still suffered from the same sense of perplexing plotting.

Recounting the tortuous mash-up of the film’s human characters doing inane things ineptly that serves as the movie's plot is almost beside the point, but here goes. In the cataclysmic aftermath of the clash between Godzilla and the MUTOs (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms) in director Gareth Edwards’ initial 2014 reboot, the secretive cryptozoological Monarch organization under heroic scientist and occasional Zen poet Dr. Ishiro Serizawa (Watanabe) has located and locked down more “Titans” across the globe. Monarch member Dr. Emma Russell (Farmiga) and her daughter Madison (Stranger Things' Brown) are estranged from dad Mark (Chandler) after the death of their son in the previous film. Dr. Russell has developed ORCA, a method of communicating with the Titans (the pupal Mothra, initially) but is interrupted by the arrival of nihilist-cum-ecoterrorist and Snidely Whiplash tribute act Jonah Alan (Dance) who plans to awaken all of the Titans to “restore balance to the Earth.” Meanwhile, the military plans to harness the Titans for, y’know, warfare purposes, but are readying the monster-slaying oxygen destroyer (first deployed in the 1954 original, Gojira). As the Titans are unleashed and head by air, land, and sea to new alpha-God King Ghidorah, humanity scrambles and chaos reigns while Madison embarks on her own mission, sans Mom and Dad. It’s a mess of a storyline. Characters with only the vaguest of backstories come and go and yell and die noble deaths.

But let’s be honest: Unless you’re a grad student writing your thesis on the geopolitical and environmental thematics spread throughout Godzilla’s extensive oeuvre, you’re here to see giant monsters knock the stuffing out of each other while laying waste to mankind’s manifold metropolises. In this regard, Godzilla: King of the Monsters does not disappoint. Director Dougherty (Krampus, Trick ‘r Treat) corrals a menagerie of series regulars: the Pteranodon-esque, volcano-born Rodan; psychedelically luminous Mothra as the Big Green Guy’s natural ally; and perpetual nemesis King Ghidorah, a triple-headed, lightning-spitting dragon with a wingspan of what looks to be a quarter-mile or more. There’s also brief appearances from the MUTOs, a mutated woolly mammoth-thing, and what looks suspiciously like creepy-crawly, 1960s-era arachnid Kumonga. All-out kaiju brawls ensue, and they are unsurprisingly awesome and the real reason to catch this movie on an IMAX if you can.

Bear McCreary’s bombastic score occasionally riffs on composer Akira Ifukube’s haunting, martial music from the classic Godzilla films of the 1950s and 1960s, but it, like the entirety of Godzilla: King of the Monsters feels overburdened and unsure of itself. Here’s hoping Legendary’s 2020 release of Godzilla vs. King Kong will improve on – or at least approach – the formula Ishirō Honda and Toho Studios mastered over half a century ago.

Showtimes

Tue., June 18

3:05, 6:25, 9:45
AFA 11:45am

Wed., June 19

11:45am, 3:05, 6:25, 9:45

Tue., June 18

3:35, 7:15, 10:35

Wed., June 19

11:20am, 2:40, 6:00, 9:20

Alamo Drafthouse Slaughter Lane

5701 W. Slaughter, 512/861-7060, drafthouse.com/austin/theater/slaughter-lane

Showtimes at this venue are subject to frequent change. Please confirm daily times by phone or website.

Tue., June 18

2:40, 6:00, 9:20

Wed., June 19

2:40, 9:20

Tue., June 18

AFA 1:00

Wed., June 19

12:45

Alamo Drafthouse Village

2700 W. Anderson #701, 512/861-7030, www.drafthouse.com/austin/theater/village

Tuesday matinee Baby Day shows (first show of the day) are intended for parents and their children younger than 6. Showtimes at this venue are subject to frequent change. Please confirm daily times by phone or website.

Tue., June 18

6:00

Wed., June 19

6:00

Barton Creek Square (AMC)

2901 South Capital of Texas Hwy, 512/306-1991, www.amctheatres.com

Matinee discounts available before 4pm daily. Bring Your Baby matinees the first Tuesday of every month.

Tue., June 18

CC/DVS 11:40am, 2:50, 6:20, 9:20

Wed., June 19

CC/DVS 11:40am, 2:50, 6:20, 9:20

Cinemark 20 and XD

N. I-35 & FM 1825, 512/989-8535

Cost for 3-D and XD shows is regular ticket price plus a premium.

Tue., June 18

digital 11:35am, 12:40, 3:50, 7:05, 10:20

Wed., June 19

digital 11:35am, 12:40, 3:50, 7:05, 10:20

Cinemark Cedar Park

1335 E. Whitestone, Cedar Park, 800/326-3264

Call theatre for complete list of movies and showtimes.

Tue., June 18

digital 9:30am, 12:35, 3:55, 7:00, 10:05

Wed., June 19

digital 9:30am, 12:35, 3:55, 7:00, 10:05

Tue., June 18

digital 9:50am, 12:55, 4:00, 7:05, 10:15

Wed., June 19

digital 9:50am, 12:55, 4:00, 7:05, 10:15

Cinemark Round Rock

4401 N. I-35, Round Rock, 800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium. Call theatre for complete March 26-28 showtimes.

Tue., June 18

digital 10:15am, 1:20, 4:25, 7:35, 10:50

Wed., June 19

digital 10:15am, 1:20, 4:25, 7:35, 10:50

Cinemark Southpark Meadows

9900 S. I-35, 800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Tue., June 18

digital 10:20am, 1:20, 4:20, 7:20, 10:35

Wed., June 19

digital 10:20am, 1:20, 4:20, 7:20, 10:35

Cinemark Stone Hill Town Center

18820 Hilltop Commercial Dr., 512/251-0938, www.cinemark.com

Tue., June 18

digital 10:45am, 2:45, 6:30, 9:45

Wed., June 19

digital 10:45am, 2:45, 6:30, 9:45

City Lights Theatre

420 Wolf Ranch Parkway, Georgetown, 512/868-9922

Tue., June 18

9:45am, 12:45, 3:45, 6:45, 9:55

Wed., June 19

9:45am, 12:45, 3:45, 6:45, 9:55

EVO Entertainment

3200 Kyle Crossing, Kyle, 512/523-9009, www.evo-entertainment.com

Tue., June 18

3:30, 6:30, 9:25

Wed., June 19

3:30, 6:30, 9:25

Flix Brewhouse

2200 S. I-35, Round Rock, 512/244-3549, www.flixbrewhouse.com/round-rock

Tue., June 18

CC 10:00am, 1:00, 4:30, 7:45

Wed., June 19

CC 10:20am, 1:00, 4:30, 8:30

Thu., June 20

CC 10:20am, 1:00, 4:30, 9:30

Galaxy Highland 10

6700 Middle Fiskville, 512/467-7305, www.galaxytheatres.com

No one under 18 will be allowed in the theatre on Friday or Saturday after 7pm without an adult.

Tue., June 18

CC 11:15am, 2:40, 6:15, 9:45

Wed., June 19

CC 11:15am, 2:40, 6:15, 9:45

Thu., June 20

CC 11:35am, 3:20

Gateway Theatre

9700 Stonelake, 512/416-5700

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Tue., June 18

CC/DVS 12:40, 3:55, 7:05, 10:10

Wed., June 19

CC/DVS 12:40, 3:55, 7:05, 10:10

Hometown Cinemas

120 MLK Jr. Industrial Blvd. W, Lockhart, 512/398-4100, www.hometowncinemas.com

Tue., June 18

12:00, 3:30, 7:15, 10:00

Wed., June 19

12:00, 3:30, 7:15, 10:00

Thu., June 20

12:00, 3:30, 7:15, 10:00

AMC Lakeline 9

11200 Lakeline Mall Dr., Cedar Park, 512/335-4793

Discounts daily before 6pm.

Tue., June 18

CC/DVS 12:30, 3:40, 6:40

Wed., June 19

CC/DVS 12:30, 3:40, 6:40

Metropolitan

901 Little Texas, 512/447-0101

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Tue., June 18

CC/DVS 12:30, 3:40, 6:50, 10:05

Wed., June 19

CC/DVS 12:30, 3:40, 6:50, 10:05

Thu., June 20

CC/DVS 12:30, 3:40, 10:05

Moviehouse & Eatery

8300 N. FM 620, Bldg. B, 512/501-3520, www.themoviehouse.com/trails/

Tue., June 18

12:15, 3:30, 7:00, 10:25

Wed., June 19

12:15, 3:30, 7:00, 10:25

Thu., June 20

12:25, 3:45

Schulman Theatres Lost Pines 8

1600 Chestnut St, Bastrop, 512/321-0123, www.schulmantheatres.com

Tue., June 18

1:05, 4:15, 7:25, 10:30

Wed., June 19

9:55am, 1:05, 4:15, 7:25, 10:30

ShowBiz Cinemas 8 Marble Falls

2600 Hwy 281 North, Marble Falls

Call theatre for August 22-23 showtimes.

Tue., June 18

10:40am, 2:15, 4:20, 7:10, 9:30

Wed., June 19

10:40am, 2:15, 4:20, 7:10, 9:30

Thu., June 20

10:40am, 2:15, 4:20

Sky Cinemas

13201 US-290, 512/457-0700, www.skycinemas.com

Tue., June 18

10:00am, 1:00, 4:00, 7:45, 9:25

Wed., June 19

10:00am, 1:00, 4:00, 7:45, 9:50

Tue., June 18

12:30, 4:00, 7:00, 10:30

Wed., June 19

12:30, 4:00, 10:30

Starplex 12 San Marcos

1250 Wonder World Drive, San Marcos, 512/805-8000

Tue., June 18

10:00am, 1:10, 4:20, 7:30, 10:40

Wed., June 19

10:00am, 1:10, 4:20, 7:30, 10:40

Thu., June 20

10:00am, 1:10, 4:20, 7:30, 10:40

Westgate 11

4477 S. Lamar, 512/899-2717

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Tue., June 18

CC/DVS 10:30am, 1:25, 4:20, 7:15, 9:45

Wed., June 19

CC/DVS 10:30am, 1:25, 4:20, 7:15, 9:45

Thu., June 20

CC/DVS 10:30am, 1:25, 4:20, 7:15, 9:45

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Michael Dougherty, Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, Ken Watanabe, Bradley Whitford, Sally Hawkins, Charles Dance

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