"Godzilla: King of the Monsters" Review

The Godzilla franchise has first and foremost been a source of epic monster battles. The 2014 American remake was a terrible let-down in this regard. With the vast majority of the film placing focus on dull characters, a dragging pace, Bryan Cranston's abysmal attempts to speak Japanese, and a lackluster monster face-off that is over before it's gained any significant momentum or power, it's amazing that a sequel was commissioned in the first place. However, we should be grateful that the franchise was given another shot, as "Godzilla: King of the Monsters" is an exquisitely crafted contribution to the Godzilla catalogue.

One notable commonality between Godzilla (2014) and King of the Monsters is Ken Watanabe. Across both films, he portrays the smartest person in the room. Whether he's telling people to let the monsters fight or reminding them of the importance of respecting Godzilla instead of treating him as an enemy, his performance always serves as source of wisdom that enriches the story.

While Godzilla (2014) wasted an unforgivable amount of time before showcasing any monster action, King of the Monsters wastes no time in jumping into showing the wide array of monsters and serving battles between them. There is exquisite world-building from start to finish, which enhances the mythological qualities of these creatures and their long history both respectively and with one another.

A prior knowledge of Godzilla (2014) is not necessary to follow the plot or understand the characters of King of the Monsters. The lead characters are different, and their only overlap is that the King of the Monster leads were effected by the final attack in San Francisco at the end of Godzilla (2014). Thematically, King of the Monsters makes repeated reference to the conflict between humankind and nature. On the one hand, humanity is helpless to the massive power of nature, be it in the form of natural disasters, or in the case of these films, monsters. But on the other hand, mankind is the most destructive force to both nature and in turn, themselves. The only way for these two to continue existing is to maintain a peaceful, symbiotic relationship. Humans are the reason for the rise of these monsters and must now deal with the smallness of their own existence by comparison.

Ken Watanabe offers some of the most poignant lines of King of the Monsters which address these very themes. He likens the creatures to animals, instead of monsters, and stresses the importance of humans learning to co-exist with them. In today's world with massive environmental problems including pollution, climate change, and the numerous animals species that have and are on the way to going extinct, King of the Monsters manages to resonate with these issues without losing the entertainment value of giant monsters fighting.

"Godzilla: King of the Monsters" is playing in cinemas worldwide.

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