After losing her son in the big kaiju battle in San Francisco five years ago, Dr. Emma Russell developed a machine called the Orca, which can generate an alpha soundwave which can communicate and control the behavior of the Titans, ancient god-like monsters which ruled the earth way before the time of man. She wanted to use the Orca to reestablish order on earth by co-existing in harmony with the Titans. However, her estranged husband Dr. Mark Russell believed otherwise, and worked with others to stop her plans.
“Godzilla: King of the Monsters” is a follow-up to the first Godzilla reboot film five years ago, but the human story focused on a new family, the Russells. Irreconcilable differences led to the divorce of Mark (Kyle Chandler) and Emma (Vera Farmiga) following the events of San Francisco, with their daughter Madison (Millie Bobby Brown) living with her mother. However, Emma's seemingly misguided philosophy about what's best for the future of the earth led to renewed conflict between her and Mark, and later, between her and Madison.
Two actors reprise their roles from the first movie. Ken Watanabe was the Japanese scientist Dr. Ishirō Serizawa, who was firmly on the side of Godzilla (or Gojira in Japanese). His faith in Gojira gave the film a big emotional moment that gave humans existence the second chance it badly needed at that point. Sally Hawkins was very much underused here, especially as her character Vivienne Graham goes out of commission early in the game.
It was great to see the ageless Chinese beauty Zhang Ziyi is back on the big screen again, this time playing Dr. Ilene Chen, an expert on the connection between the monsters and the myths behind them. Another strong female character was that played by Aisha Hinds, Col. Diane Foster, head of Monarch military forces. "Game of Thrones" Lannister patriarch Charles Dance got to play what he played best, a ruthless man with a very radical sense of setting things into order, Col. Alan Jonah. Wait up for his extra scene at the very end of the closing credits.
However, like the first film, the main draw of this Michael Dougherty film was also those spectacular fight scenes between and among the titanic monsters. This time around there were seventeen other monsters who shared the limelight with Godzilla. The three main ones were: the Queen of the Monsters Mothra; the mutant pteranodon Rodan; and the most invincible one of them all, the three-headed arch-nemesis King Ghidorah.
These exciting monster fights were indeed the lifeblood of this franchise, with the sound effects and laser light effects further adding to the exhilaration. Kaiju fanboys will rejoice!
This review was originally published in the author's blog, "Fred Said."