In my review of 2014’s Godzilla, the predecessor to Godzilla: King of the Monsters, I noted that the great strength of that film was its confident direction at the hands of Gareth Edwards, who used suggestive imagery to slow-walk Godzilla’s climactic full-scale battle. Most of the film is spent cleverly hinting at the gargantuan beasts lumbering around the planet. Some people found this hard to stomach, saying that they had come to see a monster movie and, by hook or by crook golly gee whizz, they wanted their monsters! This led me to conclude that these were precisely the kind of idiots - people who couldn’t wait 60 minutes while a film carefully built tension toward a climactic showdown - who were responsible for electing a different type of gargantuan monster to be president of the United States of America.
If anything, the path traveled by Godzilla King of the Monsters merely proves how eager society is to cater to these kinds of imbeciles. The sequel to Godzilla abandons the careful suggestive tone of Edwards’ film - although it retains the badly written characters and nonsensical plot - and goes full-bore monster mash. Each scene in King of the Monsters is not used to build up toward anything in particular - each scene simply exists to be an uncontrollable fountain of spectacle, of CGI mayhem and monster fighting. I guess Universal heard what the great mass of the people wanted, and was determined to deliver it unto them.
This of course strips the awe out of the film, it strips the gargantuan sense of scale and the moodiness of Edwards’ film. To be sure, much of this spectacle is still beautiful and very well-staged. I cannot really fault the fx teams who created this orgy of monster carnage. But there is just so much of it, that the film essentially drowns in it.
Did I enjoy it? Ultimately, yeah I did. It was pretty fun to watch these giant monsters beat the shit out of each other, and much of it is truly quite beautifully rendered with almost painterly attention to light and color. But if they had showed just a bit more restraint, and spent a bit more time developing the mood rather than crashing from one big fight set piece to the other, I think the film would have been elevated above what it is.