BEIRUT: When the first teaser trailer for the long-awaited sequel to 2014’s GODZILLA dropped, fans were met with one of the most artistic trailers ever made for a film that screams commercial blockbuster. GODZILLA II: KING OF THE MONSTERS, being the third film in the Monarch Universe or Monster Universe or Zilla-verse series, rose from the waters and roared loudly, yet the film effect may have fallen flat.
Directed by Michael Dougherty, the film opens with events occurring during the 2014 attack on San Francisco, and then time jump to the present where a hysterical Dr. Emma Russell, played by Vera Farmiga, conspires to release all the Titans from slumber in order to bring peace to the world and restore balance… Thanos much?
Before diving into the film’s visual aspects, we must first take a look at the film’s main issue, the lack of a layered narrative to help carry the messy action sequences and give the audience a reason to withstand the two-hour runtime.
The writers seem to do their best to have the audience engage with a massive Titan, forgetting that the Titan doesn’t emote, or have any similarities to the audience watching.
The biggest problem with the narrative is the lack of an entry point for the audience, even though the ensemble of characters is varied, their characteristics and motivations in the film don’t do much to bring an audience into the world of the story, nor offer the story much of a human element.
The humans here feel more like cardboard cutouts reacting to the events that are occurring and some even making irrational decisions in order to simply infuse the film with dramatic moments that never really feel earned or effective.
This is not to say that the actors don’t all do their best in order to deliver believability.
Millie Bobby Brown is the standout here, although many of her character cues echo her character beats from Netflix’s STRANGER THINGS, she still delivers a really good performance as Madison Russell.
Kyle Chandler, continues his legacy as one of Hollywood’s most underrated actors, as he also gives a great performance as Mark Russell, who throughout the film tries to stop the apocalypse from occurring.
The rest of the cast doesn’t offer anything memorable and as such almost don’t seem to matter in the larger scheme of things, which is unfortunate as well.
Now onto what was supposed to be the film’s saving grace - its visuals.
Though the film offers some beautiful moments, it ends up becoming a horrible deja-vu of the most criticized episode of the final season of Game of Thrones - The Long Night. GODZILLA II: KING OF THE MONSTERS, is shrouded in darkness, and makes it absolutely difficult for the audience to differentiate between the Titans fighting in most of the scenes.
Even when the film events occur during the daytime, the color palette feels rather muddy and lacking any depth or layers.
From the disjointed camera movements to the decisions to choose close up shots instead of wider ones in order for the audience to actually see the fights, this sequel really does feel like a letdown visually.
The main problem here is that this is what the film uses to carry its narrative and this is why the journey feels a bit unbearable at times.
GODZILLA II: KING OF THE MONSTERS was one of the most anticipated films of the summer, and unfortunately it seems that the film doesn’t hold up. With audiences slowly starting to shift back towards demanding better stories, films of this nature will find that being a Titan is meaningless in the face of a disappointed audience.
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