Godzilla: King of the Monsters is the official sequel to the second Hollywood attempt at a Godzilla film, which was really good (unlike the first). That was a big surprise—of course, people who like monster movies had been hoping that there would be a good Godzilla movie out of the US at some point. It starts pretty much where the last one left off, but as the title indicates, there are some more monsters in there.
The cryptozoology agency Monarch faces a new threat, the return of the Titans. So they have to keep Godzilla alive but under control (as much as you can control a Godzilla…) to fight these monsters. The Titans are Mothra, Rodan, King Ghidorah and several more. Like Godzilla, they have risen again, and they all want supremacy over the earth. There’s an ecoterrorist, Alan Jonah, who hopes they succeed. He kidnaps one of the Monarch scientists, Emma, and her daughter Madison, who have been able to keep the Titans under control. Emma has some environmentalist history, so Jonah thinks they can talk her into helping them.
The problem with the first film is you don’t see Godzilla until the last 15 minutes—but it’s called Godzilla, and that’s what we want! Here there is plenty of monster screen-time. The original King Kong is always the standard for these kinds of monster movies, because the use of stop-motion animation means the giant gorilla has his own personality quirks. That’s incredibly hard to do with CGI, but they manage to do that here. That increases believability. It also has an interesting message, that humans will likely be responsible for our own extinction at some point (which is pretty likely).
It has quite a good cast as well, with Kyle Chandler as Emma’s ex, Vera Farmiga as Emma, Millie Bobby Brown (Eleven in Stranger Things) in her feature film debut as Madison, Ken Watanabe, Bradley Whitford (the white dad from Get Out), Sally Hawkins (who was in the last one and probably only reprised her role due to having a week off), and Charles Dance as the eco-terrorist leader. At the very end, the end credits set up what will be the sequel, Godzilla vs. Kong, which, since I didn’t have strong feelings either way about Kong: Skull Island, I’ll have to check out when it arrives next year regardless.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters was one of the better blockbusters of last summer, and got an unfair rap from some critics. If you missed it first time around, which it looks like a lot of people did, definitely check it out. Fans of the first movie will probably like it. There’s a commentary on the disc by director Michael Dougerty, executive producer Zach Shields and O’Shea Jackson Jr., deleted scenes and a bunch of featurettes.