Godzilla. Go-Jira. Apex Predator. Top of the Food chain. In a year where we have already what is nearing the biggest movie of all time, there is nothing bigger on screen than the original King of the Monsters. With the latest instalment of the revived franchise, until we see Galactus on screen wrapping up the next 10 years of the MCU, it doesn’t get bigger than this.
Just a quick Godzilla 101 for anyone who came in late with the current franchise being the 3rd series for our loveable atomic powered lizard with the original starting in 1954 in the Japanese Kaiju films. Leading up to the current US-based franchise Godzilla has had 27 films in total (excluding the 1998 Ferris Bueller/Puff Daddy soundtrack one) running longer and with more films than even James Bond.
The latest film Godzilla: King of the Monsters is the sequel and continuation of the latest franchise started in 2014 ‘Godzilla’. In the first film, we learnt of the Titans which once roamed the earth pre-having an atmosphere to protect us from nasty cosmic rays and was an irradiated landscape. Much like the original Kaiju films which are the basis for the new films, the Titans were awoken with the modern Nuclear age. Causing devastation in their wake monstrous Titans roamed the earth seeking out radiation to ‘feed’ on until they were defeated by an ‘Alpha Predator’ who also goes by Godzilla… for Tinder and stuff. Oh and also destroying Hawaii and San Francisco.
Here we get a bit wonky with the next film in the franchise Kong: Skull Island. Not really a sequel to Godzilla, but within the same shared universe, it jumped back to the end of the Vietnam War where the organisation that researched the Titans and Godzilla in the 2014 film were on the verge of dissolving losing all funding. In a last-ditch effort, they managed to secure funding to the remote ‘Skull Island’ which aside from being populated by nightmare creatures and ruled by an updated King Kong (not the one from the 2005 Peter Jackson/Jack Black movie one). Here we learnt of the Hollow Earth theory, that we live on basically the crust of the earth with there being large caverns and tunnels under the earth closer to the irradiated core that large Titan creatures live.
And that brings us back to the latest film, following on the events from the first film in 2014 and then jumping forward 5 years to bring it to the current day. Monarch, no longer underfunded and very much publicly known has become a sort of Monsters S.H.I.E.L.D. complete with massive underground bases and Helicarrier like giant aircraft capable of deploying other aircraft. Monarch now has dozens of stations around the world monitoring sleeping Titans still with the mission of monitoring and containment from China to a blink and you will miss it reference to Uluru.
One of the complaints about the first 2014 Godzilla film was the lack of Godzilla in it, with some clocking in the green giant in under 20 minutes of actual screentime this is not the case for the sequel. If the first movie was Twister where all the characters were Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton trying to get out of the way of these natural disasters then the new film is more like Geostorm (except good). Titans are now seen as weapons of mass destruction with there even being a Black Market for Titan DNA.
Continuing the story from the first film there is very much a theme of the Titans returning being an analogue to Climate Change, except that in the return they will wipe out the infection (humanity) and restoring balance. Thanos would be proud. The Titan on Titan action is much more part of the story this time around, while humans are at the forefront with a large recognisable cast from everywhere from Stranger Things to the West Wing to Suicide Squad to Early Edition this is definitely an end of the world type scenario as the Titans rise up.
So should you go see it? If you are thirsty for some giant monster destruction then you definitely should. This is the sort of disaster/destruction film that you go to the cinema to watch on the big screen for. Ramping up the amount of screen time for the monsters and making the film less Cloverfield like (only teasing their existence) is well worth the trip to your local. While the first film saw a whole lot of destruction the new film makes Zack Synder’s Man of Steel look like some light graffiti.
While the previous films do provide context for what is happening in the current film you don’t have to rewatch before you go see it (although you will pick up on a lot more of the easter eggs that way). BUT it is a definite must see before the next film in the franchise planned for release in 2020 – Kong vs Godzilla.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters is in Australian cinemas from May 30th