I should probably end my Godzillathon with some profound thoughts, so here they are:
I fucking love Godzilla,
In many ways I think KOTM is the perfect movie to end a Godzillathon because it oozes with so much love for th entirety of the franchise. It may not be the BEST movie in the canon, but few films love Godzilla and his wild, weird world of giant monsters as deeply and completely as this one.
It’s very hard to make a kaiju feel threatening to humanity on a personal level while still keeping the grand scope of the threat they pose in tact, but goddamn does this movie manage that with Ghidorah. He’s the kind of monster who can raze a city to the ground in minutes but still finds the time to personally hunt down the tiny humans scurrying beneath his feet.
In terms of playing with classic elements of the franchise, I think KOTM’s most inspired move was taking the relationship between Godzilla and Dr. Serizawa and completely recontextualizing it. Serizawa still has a heroic sacrifice, but in contrast to his 1954 counterpart, he does it to save nature as represented by Godzilla, rather than to just buy humanity time from its inevitable reckoning. His meaningful moment with Godzilla is one of the best moments of a human interacting with a kaiju in the whole franchise.
Or maybe I’m just a sucker for that sort of thing.
If Shin Godzilla is the movie the Heisei series wanted to be, then Godzilla: King of the Monsters is the rock and roll celebration of the franchise that Godzilla: Final Wars aspired to be.
Given that four of the core five have appeared in the Monsterverse, each with a great deal of fanfare and all their personality in tact, I really hope we get MechaGodzilla in Godzilla vs. Kong to complete the set.
I don’t know if Ghidorah’s entrance in this movie is a direct homage to the Hydra scene in Disney’s Hercules or if the two films both came across the same idea through convergent evolution of ideas, but either way it’s so damn impressive and terrifying. A great way to reintroduce Ghidorah to international audiences.
I love that there’s a Godzilla movie with criminally underrated actress Vera Farmiga in it.
I love that CGI allows us to have shots of Godzilla swimming underwater with the serpentine grace of a crocodilian in contrast to his plodding walk on land, and that movies from Godzilla 2000 on have taken advantage of this.
I also love that one of Dr. Chen’s first lines has her defending Mothra, arguing that her imago form may not be “bigger and meaner” as Rick hypothesized. Good foreshadowing of her status as one of this universe’s shobijin.
One of my many KOTM hot takes that probably invalidates all my opinions in the eyes of other scholars of kaiju cinema is that I actually like Rick from Monarch. His actor does a really good job of capturing the kind of quipping some people do when they’re scared - there’s an underlying anxiety to all his joking. As a person who also makes jokes when he’s scared/sad/anxious/not feeling great emotionally speaking, I appreciate that.
I actually like most of the humor in this movie, in fact. There’s a couple of jokes I would cut because they undermine emotional moments (mainly the “I got it from a fortune cookie” one, which really comes off as the screen writers worrying their emotional moment might not have landed, which ironically keeps the moment from landing as well as it should), but overall I like more of the jokes than I dislike.
I love the Monsterverse movies but every single one of them has had a surplus of characters. The characters aren’t BAD, but in each movie there’s not enough room for all of them, so the interesting ones don’t get as much time to shine as you want them too and the bland ones get more focus than they deserve (because they should have been cut).
Heh, it’s fun seeing the stock footage from 2014 in this movie and how it’s FUCKING CLEARER THAN THE ACTUAL BLU-RAY OF GODZILLA 2014.
I like how the very first scene of KOTM - a flashback to 2014′s movie - immediately establishes the mythic approach to kaiju in this movie, with Godzilla emerging from a cloud of smoke amid a red and fiery ruin like a primeval fire god. Which, in this movie, is basically what he is.
Tonight I finish my Godzillathon with Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019).