It is 5 years since Godzilla fought the Mutos in San Francisco. The military wants to find and destroy him. An organisation called Monarch has, for years, been monitoring Titans, huge but secret creatures. They believe that Godzilla is the Alpha monster, intended to bring balance to the Earth. And Dr Emma Russell has created a device called the Orca, to talk to the Titans. Kind of.
Monster movies badly need audience identification figures. Dr Russell, her estranged husband Mark, and their surviving child Madison (their son died in the San Francisco destruction) are easy to identify with, especially given their different viewpoints. Emma falls in with eco-terrorists, which adds another plot thread. Meanwhile, Drs Serizawa and Vivienne Graham from the first film are trying to find a middle course between the different factions.
A cast of Monsters
So we have fractured family relationships and different agendas. But mostly, we have monsters! Godzilla is joined by updated versions of some of his favourite co-stars from the Toho Studios movies – Ghidorah, the three-headed monster (aka Monster Zero), Rodan (a kind of lava pterodactyl), and Mothra – figure that one out yourself.
The Toho films were great fun, but the monster scenes were men in rubber suits smashing cities made out of cardboard boxes. Here we have photographically perfect versions of the Toho creatures, wreaking photographically perfect mayhem on various places, finishing with Boston.
We see Godzilla, complete with radioactive breath!
This film has learned from its predecessor that we actually want to see these monsters destroying stuff. Much of San Francisco got pummelled at night, and under a pall of dust and smoke. We know from real life that dust plumes are what happens, but King Of The Monsters has dialled this back so that you actually get to see what is happening. Having said that, we need to see our sympathetic humans in jeopardy, which means close-ups. We then lose sight of the bigger picture, so there needs to be an artful blend of close-up and long shot. Godzilla: KOTM manages this quite well.
And, just to fuel our enthusiasm for this monster franchise, Kong: Skull Island is specifically linked in a couple of places. Roll on King Kong vs Godzilla! RAAAAAAHH!!!!