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Got back from GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS! a while ago... Honestly, there's a bit to unpack. And while I'd love to give a more critical review, my experience was hindered a bit during the final act (which will go unsaid for all involved), so it wouldn't be a fair assessment. I'd have to watch it again, hopefully with no distractions. But I'll jot down some general points, both good and bad (without being too specific).
-Biggest sin right out of the gate; it's too loud and not enough time to simmer. Sure, it's somewhat appropriate to be loud (since monsters appear all through the movie), but there's a lack of breathing space between one fight scene to the next, or heck, one plot point to the next.
-Characters act dumb when the plot calls for it. While I can tolerate most of it or understand what they were going for, there's one bit in particular I find a hard time swallowing and feels more appropriate in say, Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster (or Ebirah, Horror of the Deep ).
-Out of all the major sins to carry over from 2014, they had keep the "final battle" structure of 2014... And apply them to all the monster fights. Basically, you have the build up (monsters approaching each other) which is handled well, the initial clash, cut to the humans doing something for a good portion while monsters fight in the background, then end of fight. That structure permeates through and it's a bit of a peeve for me personally, taking away from the satisfaction of the fights.
-A lot of telling, though I can understand this to be somewhat of a necessary evil with how events play out (that said, there are some of the telling parts that would be considered a pro in my book, which I'll get into later).
-Underdeveloped motivations. While it's still there, I think there's much that could've been done to enrich the motivation of the human villains and some of the characters. Hopefully, given how things play out (minor spoilers), I hope Godzilla vs. Kong can rectify this.
-Unnecessary fanservice. There's one point in particular (and plays a significant, though not large, role) which I feel could've been replaced with something else. While it was nice to see a modern version of it, could've gone with something only fans would have truly known and kept it organic to the world (it also doesn't help it doesn't carry the impact of the original version).
-The fanservice. Even if I had mentioned some that were unnecessary, there were plenty of points which I very much appreciated. Some music cues, others a small wink if you're paying attention... There's a bit.
-The monsters. Hot dang, even if the fights suffer from said structure, they definitely have the positive carryover from 2014 concerning monsters with personalities. King Ghidorah in particular benefits GREATLY from this (indisputably the best version of the character we've had since the original, and well surpasses Rebirth of Mothra III's Grand King Ghidorah). All monsters are treated with respect.
-There is one emotionally powerful scene in the movie that is handled much better and doesn't suffer from what I'd call my greatest sin of the movie. It allows enough breathing room to let the emotion of the scene sink in. Even if what came before wasn't perfect and what comes after stumbled from a lot of the earlier flaws, this one scene is still highly memorable.
-Everyone performs very well here. I think that may help in suspension of disbelief with the stupid decisions made (for the most part, depends on your Dumb Tolerance ). Like said, everyone's great, but I'd like to highlight Millie Bobby Brown for her great performance!
-Some of the characters I liked. The characters played by Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, and Millie Bobby Brown were serviceable enough as a broken, dysfunctional family (though as said, there are some aspects that could've been further developed, maybe altered). Ken Watanabe returns as Dr. Serziawa and gets a nice bit more screentime here, which I'm happy for.
I feel like I've highlighted what needs to be said without giving too much away. I enjoyed it, but I have my gripes with it (though I need a second viewing to fully assess them). Though part of that may have been based on the merits of how the trailers made it out to be rather than its own. Now that I know what to expect, I believe I can critique it appropriately upon second viewing. Currently, I still recommend the film if you are looking for a good time, but do leave your brain at the door for this one (and be ready to not have a break).
Out of the MonsterVerse films by far, I find this to be the weakest... But that's not entirely its fault.. There are only 3 movies in this cinematic universe, so it only gets the lowest ranking by merit of being compared to Kong: Skull Island and Godzilla 2014. If I were assessing this by the MonsterVerse universe as a whole (including the comics), Godzilla Awakening still holds the title of the worst MonsterVerse story yet for me. So if it sany indication, not the worst thing out there.
EDIT: Now that I've had time to think about it, I think best comparison for this movie to draw from would be GODZILLA: FINAL WARS (2004). Equally as bombastic, fun, and stupid with a breakneck pace to boot. So if you enjoyed FW, you'll definitely enjoy this; if not, then that's your decision.