Godzilla was first introduced to film fans in 1954 by Toho Studios of Japan and has been stomping on cities and fighting monsters ever since. The iconic movie monster has been in countless films over the years, and was featured in an American adaptation in 1998. However, in the ’90’s film Godzillahad a very different look appearing more like a cross between an alligator and a raptor from “Jurassic Park”, and I wasn’t buying it. Where was the Godzilla we knew and loved? There were other Toho produced films, but frankly I was still waiting for the proper treatment of the famous monster from Hollywood. Finally in 2014 fans saw the majestic Godzilla return with his proper look. The new film was a hit with fans and paved the way for the new 2019 release “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.” The new film benefits from the presence of powerhouse actors Kyle Chandler (“Friday Night Lights”) Vera Farmiga (“Bates Motel”), and Millie Bobby Brown of “Stranger Things” fame. Of course even with the great acting pedigree on hand, the real star is Godzilla, and he doesn’t disappoint. In the newer films the big G is presented as a helper to mankind, which hasn’t always been the case over the years, especially in the original film. This time out our monstrous friend is called on to fend off other famous monsters from the Godzilla films, as he battles Rodan and the three headed dragon-like King Ghidorah, as those two along with other creatures dubbed “Titans” have been released from their long dormant stage by the bad guy of the film, Eco-terriorist Jonah Alan (Charles Dance of “Game of Thrones”). The shocking part of the release is how Alan is aided by the aforementioned Farmiga as Dr. Emma Russell, who is convinced the Earth needs to be destroyed by the Titans in order to cleanse the planet for a fresh start. Even though her daughter Madison (Brown) and estranged husband Mark (Chandler) both know the efforts are tragically misguided, Dr. Russell trudges on. This even after Dr. Russell and Madison witness the birth of another famous movie monster, Mothra, an actually ally of Godzilla. Dr. Russell even works for the organization Monarch, which tracks down and studies Titans, and even after she and Madison are kidnapped by Alan’s group, she still continues to help unleash the Titans. Will she come to her scenes? I will not say here lest to spoil the fun. Let’s just say the release of the Titans results in several major cities of the world being destroyed and hope fading for mankind until: Godzilla comes to the rescue! Our big G is even aided by Mothra, who plays a key role in the outcome of the battle of the monsters. The headlining actors all do a wonderful job in their roles, with Chandler and Brown being the highlights. Of course starring in “Stranger Things” has really helped Brown in dealing with other worldly creatures. Director Michael Doughtery (“Trick ‘r Treat”) keeps the thrills coming and the action fast paced. The special effects are also impressive, and Godzilla, as with the 2014 effort, has never seemed more life-like. I especially enjoyed how Godzilla is depicted as a friend to mankind, and seeks to protect the Earth from those out to harm our planet. You must stay for the post credit scene, which is pivotal, and features a tease for the 2020 release “Godzilla vs. Kong”. Yes, Godzilla and King Kong will appear in a film together for the first time since the campy 1962 release. Overall, “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” is a fun summer film for fans of iconic monster, of which I am one. Don’t miss this film on the big screen where it deserves a first viewing. Showing in both 3D and 2D formats. (Rated PG-13)
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