Darke Reviews | Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)

So everyone and their mother complained about how there was too much human action going on in Godzilla (2014). How they only teased the main event through the movie or how you only got to see it through a TV report or partial shots. Oddly a few people complained about how chonky the new take on Godzilla was. I can firmly tell you these people are wrong. I am here for the absolute unit that is Godzilla in 2014 and again in 2019.  The trailers promised us a lot more monster on monster action and introducing Rodan, Mothra, and King Ghidorah. They promised us cities getting laid to waste as these titans went about their business with humans stuck in the middle and looking pretty helpless.

Did they keep their promise?

We have three writers on the story here, so we invoke the Darke Three Writer rule for quality, or do we? Starting with Zach Shields, who worked on the beautifully twisted Krampus (2015), we then move to Max Borenstein who brought us Kong: Skull Island and the 2014 Godzilla, which marks him as the man behind the inter-connectivity. Finally we land with the man who has story, screenplay, and director credit Michael Doughtery. I’ve been a massive fan of Dougherty since 2009 with Trick R Treat and with his clear love of Mythos and myth I felt he was the perfect director when I heard he was attached. The three of them on story, with Daugherty and Shields on screenplay delivered on the promise of more monsters, but at the cost of any sense of logic or reality. The movie entirely embraces the ridiculous premise of the Kaiju and runs with it as far as you can run and still stay even remotely grounded. Is the science good? Not even close. Is the Technology believable? Hah.  Is the plot armor on despite the wanton destruction? Spoilers. Do I care? No.

We’re talking about a movie series in which there’s an ultra secret private company who has been studying these things for decades. Visited Skull Island in the 70s’, but no one heard anything about it. Then watched as Godzilla and the Muto’s broke Hawaii, Vegas, and San Francisco. Now we continue four years later with that same agency still being called to task by the government, who knew about them all along anyway. We find out more and more of them are waking up, some who will fight for us, others against. Who will stand as king?

The cast is of course serviceable. Ken Watanabe (The Last Samurai, Inception) doesn’t get anything as good as Let them Fight, but it works. Kyle Chandler (Super 8, Zero Dark Thirty) is our leading man who is a member of Monarch trying to save his family. Vera Farmiga (Bates Motel, The Conjuring franchise) and Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things) are said family. The three of them are the more or less emotional core of the movie that are to keep us grounded between the monster smack downs. It works and isn’t nearly as overwrought as it was in 2014 as in this case they are chasing the creatures rather than constantly happening to be in the wrong place and the wrong time. The rest of the cast is a whose who of character actors from Ziyi Zhang (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon), Bradley Whitford (Get Out), Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water), and Charles friggin Dance (Game of Thrones). I have a distinct feeling in some of the cases, even those not mentioned here, someone went “do you want to be in a Godzilla movie?” and the only correct answer was given.

Visually the movie was gorgeous. So many of the shots were something you could freeze frame, get printed, then put on a wall and be happy. Dougherty and cinematographer Lawrence Sher knew how to frame the camera for maximum effect. The trailer does it’s job by only hinting at the many many shots that are just awe inspiring when you consider the scale of them and the events that are unfolding because of them. The kaiju of this movie live up to the name of Titan as each and everyone is made to feel massive and terrifying in scale and scope. The creature design is top notch on all of them and you are given ample opportunity to appreciate each one of the designs. The music does it’s job, but that’s hardly a surprise with Bear McCreary on that and fans of the original Toho will notice more than a few musical cues that hearken back to the originals.


I enjoyed myself with this movie. The Dark Princess of the night and myself just enjoyed gushing about all the things done so well here. Every logical extreme was taken here for the audiences pleasure. They knew the movie they wanted to make, they listened to their audience, and they made it. We are all the better for it and in days of emotional weight in our action movies or movies with such dance like precision this is a breath of fresh air that says to hell with the rules; we’re going big and we’re not going home. It absolutely knows what it is and doesn’t try to be more. Some of the dialogue is cheesy and I didn’t care.

Godzilla: King of Monsters is the movie that was promised and I am looking forward to Godzilla vs Kong.

Ok so I guess we should watch it?

Buy a beer. Buy some popcorn or pretzels. Sit back. Make sure you have a great sound system in the theatre.

Are you buying it?

Yes. Yes I am. You should to.

Ok, but I liked the 2014 and didn’t want more monsters?

I like the 2014 Godzilla. I really do. I get what they went for and appreciate it with holding the monster back. That said, the cat is out of the bag. We’ve had the big reveal, so now we get the rest of the story as it were. Yes, this is more action driven than person driven but it’s not without the person.

Which one is better?

Not answering that. Depends what you want out of the movie. Thats up to the person. I enjoy they both and unlike Ken Watanabe’s character, I see no reason to let them fight.


I loved the look and feel of Godzilla King of the Monsters. It pays off on its promises and build up. I have no regrets here and I don’t think you will either.

Darke Reviews | Godzilla (2014)

I have to say the movies are certainly making it harder for me to write these reviews and keep to my rules of no spoilers. The trailers did a good job of keeping *most* of the spoilers from the audience. Until recently movie spoiler/insider sites have been keeping one under wraps. Why? No clue. These places pay a lot of attention to every detail in trailers and if they missed it and I saw it – I need to get paid to do this. I also debated doing an old vs. new segment on this comparing the Broderick 1998 version to the 2014. I debated it long enough to realize I can’t give a single point in favor of Broderick. Not. One.

So what does 2014 bring?

A plot. A cohesive plot. We get to thank the writers Max Borenstein (who has done nothing you’ve seen) and Dave Callaham (Expendables, Doom) for part of that. Some of you by now are going – why is there a plot? Well truth be told, we need one these days. We demand it. If there wasn’t a plot (Pacific Rim) the movie gets torn apart by critics and movie goers alike. Even thin plots (any Roland Emmerich film) fare better and at least get a laugh for their pitiful attempts. If you try and fail with ridiculousness (1998 Godzilla) you are eviscerated. As an audience we have trouble making up our mind. In the end its safer to have one that makes sense – which they did. Mostly.

Gareth Edwards, our director who brought us the visionary film Monsters. It was far more subtle than District 9 was in its plot. He was a good choice for this movie as he appreciates the sense of scale and how to insert characters into stories bigger than them. Its an important talent and was needed for this picture. You can tell that he loved the original movies and wanted to bring some of that beautiful flavor back into the genre.
This leads to one of the potential problems with the film as well.

The characters are irrelevant. Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass and the upcoming Avengers 2) and Elizabeth Olsen (OldBoy and…the upcoming Avengers 2) are always interesting to watch and very human. I think fandom’s will have a field day that Quicksilver and Wanda play a couple in this movie. I also have to make a call out that the family name Brody appears to be a call out to Jaws. Especially as Olsen’s character is named Elle (Ellen was the wife in Jaws). Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad, Rock of Ages) and Ken watanabe (Last Samurai, Inception) are always watchable. Even if Watanabe is mostly staring off into space the entire movie, muttering yoda like words of wisdom that will ultimately go unheeded.

These characters all have stories and these stories are intertwined with that which we came to see – The monster. It also highlights the problem. Their stories don’t matter. They are observers in their own lives. They think they are active but they are brought along for the same ride the rest of us are. Taylor-Johnson even gets a few painful, eye rolling character moments that hurt to watch, but they didn’t last too long. At least, unlike Man of Steel, he has a reason to continue with the story and while the reason is relatively thin, it works better than so many other “you look trustworthy or useful, come along!”

Of course, if you are reading this still, you want to know about Him.

He is everything he needs to be. He is large. He is in charge. He is the T-Rex in Jurassic Park. He even is able to emote, not bad for an animal. He is epic. All we needed was a mic drop and we’d be good. The roar was so worth it in the XD. He just LOOKS good. Yes, he is bigger and “fatter” than he has been before. Buildings have changed a bit since his original appearance and I am quite good with the scale. I am quite happy that in the end we are irrelevant to him. Ant, meet boot.

From an FX standpoint, the movie is actually really well done. 3D isnt needed, but if you can get higher quality sound and need to see it in 3D – do it. I was overall really impressed with the creature design and effects and their integration into the story. Seeing cities laid to waste in epic battles was also well done. You don’t get to see all the battles and its worth it to make the climax of the film what it needs to be.


Godzilla absolutely met my expectations. It was appropriately epic. It is a really good modernization of a classic icon. Plenty of nods to the original films exist. I want you to ignore anyone who talks about the Godzilla cartoon of references Gadzooki, they weren’t paying attention.

Should you see it?

Well, yes. I am not as jazzed as I was walking out of Winter Soldier, but I am looking forward to seeing this again tomorrow night. Again if you have to see it, please see it with the best sound system you can. 3D still is not required. It is also surprisingly kid friendly. Not entirely sure how they manage it but they did.

This does rank as one of the better films this year and may hold the title in the top 5 for awhile.

Please enjoy Godzilla, but don’t go in expecting your Kaiju world to be blown.

Next week, another anticipated film. X-Men: Days of Future Past.