Godzilla Returns With A Vengeance

The second trailer for next year’s epic kaiju movie Godzilla: King Of The Monsters has arrived, and it certainly delivers with monster mayhem. It’s part of a newer Americanized franchise from Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures that takes classic Japanese creature features and updates them for the current day. Dubbed the MonsterVerse, it is completely taking us out of the realm of rubber suits and immersing us within CGI creations. The second movie from the revamped Big G, this one was co-written and directed by Michael Dougherty, who brought us Trick ‘r Treat and the super fun holiday horror tale Krampus. He also co-wrote Superman Returns and X-Men 2.

In the new King of the Monsters, the “crypto-zoological” agency Monarch must contend with the rise of once-mythological giants Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan, and the three-headed King Ghidorah as they battle for global supremacy. And they decimate cities around the globe in the process. The new footage looks spectacular, and of course there is the usual human Hollywood contingent to stack the bill further, including Millie Bobby Brown, Vera Farmiga, Kyle Chandler, Charles Dance, and many others. But we know why we watch — to see insane fights and carnage unleashed upon the world.

I admit that when Gareth Edwards’ 2014 reboot was announced, I was skeptical. I still had not washed away the bitter taste of the 1998 Hollywood version from Roland Emmerich and appreciated how much better the Japanese franchise had grown in terms of effects and quality during the new millennium. But Edwards proved his pedigree with the stunningly effective indie flick Monsters, which he shot on a shoestring budget south of the border and pretty much edited in his laptop. His resultant, digital Godzilla movie was fantastic. This coming from someone who likes a good mixture of rubber suits with digital enhancements.

That means this sequel has a lot to live up to. While I like the kaiju chaos being sown in this new trailer, I’m hoping that Godzilla: King Of The Monsters will not just be one giant CGI stomp fest. Part of the charm of the Edwards movie is that he held off on the monster action as long as he could, which built up anticipation and made the big screen impact more meaningful. Plus I liked many of the humans as well. And Kong: Skull Island, which is a part of the MonsterVerse and which teased this sequel with a post-credits stinger last year, was a bit lacking in the character department. Yes, that does matter to some of us.

Dougherty is a smart, capable writer and director (I really dig Krampus), so I’m hopeful that Godzilla: King Of The Monsters will be a roaring sequel. With franchise producers becoming more of the auteurs than directors these days, there is always the concern that appealing to the lowest common denominator is the best way to boost your profits. But in the end, having characters we care about, including the Big G himself, makes the experience much more rewarding, and it will inspire more brand loyalty, so to speak.

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