Legendary's MonsterVerse


Average Star Rating (ASR): 2.17 ★'s


Though burdened by endless exposition, the first half of Godzilla is somewhat saved by its intriguing mythology, a standout performance from Bryan Cranston, and the growing anticipation for the titular “MUTO” himself. But the feeling of being weighed down doesn’t cease when Godzilla finally emerges— in fact, it only intensifies. The second half of the film makes that early exposition sound like William Shakespeare, as every subsequent scene remains defined by military politics and ill-advised plans. Still, the promise of a giant monster fight should be enough to keep you involved. It may not be the full-throttle monster flick that many kaijū fans were hoping for, but Godzilla is still a competent introduction to this infant franchise. ★★★

Best Part: Bryan Cranston (the guy gives it 110% while everyone else just seems like they’re coasting on a half tank.)

Worst Part: The “payoff” doesn’t match the build-up and NOBODY LISTENS TO THE EXPERTS, OF COURSE.

Kong: Skull Island

Its posters evoked Apocalypse Now and its set-up evoked Jurassic Park, but don’t be fooled— Kong: Skull Island is far from an adventure classic. The effects are pretty good and John C. Reilly is a refreshing midway addition as “crazy time travel Santa Claus,” but I can’t help but imagine a superior film, one that centers on him and his unlikely friendship with fellow pilot Gunpei Ikari. But this is Hollywood we’re talking about, so of course they made it about a ragtag ensemble led by a handsome tracker, a lady photographer, a gruff military fella, and whatever John Goodman’s supposed to be (a mad scientist). With myriad scattered plot lines, thin characters, and generic dialogue, Skull Island is the perfect example of modern blockbuster drivel. ★★

Best Part: John C. Reilly, but also Kong vs. the choppers

Worst Part: That third act is a freaking mess. 

Godzilla: King of the Monsters

The third installment in Legendary’s MonsterVerse brings Godzilla back to the big screen, along with a handful of other Titans, like Mothra, Ghidorah, and Rodan. With a lineup like that, King of the Monsters could have been the big-budget Kaiju that fans had been hoping for. Plus its “twist” villain was actually a pretty cool idea, even though its execution left much to be desired. But at the end of the day, its dark and blurry visual effects, ridiculously long runtime, and total disregard for narrative logic cement King of the Monsters as one of the most pointless movies of 2019. While fans of giant monster action may find enough in here to warrant a viewing, there is hardly enough substance to justify any sort of mainstream success. ★½

Best Part: The “twist” villain would’ve been cool, had it been executed with any level of subtly or finesse.

Worst Part: Virtually every VFX set piece was coated in rain, fog, smoke, and debris to the point of visual incoherence.

Godzilla vs. Kong

Release Date: 2020

David Merkle