Thoughts on “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” (mild spoilers)

– King Ghidorah was the best thing in the movie. I loved the icky head regeneration, I loved the way the heads slither unwholesomely and rear up almost orgasmically whenever it’s about to attack, and I loved how big it is.

– I did think, though, that they could’ve taken more of a Jaws approach to it. I understand they’re hesitant because of the backlash to the 2014 Godzilla, and I didn’t have a problem with the other monsters being introduced five minutes in, but Ghidorah is really supposed to be the monster to end all monsters and he was… the third to be introduced, I think? It just kind of felt like “oh, another monster” at that point. They should’ve spent more time whispering in awe of him and then finally unveiling him during the storm battle over the Gulf of Mexico.

– The shot of Ghidorah with the cross in the foreground was brilliant. The cross looked like it was cowering beneath a Satanic threat. Matt Zoller Seitz in his review (which makes a lot of points I couldn’t have said better here) said it looked like an ’80s metal album cover, and it totally does.

– “Monster Zero” sounded too much like “Patient Zero” for comfort, especially in context of Ghidorah being framed as this sort of invasive disease.

– I’m never going to not pronounce it “geedrah,” because that’s how DOOM says it.

– They’d never get away with it, but I would’ve liked to have seen a monster knock Air Force One out of the sky with its tail during the flooded D.C. scenes.

– They really missed an opportunity by setting the climax of a monster movie in Fenway Park and not having a shot of the Green Monster accompanied by ominous dun-dun-duns.

– The mammoth kaiju was so fucking cool, though maybe I just liked it because the Oliphaunts in Return of the King are my favorite movie monsters.

– I wished the Vera Farmiga character had stayed evil instead of having a change of heart once her daughter gets in trouble.

– It would’ve been more interesting if the dad had been the one who thought the monsters could be controlled and the mom was the ones who thought they’d be exterminated. Not a major gripe, but the Hollywood gender roles were disappointingly typical (gung-ho man, compassionate woman).

– I appreciated how the filmmakers gave the monsters their own personalities without anthropomorphizing them too much.

– Couldn’t they have named the McGuffin anything other than “Orca?” I kept picturing them hanging a dead whale from a helicopter.

– I appreciated the sense of awe the monsters imparted, especially that shot of Godzilla approaching the submarine (shades of The Life Aquatic?). Seitz talks at length about this in his review.

– I appreciated that the ancient civilization in the hollow-earth tunnels is never identified. I was really worried it was going to be Atlantis.

– There was far too much looking at screens in control rooms for the first hour. I’ve seen the same greenish, dimly-lit touch-screen war rooms in every action movie.

– Ken Watanabe’s pronunciation of “Godzilla” gets more and more baffling every time he says it. I think he was trying to decide whether to say “Gojira” or “Godzilla.”

– The wisecracking Marvel-style dialogue was irritating, but it had me thinking that it might eventually become a hallmark of 2010s B-movies and become endearing.

– Overall it delivered on the bottom line. I came for giant monsters and I got giant monsters. But I wish the movie had acknowledged its own B-movie status less through wise dialogue and more through the actual filmmaking. I don’t even think anyone even got crushed under a monster’s foot. There were far too few moments where I chuckled in guileless exhilaration like I did so many times during Aquaman, my favorite recent blockbuster (the scene where the pilot ejects himself out of the plane only to be immediately gulped down by Rodan is the kind of thing there should’ve been more of). But the monsters were big, they were well-done, they made big impacts when they crashed into each other, and I got what I came for. I’ll be ecstatic to see it on cable 10 years from now.