Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Movie review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Godzilla: King of the Monsters Movie Poster Image
Monster movie sequel is muddled, violent, overly long.
  • PG-13
  • 2019
  • 132 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 23 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 33 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Central theme -- that giant monsters may represent a way to halt humanity's destruction due to climate change -- is a powerful one, particularly when characters talk about ecological balance. But what movie doesn't say is that the balance would come about by wiping out a significant part of the world's population, which is hardly a positive message.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Emma and Mark Russell are brilliant scientists hoping to prevent war and destruction, but they go about their aims in different ways. Emma is the most complicated character; she's willing to sacrifice many people for greater good of humankind, but wants to keep her own family members safe. Madison is an ethical young person who sees the flaws in her mom's logic (but doesn't have a better humanity-saving idea to offer). Extensive racial and ethnic diversity within supporting cast; main characters are all white. 

Violence

Extensive, near-constant violent scenes, generally involving giant monsters battling each other or humans running in terror (and often not making it). Giant monster battles are bloodless, even when one monster's head is lopped off. People are crushed, eaten, set on fire, hurled through the air, dropped into vast pits, etc., though often faceless, far away. Countless people are killed in giant accidents, but camera doesn't linger on dead bodies, and viewers don't see blood or gore. 

Sex

Mating is mentioned a couple of times in relation to the giant monsters -- e.g., one creature is said to be heading toward another for "food, a fight, or something more intimate." 

Language

Cursing is infrequent but includes "f--k," "s--t, "goddamn," "ass," "hell," and "bitch," plus "Jesus Christ" as an exclamation. 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One character sometimes has a beer on his desk and refers to drinking, but no one acts drunk, and no one actually drinks.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Godzilla: King of the Monsters is the sequel to 2014's Godzilla; it features the same giant lizard, as well as a host of other massive monsters. Expect destruction on a massive scale: Giant swathes of land and cities full of people are wiped out by monsters who stomp through civilization heedlessly. Scores of people are killed -- crushed, eaten, dropped from great heights, hurled against walls, imprisoned in giant webs, etc. -- but there's no blood or gore, and the deaths are usually pictured from a distance. That lessens the impact, but young/sensitive viewers might still be scared. A couple of deaths are scarier, including ones in which characters sacrifice their own lives to save others. Romance/sex is almost nonexistent, save for a few references to mating monsters, and there's no drinking (one character does have a beer on his desk and refers to inviting a monster over for a beer). Cursing is infrequent, but characters do say "f--k," "s--t, "goddamn," "ass," and "bitch," generally in reference to the monsters. The movie's central theme, in which humans wish to find ways to reverse the damage we've done to our planet, is a positive one, but the method one particular scientist is working toward will only succeed if huge numbers of people die. The supporting cast has extensive diversity, but the main characters are all white, and none of them are given particularly meaty arcs. Vera FarmigaMillie Bobby Brown, and Kyle Chandler co-star.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byPam R. June 5, 2019

Godzilla

I took three girls, ages 6, 13, and 14, and they enjoyed it. At the end, the six-year-old in our group stood up and announced that she was glad she had gotten t... Continue reading
Parent Written bynuenjins September 15, 2019

Way more mellow drama than Monster brawls.

I'd just as soon watch 2 guys in rubber suits have a semi comical fight....because that's fun and this very much is NOT. Sure, good CG, 1 star for tha... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byCrazykingxl May 30, 2019

Awsome fights and good story

A whole family can watch this.
Teen, 14 years old Written byMoviefanatic040 June 16, 2019

The most fun I had at the movies ever!

This is probably one of my new favorite movies. It is action packed, it’s funny, and keeps you interested. Don’t listen to rotten tomatoes. They lost their sens... Continue reading

What's the story?

Five years after the giant lizard ran amuck in San Francisco, GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS begins as more than a dozen more of the monsters that humans call "Titans" are waking up all over the world. The U.S. government is eager to wipe them all out, but secretive monster-hunting organization Monarch believes that the ancient creatures are a crucial element of the earth's natural balance. When a new "alpha" rival to Godzilla, King Ghidorah, rises from the earth, humanity is in danger of being wiped out altogether. The only hope is Orca, the machine invented by scientists Emma and Mark Russell (Vera Farmiga and Kyle Chandler), which can communicate with the monsters. Will Godzilla be humankind's savior -- or its doom? 

Is it any good?

Thunderously loud and overly long, this continuation in the Godzilla franchise does have some rousing monster fights, but it's marred by a muddled storyline and blah visuals. Which is a pity, because there are some interesting ideas at work in this particular kaiju outing. While most American Godzilla takes have flattened his story into a "big lizard arises, town goes squish" framework, King of the Monsters pulls in some of the nuance of the Japanese original, in which Godzilla's destructive force represented the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and nature gone terribly wild due to human intervention. As Emma explains in one of King's long, tedious expository scenes, our earth is soon to be uninhabitable -- but maybe, just maybe, the monsters waking up all over the world aren't meant to pound the last nail in our coffin, but instead to bring about the earth's rebirth. 

It's a powerful idea for our times of climate change terror, but it doesn't land, because King ultimately is more interested in monster battles than the humans who are running away from them. Kaiju fans may get a few thrills from seeing retakes on old friends like Mothra and Rodan, but none of the monsters is pretty to look at, and they're so similar in design (save for Mothra, who occasionally unveils her shimmering wings to lovely effect) that it can be hard to tell exactly which monster is fighting which. And the human part of the plot makes it difficult to care about why. King is stuffed with absolutely top-notch actors, but they're not given much to do besides react to the battling giants. We're expected to understand that Emma has a master plan with her monster-speak McGuffin and to care about her relationship with Mark and her daughter, Madison (a wasted Millie Bobby Brown), but the emotional beats aren't there. It's just one thudding, confusing, numbing monster battle after another. And that big lug of a lizard deserves better. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how this film differs from the original 1956 Godzilla movie -- or from the versions made in 1998 and 2014. What's most compelling in each of these movies: the story or the nonstop action? Why?

  • Japanese Godzilla filmmakers used monster suits and miniatures to create their special effects, not CGI or stop-motion. If you've seen the original (or its imitators), which do you prefer: low-tech "practical" effects or something more realistic and high-tech? Which usually works better in movies? 

  • Talk about Godzilla's violence and destruction. How does the impact of the massive-scale devastation seen in this type of a movie compare to more realistic violence? Do you think these kinds of movies can desensitize viewers to violence?

  • Why do you think Godzilla has been remade so many times? What do you think filmmakers hope to achieve by remaking a classic? How often do you prefer remakes to the original?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love large-scale action

Themes & Topics

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