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Confusing 'Godzilla: King of the Monsters' lacks narrative fire

  • Massive titans awaken and wreak havoc in 'Godzilla: King of the Monsters.'

    Massive titans awaken and wreak havoc in 'Godzilla: King of the Monsters.'
    Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

  • Dr. Emma Russell (Vera Farmiga), left, and her daughter Madison (Millie Bobby Brown) face a threat from eco-terrorists in 'Godzilla: King of the Monsters.'

    Dr. Emma Russell (Vera Farmiga), left, and her daughter Madison (Millie Bobby Brown) face a threat from eco-terrorists in 'Godzilla: King of the Monsters.'
    Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

 
 
updated: 5/31/2019 1:05 PM

Not to rain on Godzilla's parade ­­-- which constantly happens in this insanely rainy movie ­-- but isn't crowning Japan's radioactive, fire-breathing dinosaur "King of the Monsters" a bit premature when the supreme heavyweight title monster match won't take place until March 13, 2020, when "Godzilla Vs. Kong" opens?

Just wondering.

Meanwhile, Michael Dougherty's loud, busy and confusing "Godzilla: King of the Monsters" puts humanity to the test, specifically actors, required to emote as they deliver inane and cheesy dialogue with an Oscar-level sense of serious purpose.

"What's happening?" Madison Russell (Millie Bobby Brown) shouts to her mom, scientist Emma Russell (Vera Farmiga).

She replies, "I don't know!"

They practically critique their movie as it plunges into numbing, protracted professional wrestling matches between giants.

In this corner, weighing in as a Japanese pop culture icon and pre-eminent hydrogen bomb metaphor: Godzilla.

In the other corners, weighing in as Japan's fighting superstars: Mothra, Rodan, and King Ghidorah.

Polar fracking has knocked the Earth off its axis just enough to wreak havoc with Mother Nature, causing the awakening of 17 "titans," giant critters really miffed by having their centuries-old underground slumber disrupted.

Good thing a "crypto-zoological agency" called Monarch has established secret bases all over the Earth to deal with this crisis.

Mark Russell (an earnest Kyle Chandler) formerly worked for Monarch. His ex-wife Dr. Emma Russell still works there, where daughter Madison apparently hangs out.

Emma has developed a sonic device that can shut down the aggressive tendencies of titans, if she can locate the corresponding frequency of a creature, such as Mothra, still in a cocoon inside a secret underground Monarch lab.

Not for long, of course.

A group of eco-terrorists led by the villainous Jonah Alan (former "Game of Thrones" king Charles Dance) raids the lab and kills everyone except Emma and Madison, deemed "too essential to the plot" to be knocked off so early.

Alan abducts Emma and Madison. Mark joins up with fellow Monarch employees to save them, plus the rest of the planet, as 17 unhappy titans bring down property values around the globe.

As silly and cartoony as this disaster movie gets ­-- it's a war allegory without the gory -- Dougherty's movie can't match the dumbfounding idiocy of Roland Emmerick's 1998 "Godzilla."

In that inept epic (also shot with lots of rain, presumably to camouflage poor-quality special effects), Godzilla hides in the tunnels under Manhattan, despite being as tall as the Empire State Building.

As much as people in "King of the Monsters" talk about Godzilla being on their "side," the irradiated beastie remains a grim, fire-breathing stick figure, lacking the emotive nuances of Daenerys Targaryen's dragon pets in HBO's "Game of Thrones."

Not even the acting talents of venerable Japanese actor Ken Watanabe and "Shape of Water" Oscar nominee Sally Hawkins (both reprising characters from Gareth Edwards' 2014 "Godzilla") can breathe fire into this monster mash-up.

 
 
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