Godzilla: King of the Monsters is a 2019 American giant monster film directed and co-written by Michael Dougherty and was released to American theaters on May 31, 2019. It is the third installment of the MonsterVerse series, a sequel to Godzilla (2014), the 35th film in the Godzilla franchise, the third Godzilla film to be completely produced by a Hollywood studio and stars Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, Bradley Whitford, Sally Hawkins, Charles Dance, Thomas Middleditch, O'Shea Jackson Jr., Ken Watanabe, and Zhang Ziyi.
In the film, humans must help Godzilla fight his ancient nemesis King Ghidorah, who has gathered Rodan and other Titans he had awakened around the world as his army to destroy Earth. Now, it is up to Godzilla, with the help of Monarch and his trusted ally Mothra, to stop the three-headed beast and his pawns in order to save humanity and become the "King of the Monsters".
Plot[edit | edit source]
In 2014, Dr. Emma Russell, her husband Dr. Mark Russell and their daughter Madison are in the ruins of San Francisco looking for their son, Andrew, but he is nowhere to be seen. Then they hear a loud growling noise, look towards the source and see the mighty Godzilla walking towards the ocean. Five years later, Emma continues her work for the cryptozoological organization known as Monarch to track down and study the Titans, giant God-like monsters that once dominated the earth. They travel to an excavation site in China, where they witness the birth of a giant larva moth named Mothra. Madison grows attached to Mothra while Emma calms the creature using the "ORCA", a sonar device that is capable of emitting frequencies that only Mothra and other Titans can hear. Mothra becomes docile, until an eco-terrorist group, led by former British Army colonel Alan Jonah, raid the site, kidnapping both Emma and Madison. Mothra manages to escape and cocoon herself underneath a waterfall miles away from the site.
Meanwhile, Monarch's scientists and soldiers led by Dr. Ishiro Serizawa and his assistant Dr. Vivienne Graham ask Mark to help them rescue Emma and Madison. Though Mark is bitter about working with Monarch since his son's death during Godzilla's battle with the MUTOs, he reluctantly joins the team.
Monarch and Godzilla travel to Antarctica where the team realizes Jonah's intentions to free a Titan encased in the ice called "Monster Zero". Once there, Jonah's team ambushes the Monarch soldiers. Mark finds Emma and Madison but Madison refuses to leave with him, and Emma frees and awakens the Titan herself before leaving with Jonah's men. Monster Zero begins rampaging until Godzilla emerges through the ice. The two Titans fight, and Graham is killed in the mayhem. Godzilla drives Monster Zero off, and he flies away, leaving the Monarch team to regroup.
Monarch finds out that Jonah's next target is Isla de Mara, Mexico. They are contacted by Emma, who reveals that she's been working with Jonah all along and she intends to free the Titans to cull the human population and restore balance to the world. Unable to reason with her, Monarch focuses on evacuating the city but before the evacuation is complete, Jonah orders Emma to use the ORCA to wake up Rodan, a Pteranodon-like Titan. After Rodan escapes from its containment chamber, the Monarch team uses their air squadron to lure Rodan to fight the approaching Monster Zero, who quickly defeats Rodan.
After Rodan is beaten, Monster Zero targets the Monarch warjet, but Godzilla emerges from the ocean and engages Monster Zero, successfully tearing off one of its heads. During the battle, the military launches a missile known as the Oxygen Destroyer towards them, seemingly killing Godzilla, who sinks into the ocean. Monster Zero survives the missile unscathed and regenerates its missing head, and a recovered Rodan acknowledges the new alpha. Monster Zero lets loose a roar which awakens all the dormant Titans, leading to several cities being destroyed in their wake. Madison, upon seeing Monster Zero and the Titans cause destruction to the world on a computer screen and realizing restoring the natural order was all a lie, angrily scolds Emma for her actions while saying that they were supposed to be doing this "for Andrew" and disowns her following an argument, despite Emma pleading with her daughter that she could get things back under control. Meanwhile, in the wake of the apocalypse, Monarch realizes through Dr. Chen's reading of mythological texts that Monster Zero is Ghidorah, an ancient alien Titan who serves as Godzilla's primary rival for apex predator.
Meanwhile, Mothra emerges from her cocoon underneath the waterfall and flies to a facility in the Bermuda Triangle where it can communicate with Godzilla, who had survived the detonation and is recuperating underwater. Monarch uses the communication frequency to locate Godzilla. Deciding to use a nuclear warhead to revitalize Godzilla, Mark, Serizawa, and a Monarch team board a submarine. A vortex pulls the submarine into an undersea tunnel that leads to Godzilla's home: an underwater city irradiated enough to recharge him. Unfortunately, the team realizes the natural process could take years to recharge Godzilla. Ultimately, the team decides to detonate the nuclear weapon, but due to earlier damages the submarine suffered from a vortex, the weapon system is offline. Serizawa volunteers to manually detonate the weapon, and travels into the air pocket Godzilla is resting in. He can say farewell to the Titan before the warhead detonates. The detonation revives Godzilla and increases his power, making him stronger than before.
In Boston, Massachusetts, Emma realizes that the destruction Ghidorah and the other Titans will bring is far worse than what humans could inflict, but Jonah refuses to back down. Madison overhears this, steals the ORCA, and escapes, intending to carry out her mother's idea of stopping Ghidorah. Traveling to Fenway Park, Madison broadcasts a frequency that attracts all the Titans to its location.
Ghidorah arrives at Boston in an attempt to destroy the ORCA. Madison sacrifices the device but is still targeted by Ghidorah. Before he can kill her, Godzilla appears with Monarch's assistance to engage it. The Monarch team learns that the warhead's radiation overcharged Godzilla: while it made him stronger, he will overload and emit a thermonuclear explosion. Mark leads a Monarch team to rescue Madison and escape the city before Godzilla overloads. Mothra arrives to support Godzilla but Rodan arrives in defense of Ghidorah and fights her, preventing either from helping their respective alphas. Mothra defeats Rodan, but Godzilla is injured and overpowered. A badly injured Mothra sacrifices herself to shield Godzilla from Ghidorah; she is disintegrated by Ghidorah's lightning, but her ashes rain down onto Godzilla and transfer her energy to him.
Mark, Emma, and Madison are reunited and repair the damaged ORCA to lure Ghidorah away from Godzilla. As they are evacuated, Emma drives away with the ORCA to continue luring Ghidorah so Mark and Madison can escape, sacrificing herself in the process. Godzilla recovers and unleashes thermonuclear blasts, bombarding Ghidorah with atomic pulses that destroy him for good. Rodan and the other Titans then converge on Godzilla, bowing to him as their new "King of the Monsters".
As the film ends, it is revealed that Monarch has divulged its information on the Titans to the public. News clippings show a newly discovered Mothra egg, Titans beginning to converge on Skull Island, a mysterious forest blooming at the Sahara Desert, 14 animals have been removed from the endangered species list, Titan waste is believed to be viable energy source, and ancient paintings displaying Godzilla battling Kong.
In a post-credits scene, a fisherman reveals one of Ghidorah's decapitated heads to Jonah, restarting his eco-terrorism plot.
Cast[edit | edit source]
- Vera Farmiga as Dr. Emma Russell
- Kyle Chandler as Mark Russell
- Millie Bobby Brown as Madison Russell
- Ken Watanabe as Dr. Ishiro Serizawa
- Sally Hawkins as Dr. Vivienne Graham
- Bradley Whitford as Dr. Rick Stanton
- Thomas Middleditch as Sam Coleman
- O'Shea Jackson Jr. as Jackson Barnes
- Charles Dance as Alan Jonah
- Zhang Ziyi as Dr. Ilene Chen and Dr. Ling Chen
Monsters[edit | edit source]
- King Ghidorah
- Anguirus (Skeleton)
- Leaf Wings
- King Kong (footage, cave painting)
- MUTO (Male, Female, Queen)
Development[edit | edit source]
Godzilla director Gareth Edwards stated that he wanted the film to stand on its own with a definitive ending, with no teaser for a sequel. Nonetheless, Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures greenlit a sequel on May 18, 2014, after Godzilla's successful opening weekend. Edwards was announced as the director, but no cast members were confirmed to return.
On July 26, 2014, a teaser for the untitled sequel screened at San Diego Comic-Con, revealing that Rodan, Mothra and King Ghidorah would all be appearing. A month later, the release date was set for June 8, 2018. The four-year gap between Godzilla and Godzilla 2 was due to Gareth Edwards signing on to direct Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and as a result being unavailable to begin work on Godzilla 2 until 2016. In an interview with Collider conducted in early August 2015, writer Max Borenstein revealed that he was writing the script for the film, promising that the sequel would do "bigger and even better things" than the first film.
On October 14, 2015, Legendary Pictures announced a remake of King Kong vs. Godzilla titled Godzilla vs. Kong, set for release in 2020 and serving as a sequel to both Godzilla 2 and Legendary's Kong: Skull Island. On May 10, 2016, the release dates of both Godzilla 2 and Godzilla vs. Kong shifted from March 22, 2019 and May 29, 2020 respectively. Three days later, Deadline reported that Gareth Edwards had left the film in order to pursue other projects. On October 20, 2016, Variety reported that Michael Dougherty and Zach Shields, who had recently co-wrote Legendary's Christmas horror-comedy Krampus, would be stepping in as the new writers for Godzilla 2. The sequel's official title was revealed on December 14, 2016: Godzilla: King of the Monsters.
On January 23rd, 2017, Variety reported that writer Michael Dougherty would also direct the film. Four days later, The Hollywood Reporter announced that Millie Bobby Brown of Stranger Things would star in the film. Other principal cast members were announced from February 21 to July 10, including Ken Watanabe and Sally Hawkins reprising their roles as Dr. Ishiro Serizawa and Dr. Vivienne Graham, respectively.
Following production, TheWrap reported that Jason Liles, who had recently portrayed the albino gorilla George through motion capture in the film Rampage, would be acting as one of King Ghidorah's motion capture actors in the film. The same day, Empire explained that Liles would specifically be portraying King Ghidorah's middle head, with Alan Maxson and Richard Dorton playing the other two heads and additional motion capture actors performing as the monster's body.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters was delayed once more on May 23, 2018, pushed back to May 31, 2019.
Production[edit | edit source]
Principal photography on Godzilla: King of the Monsters began on June 19, 2017, at Blackhall Studios in Atlanta, Georgia. Locations as diverse as Antarctica and Fenway Park were recreated as indoor sets. For many members of the cast, the first days of shooting were ironically for the climax of the film in Boston. To aid the actors in reacting to the off-camera monsters, Dougherty used a iPad-controlled speaker system called "The Behemoth" to play their roars. Crowd scenes in the fictious Mexican town of Isla de Mara were shot in the historic center of Mexico City from August 19 to 22. Production wrapped on September 27.