"Godzilla: King of the Monsters" (out now on 4K UHD, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital) is a movie loaded to the gills with backstory and elaborate connections to previous and upcoming movies in the so-called Monarch universe.
A sequel to the 2014 "Godzilla" and a sequel of sorts to the 2017 "Kong: Skull Island," "King of the Monsters" crams in a raft of other Japanese monsters and sets up a plot that's likely planned to play out over a dozen or so movies over the next decade.
The monsters look great here and the fights are epic, but there are a lot of actors talking about a lot of stuff that's kind of confusing and it all sort of vaporized immediately after I saw it in a theater and again immediately after rewatching it in 4K.
All of this begs a question: Godzilla is perhaps the most awesome monster in movie history, but are any of the movies actually any good? Kids love to play with Godzilla toys, imitate his roar, wear the creature on T-shirts and pajamas, and represent with a lunchbox. But isn't thinking about Godzilla more fun than any moments in the movies when a monster fight isn't happening?
Warner Bros. has tried to pump up King Kong and Godzilla into the anchors of an entire Star Wars/Marvel-style series of interconnected movies. They never nailed things with their DC Comics-inspired series, and they've got a lot less plot to work with here.
What "King of the Monsters" does deliver is Mothra, Rodan and King Ghidorah all in the same movie. Introducing all three classic Toho Films characters seems to run counter to the idea of a long-running Avengers-style series, but Japanese monster fans won't be sorry to see the four biggest face off in one movie.
There's about 30 minutes of plot shoehorned in here to set up future movies. Cut out those scenes, and you'd have about 100 minutes of monsters stomping with just enough story to hold things together.
We're scheduled to get "Godzilla vs. Kong" from horror movie director Adam Wingard. "Kong: Skull Island" remains the best movie of the three Monarch monster flicks released so far. Let's hope Wingard takes some cues from that movie and gets right down to the monster wrestling without too many mythological distractions.