"Long Live The King" with Godzilla: King of the Monsters. This monster film directed by Michael Dougherty, co-written by Dougherty and Zach Shields, based on the franchise created by Toho Co., Ltd. It is a sequel to Godzilla (2014), the 35th film in the Godzilla franchise, and the third film in Legendary's MonsterVerse. The crypto-zoological agency Monarch face off against a battery of god-sized monsters, including Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan, and King Ghidorah. When these ancient super-speciesthought to be mere mythsrise again, they all vie for supremacy, leaving humanity's very existence hanging in the balance.
The film stars Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, Bradley Whitford, Sally Hawkins, Charles Dance, Thomas Middleditch, Aisha Hinds, O'Shea Jackson Jr., David Strathairn, Ken Watanabe, and Zhang Ziyi. Despite terrific performances, the human story only proved to be a minor improvement over the previous film.
In July 2014, after the successful release of Godzilla, Legendary confirmed, at San Diego Comic-Con, that they had acquired the rights to Mothra, Rodan, and King Ghidorah from Toho. For the monsters, Dougherty wanted their designs to emit a godly presence and evoke a sense of worship. For Godzilla, Dougherty wanted to tweak the design by changing the dorsal plates to resemble more the maple leaf shape seen in the 1954 iteration onwards, as well as making the claws and feet bigger. He also had the sound design team expand on Godzilla's roar by making it sound closer to the roars of the 1954 incarnation. For Rodan, Dougherty wanted Rodan's design to resemble something that "Mother Nature could have created". The designers were instructed to not just look at Pteranodons but at various birds such as vultures, eagles, and hawks. In addition, elements of volcanic rock were added to the scales and skin color to make Rodan look capable of living inside of a volcano. For Mothra, Dougherty wanted to create something that was "beautiful, and feminine, and elegant, and looked like a true goddess, but also dangerous if she had to be". He attempted to remain faithful to the color palette and design of the original 1961 incarnation. Mothra was designed to resemble real moths and given longer legs in order to defend herself against other monsters. Dougherty found Mothra to be the most difficult to design because he wished to avoid making Mothra look like a blown up moth. For King Ghidorah, Dougherty wanted to create a "unique" design but worked closely with Toho to make sure the new design respected past incarnations. Each head was given its own personality, with the center being the alpha and the others beings its lackeys. He instructed the designers to look at various animals, specifically king cobras. In addition, he told the design team to maintain an Eastern dragon influence and to avoid any Western dragon influence.
Despite some basic incongruities and its occasionally silly tone, Godzilla: King of the Monsters is genuinely the best American-made Godzilla film thus far. In terms of full-on kaiju brawls, it just doesn't get any better than this.