Welcome to The Mundane Adventures of a Fangirl

I consider myself a Fangirl. What does that mean, you ask? A "fanboy" in the most common understanding is a hardcore fan of 'genre' based entertainment in particular. In my case - science-fiction and comic book based movies and television. Because I'm a chick - it's fangirl, not fanboy. There you have it! I am a big movie fan, however, not necessarily a 'film' fan. And now - I have the forum to present my opinions to the public! These will mainly be movie reviews -that will always be my opinion - repeat OPINION. Just what I think, and in no way do I present my opinion as fact. I hope you enjoy and maybe it will help you decide what to see at the movie theater this weekend!

Monday, July 15, 2019

Movie Review: Spider-Man: Far From Home (PG13 – 129 minutes)

This movie functions as the first MCU follow-up to the very much ‘end’ feeling of Avengers Endgame. And how does it do? Well, if you think about all the existing MCU movies as if they were one MCU movie, then this movie feels a little like the humorous post-credits sequence.
It picks up a few months after the events of Endgame.  Folks are all attempting to recover from the snap and the resulting ‘blip’ where certain folks were gone for five years and then suddenly blipped back.  At Peter Parker’s high school, he and most of his classmates that we met in the first movie blipped out and are now back, picking up school where they left.  Other classmates that were five years behind them are now in their grade. This includes Brad – a guy who is now all charming and handsome but was a tiny child when they left.

Peter is feeling overwhelmed because he’s trying to live up to the legacy left behind by Tony Stark. Everyone seems to keep pushing him to be the “next Iron Man” when he’s just trying to be the best friendly neighborhood spider-man he can.  He is heading out on a class trip through Europe and is bound and determined not to bring his spidey-suit, hoping to just have a vacation.  However, as soon as they get to Venice, a giant water monster attacks, Nick Fury shows up to hijack the vacation and give him a mission, and Spidey meets Mysterio.  Quentin Beck claims to be a man from another universe chasing these ‘elemental’ monsters and hoping to save our world from the destruction his suffered.  Now, if you are familiar with Mysterio at all from any of the animated series or from the comics, that description confused you, but have patience.

Director Jon Watts, who also did Spider-Man Homecoming, keeps the same tone here.  He explains Peter’s general feeling of not-being-good-enough through interactions with others and exposition.  The comedy is fast and funny. The action is wonderful, and while giant and mostly CG, works really well in the context of the movie. The interaction between the cast is fantastic, and they definitely feel like classmates.
  • Tom Holland continues to be the best Spider-Man we have had to date. He’s earnest in how much he wants to help, but also just be a kid on a trip with the girl he likes. He’s just so perfect in the role and I cannot wait to see where he goes from here

  • Zendaya plays M.J., who still does not refer to Peter as ‘tiger’ at any point – maybe the next one?   Her take on the character is interesting, sarcastic, and overall very entertaining.

  • Jacob Batalon plays Ned, Peter’s guy-in-the-chair.  He’s there to be the best friend, comic relief, and emotional counsel and does all of it with charm and grace.

  • Angourie Rice place Betty Brant who does the reporting for the school TV channel?  She also begins and ends a whirlwind romance with Ned while on vacation.
  • Tony Revolori plays Flash Thompson with the perfect level of adoration of Spider-Man and simultaneous hate of Peter Parker. He’s fantastic at this role and I love him in it.

  • Remy Hill plays Brad who is suddenly in class with all these folks. He provides some great comedy.
  • Martin Starr plays Mr. Harrington and J.B. Smoove plays Mr. Dell, the two adult chaperones on the trip with the kids. They are basically there to provide even more comedy relief, as neither of them seems to be all that great at chaperoning.  I feel like there are piles and piles of outtakes of the two of them riffing and I want to see them!

  • Marisa Tomei plays May (she’s dropped the aunt for this younger Peter).  What I enjoyed most is that this version is working at a homeless shelter, feeling like a tie-in from the PS4 Spider-Man game. She’s mainly concerned about protecting Peter, but also with making sure Spider-Man is ready to help anywhere at any time.

  • Jon Favreau plays Happy Hogan who may or may not be starting a relationship with May. He’s still struggling with how to deal with the loss of his best friend and keeping tabs on the kid Stark chose to mentor.

  • Cobie Smulders plays agent Maria Hill who is on assignment with Fury throughout Europe.
  • Samuel L. Jackson plays Nick Fury who seems to be a bit more sassy then he has been in the past. Of course, he’s missing five years, and he’s not at all happy about that.
  • Jake Gyllenhaal plays Quentin Beck or Mysterio.  He’s perfect for this role as Stark-surrogate when Peter first meets him.  

Overall, the movie is super fun with great action. It’s smaller than Endgame, but it is supposed to be. If you liked Spider-Man Homecoming, you will definitely enjoy this one.  
9 out of 10 – so fun, so wonderful, also – love that returning cameo at the end.

I cannot wait to see what happens in the next one. I used to want a D'onofrio Kingpin appearance, but his Kingpin is pretty R rated for this very PG13 Spider-Man.  But, we could still get a Sinister Six!

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Movie Review: Shaft 2019 (111 minutes – R)

The original Shaft came out in 1971 and was the definitive “Blaxploitation” movie of the seventies.  It was based on Ernest Tidyman’s novel and covered the story of private detective John Shaft who was hired by a Harlem mobster to rescue his daughter from Italian mobsters.  Richard Roundtree got the role over Isaac Hayes who ended up winning an Oscar for the theme song.  The movie was so successful that it helped save MGM from bankruptcy in 1971. 

The original was followed by three Roundtree sequels, Shaft in 1973, Shaft’s Big Score! In 1972, and Shaft in Africa in 1973.  The movie was rebooted/sequelized in 2000 starring Samuel L. Jackson as John Shaft II as he hunted down a criminal and gave up his police career for a private investigator job like his ‘uncle’ John Shaft.  Despite Sam Jackson being only 6 years younger than Richard Roundtree, he felt very natural in the role as a character who knows the streets and gets done what needs to be done regardless of the rules. 

This version picks up in the early 80s as Shaft and his lady, Maya, are arguing in the car when a local drug lord, Gordito, targets Shaft for assassination. Shaft gets the better of the hitmen, but Maya is terrified that this type of life will keep following them and with their new baby boy in the back seat, she will not take any chances. She takes their son, John Shaft III, and raises him elsewhere on her own. We get a series of time jumps as we see young JJ growing up and receiving random gifts from his father.  Eventually, JJ moves back to New York to begin work with the FBI as a cybersecurity expert.  His childhood friend Karim dies of a heroin overdose despite being clean.  In an attempt to track down the truth of what happens, he reluctantly asks his father for help.

At this point the movie shifts into JJ pointing out how Shaft’s technique, personality, and behavior are all inappropriate and out of date, while Shaft points out to JJ that he’s ‘soft’.  Eventually, the plot ties back to Gordito, and both Shafts have to go to Shaft Sr. in order for further assistance and all three Shafts team up to take out the bad guy.

This version is directed by Tim Story, and maintains the offhanded irreverence that the original and spin off mustered.  The back and forth between Shaft and Junior gets a little one note, but the chemistry and charm of the stars helps make it more watchable than it should be.  Shaft’s entire sensibility is no longer politically correct, but there is something to seeing Sam Jackson play it that makes it entertaining.

  • Samuel L. Jackson plays John Shaft II and when we first encounter him, he’s covered in stripper glitter, allowing you to infer what he’s been doing.  He embodies the character just fine, strutting around town and demanding answers in his various leather coats and turtlenecks.  The character is a relic, but somehow Sam makes him charming and entertaining.

  • Jessie T. Usher plays John Shaft III or JJ.  He’s doing his best as a millennial in today’s atmosphere and while most of Shaft’s sensibilities offend him, he tries his best to encourage him to adapt to modern attitudes. Usher is game and does the best he can with what he’s given.

  • Richard Roundtree plays John Shaft, and he steals the part of the movie he’s in. In this one he reclaims being John Shaft II’s father as opposed to uncle like he said in the previous movie. This despite the fact that he’s 76 and Sam Jackson is 70.  At one point in the movie they mention that Shaft II is 60, and sure, we’ll buy that.  Roundtree is so cool, so slick, and just the best part of this.

  • Regina Hall (who is 48 by the way) plays Maya and look – you know the female characters in a Shaft movie are not going to be well developed.  Essentially her only trait is that she was worried about her son and left Shaft, and now is still worried about him while still being sort of attracted to Shaft.

  • Alexandra Shipp plays Sasha Arias, a childhood friend of JJ’s.  She is smart and fun and has no patience for Shaft’s nonsense when he shows up.  She holds the grudge about him not being in JJ’s life better than JJ does.  She does get reduced to being starry-eyed chick when JJ defeats a couple of thugs.

  • Method Man reprises his role from the 2000 version as Freddy P, a friend of Shaft’s who is there to provide assistance, information, and commentary on JJ’s ‘game’ at a club.

  • Luna Lauren Velez who I remember from New York Undercover plays Bennie, a local grocery store owner who may or may not be in on the plot.

  • Titus Welliver plays Special Agent Vietti – JJ’s boss who is there to represent the ‘man’ always keeping JJ down by suggesting that a rookie should not take lead on a big investigation.

Overall, it’s a little choppy and one-note here and there, but the action scenes are pretty fun, and the banter between JJ and Shaft is entertaining enough thanks to the two actors playing the roles. Again, once Roundtree joins the fun, the movie is taken up a level.  I saw this in an almost full theater, and everyone in there was having a great time, laughing and cheering most of the movie.  It’s not great, but it sure is entertaining. Put on your trenchcoat and turtleneck and have a good time.

7 out of 10
I absolutely watch a weekly series on HBO called Shaft Investigations with all three of theses dudes solving cases.  

And in case you forgot the theme song, and how it's easily one of the very best and funkiest songs ever.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Movie Review: Men In Black International (PG13 – 114 minutes)

Men in Black was released in 1997, was based on the original comics (loosely), and was directed by Barry Sonnenfeld. It was clever, quick-witted, and was part of the three-year swing that turned the Fresh Prince into Will Smith the movie star.  There were two sequels, and in my opinion the second one was not great, and the third one was okay. This one is also okay.  I really do love the original. The effects are stunning and feature a lot of Rick Baker’s practical alien effects.  They give the movie a sense of realism along with its great action and comedy that was not as present in the sequels.

Men in Black International begins with Agent H and Agent T (High T) fighting ‘the Hive’ in Paris a few years ago.  It doesn’t quite go as planned, and from the description given of the Hive and the sequence, I thought the ‘twist’ was very obvious from this opening sequence.  The movie then jumps back further to show a young Molly observe Men in Black neuralize her parents to make them forget that they saw a fuzzy blue alien going through their trash.  Molly helps the baby get away after introducing herself to it - this comes back in a lovely way.  Since she never gets neuralized, that memory haunts her and she spends her life searching for the MIB and tracking aliens here on earth. 

One day she follows a lead right to a MIB arrest and walks right into the New York office. After talking her way into a job, Agent O assigns her to the London office, because ‘something is off’.  Molly becomes agent M, partners with Agent H, and sets off to help him guard a friend of his who may or may not have information about the hive.  Meanwhile, an alien of some sort shows up, duplicates a dude, and heads after a weapon masquerading as Les Twins.

The movie is directed by F. Gary Gray who continues to advance his career by taking on new and different challenges.  All the pieces here are great, and there are aspects of the movie that are great, but someone it is not quite a complete package. Unfortunately, it will keep getting compared to the original.  It’s not as good as that one, but it’s certainly on par with the sequels.  The action is fine, the comedy okay, and the cast is pretty great.

  • Chris Hemsworth continues to prove that he clearly prefers comedy-action to drama-action and shines as the slightly bumbling but heroic Agent H.  He’s a little overwhelmed by his own reputation and just as he is beginning to fall apart, M shows up to help him pull together. 

  • Tessa Thompson’s M is driven and determined and functions perfectly as the ‘straight man’ to Hemsworth’s bigger comedy.  It’s a similar pattern to their success in Thor Ragnarok, so it continues to work here. They have great chemistry and seem to really enjoy their hijinks together.

  • Kumail Nanjiani plays Pawny, and when I say plays him, what I mean is that he provides the voice for a tiny animated warrior.  He’s hilarious and entertaining and provides some wonderful light moments.

  • Rebecca Ferguson plays Riza an alien arms dealer who lives on a tropical island with bodyguards and amazing weapons.  She apparently also used to date H.  I really enjoyed her, especially when she and M get into a fight and you realize she has three arms. 

  • Rafe Spall plays Agent C who spends most of the movie throwing red herrings around fairly obviously.  He’s certainly game, and I definitely enjoyed the banter between he and Hemsworth. 
  • Emma Thompson plays Agent O who is running the New York office and takes enough of a shine to M to send her to London to follow a hunch.  She has the best dry comic timing and seems to really enjoy her role as the one connecting MIB3 to this International version.

  • Liam Neeson plays Agent T.  It’s tough, because at this point I’d be fine not seeing him anymore. He does well with what he’s given in this movie, not shying away from the zaniness or the action.

  • Les Twins pretty much play themselves. One is Laurent and the other is Larry, but I couldn’t tell you which is which.  If you are not familiar with them, they are incredible hip hop dancers who toured with Beyonce for a bit. This is their first movie, and certainly will not be their last.

Overall, the movie is fine, certainly more entertaining than not.  I definitely was missing a Will Smith cameo.  Like I said, it has some great sequences, and some interesting potential, but doesn’t fit together as smoothly as it should have. I wouldn’t mind another one, just because the core cast seems to really enjoy one another – but there better be some Will Smith in that one.

6 out of 10.
Bonus - more Les Twins action.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Movie Review: X-Men Dark Phoenix (PG13 – 113 minutes)

The majority of my X-Men knowledge comes from the animated series that debuted in 1992 and covered various storylines from the comics.  One of those storylines was the Phoenix saga, that then shifted into the Dark Phoenix saga.  Essentially Jean Grey, already one of the most powerful telekinetic and telepathic mutants on the planet, interacted with an exceptionally powerful intergalactic force.  At first, she was able to control it.  However, she lost control and shifted into one of the greatest foes the X-Men have faced. 

This was somewhat covered in the audience-dividing X-Men 3: The Last Stand movie directed by Brett Ratner released in 2006.  Famke Janssen did a great job vamping her way through the movie as a Jean finally feeling herself after being held back for the previous two movies.  The rest of the movie is strange.  In any case, once the X-Men were semi-rebooted with X-Men: First Class in 2011 we got younger versions of the characters and the opportunity to revisit the most popular storylines. 

At the end of X-Men: Apocalypse (which was truly terrible), we got a glimpse of the possibility of the Phoenix as Jean began getting stronger.  Here, in X-Men: Dark Phoenix, we join the team as they are entering the 90s and finally enjoying some quality co-existing with humans. Professor X is getting chummy with the president and the X-Men are beloved heroes as they go on missions to help everyone.  A space shuttle gets into trouble with what seems to be a solar flare and the X-Men head out.  The team is being led by Mystique and Beast.  Mystique’s involvement in the team is still a giant what?!?! As that makes no sense based on the comics/animated series. Mystique was always a villain.  Just because you cast Jennifer Lawrence doesn’t mean you get to change the entire character.  In any case, Jean, Scott (Cyclops), Nightcrawler, Quicksilver, and Storm join Beast and Mystique to save the astronauts. They are successful, but not before Jean gets blasted by and/or absorbs the flare. 
Once back down on the ground, Jean starts to lose it.  Scott tries to reign her in, but the controls Professor X built into her brain to keep her insane power in check start to break down, and she realizes her father is still alive, but just wanted nothing to do with her.  Meanwhile a group of beings, who are absolutely not LIlandra and the Shi’ar, come down to get the power.  Well, things go from bad to worse as Jean realizes how she’s been manipulated by those she trusted, and just how powerful she is. 

The movie is directed by Simon Kinberg who did The Martian, Logan, and the terrible Fantastic Four reboot.  It’s far better than the previous outing, although that is not saying much.  There is actually not that much action, but what is there is well done.  This story is grim, which it is supposed to be, and its well-acted by those involved.  There are far too many extreme close-ups.  I can tell someone is emoting from four feet away, I do not need to be six inches from their nose.
  • Sophie Turner steps into the lead of this movie.  Jean was just on the fringes of Days of Future Past and then got a larger bit in Apocalypse.  Here, Turner gives Jean the weight of her pain, but also does a good job reveling in the Phoenix power when it debuts. Her performance is understated, but I enjoyed it. 

  • James McAvoy plays Charles Xavier yet again, and in this one, he’s become just a bit too comfortable with his celebrity status and reaping the rewards of building co-existence for mutants and humans.  McAvoy makes Prof. X a little arrogant and unwilling to accept the blame for his actions.  It’s a perfect fit, and an interesting take.

  • Michael Fassbender is back as Magneto, and he’s busy building his mutant island nation of Genosha when Jean turns to him for help.  Unfortunately, she’s killed somebody he liked a whole bunch, so he’s going to want to kill her.

  • Nicholas Hoult plays Beast, who seems to be able to turn his beast-ness on and off at will at this point?  he’s trying to remain the level-headed one in the group, but Mystique is trying to talk him into leaving the X-Men.

  • Tye Sheridan plays Scott Summers, and honestly, I felt like this movie needed more of him. The key to keeping Phoenix under wraps is Scott – it’s always Scott. The relationship between Jean and Scott should be central, and here is swept aside a bit.

  • The non-central X-Men in this story do not have much to do here.  Alexandra Shipp plays Storm, Kodi Smit-McPhee plays Nightcrawler, and Evan Peters’s returns as Quicksilver. 

  • Jessica Chastain joins as a big bad who is definitely not Lilandra, and honestly, I am not entirely clear who or what she is. Apparently their race has been chasing the Phoenix force in order to rebuild their world.  Ato Essandoh plays her number 2, Jones.

  • Jennifer Lawrence came back to play Mystique after complaining quite a bit about playing Mystique the last couple of times. It works a bit here because Mystique is a bit bitter. She’s still thinking mutants are better than humans and is not that interested in saving them or working with them. 

Overall, I think it was a huge benefit for me to go into this movie with very low expectations after reading some scathing reviews because I didn’t mind it nearly as much as I expected to. I enjoyed most of it, and I thought Turner did a good job.  The X-Men are always a little tough because they are not the light, fun characters that some other Marvel properties are. Things are always difficult for them because they are the allegory of the ‘other’ and how they struggle to fit into a society that hates them.  Most of their storylines are heavy and upsetting and translating them to the screen can be rough. This one is just fine.  It’s not great, but it’s certainly not terrible, and is definitely better than Apocalypse.

6 out of 10 - Entertaining enough! 

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Movie Review: Godzilla: King of the Monsters (PG13 – 131 minutes)

Godzilla made his movie debut in 1954 and has been tearing through cities alternatively saving us or thrashing us since then.  Traditionally, he’s a huge prehistoric, amphibious monster who was originally awoken by nuclear bombings and moved on to attack Japan.  He has always been a reaction to humanity’s destructive tendencies, and is often layered in thematic references.  His first appearance was a commentary on the dangers of nuclear weapons. Here, he's definitely a response to the climate crisis.  From his original appearance, he became incredibly popular and shifted from villain to hero.  He would go on to fight various other kaiju (giant monsters) including Anguirus, Gigan, King Ghidorah, Rodan, Mothra, and most notably King Kong in 1962.  Incidentally in that movie, both fell off a cliff at the end of their final battle, with only Kong surfacing to swim back to his island home.  There was no sign of Godzilla, but of course he returned in another movie.

In 2014, director Gareth Edwards gave us a very serious big-time reboot featuring a Godzilla that looked more like the original (like a dude in a suit – which is really what we want).  It was the first movie in Legendary’s MonsterVerse.  In his 12 minutes of screen time, Godzilla helped Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver defeat some other kaijus referred to as MUTOs.  It also introduced Monarch, a shady company that seems to be all about keeping tabs on kaijus.  

Kong: Skull Island brought Monarch to King Kong’s island in the 70s where Sam Jackson tried to kill him and John C. Reilley, Tom Hiddleston, and Brie Larson tried to save him.  That movie is referenced many times in this movie, building to next summer’s showdown Kong versus Godzilla.  That is reportedly mostly a Skull Island sequel.  I’m not sure how I feel about that, it seems to lean towards Godzilla being the heavy, and I’m on team Godzilla all the way.  After that, we’re going to get another Godzilla sequel, which is good, because we know he’ll be back to the hero. 

In this movie, we join Monarch as they are being chastised by the military. Essentially, the military wants to take over Monarch and use their intelligence to destroy all the ‘titans’.  Monarch’s brass is arguing that the titans are here to restore balance, and since the majority of them are in hibernation anyway, let’s just let them be.  Monarch is keeping tabs on hibernating titans all over the globe, researching their previous appearances through stories and ancient pictures.

Dr. Emma Russell is working for Monarch and keeping tabs on a sleeping larval Mothra while her daughter Madison keeps reaching out to her estranged father, Mark.  Mark used to also work for Monarch apparently, but left after he and Emma lost a son in San Francisco in 2014 during Godzilla’s battle with the MUTOs.  Emma has developed a machine called the Orca that uses audio recordings of titans in order to create an ‘alpha’ sound to keep the titans at bay, calm, or drawn towards her. It has different effects throughout the course of the movie.  Mothra wakes up, gets scared when folks point guns at her, but then is soothed by Emma’s recording of the alpha noise – enough to let Madison pet her giant moth head.  Of course at that point, a group of eco-terrorist mercenaries lead by Jonah Allen burst in, frighten Mothra, and take Emma and Madison.  Mothra takes off to cocoon herself under a waterfall, as per usual.

Monarch goes to Mark to tell him what happened and get him to help find the Orca, which in turn should find Emma and Madison.  Mark’s a bit furious at all this and sides with the military in terms of wanting to kill all the titans, but shifts his opinion pretty quickly.  Allen and his crew head down to Antarctica to wake up Monster Zero – who is actually King Ghidorah.  It turns out their plan is to wake up all the titans to ‘cleanse’ the earth of the disease that is humanity.  Monarch was hoping one or two might wake up here or there to restore balance, but Allen and company are going to go a bit titan-crazy.  The problem is, Ghidorah is not like the others, and once he wakes up, things go bad quickly.  Luckily, Godzilla is still around to attempt to keep him in check.

The movie is directed by Michael Dogherty, who is mostly a writer but did direct Trick ‘r Treat.  He brings a great sense of epic action to this pure popcorn flick which I much prefer to the 2014 version.  There’s a ton more monster action here, and that’s what I want. In a Godzilla movie, I honestly don’t much care what the humans are up to - I’m here for the monster action.  That being said, the ‘plot’ is a little contrived and some of the performances are a little less than.  But overall, most of the humans know what movie they are in and are having an absolute blast.

  • Vera Farmiga plays Dr. Emma Russell and I was pleased with her through the movie. She’s making some questionable choices for the right reasons, and bound and determined to do what she can to save her family and the planet. 

  • Kyle Chandler plays Mark Russell and I still picture him as the guy who was getting tomorrow’s paper today, regardless of what other football things he did.  I wish he was having a little more fun in this – he’s great, but he’s taking it very seriously.  Of course, his role doesn’t leave much room for fun, so perhaps he made the right call.

  • Here we come to what might be an unpopular opinion – Millie Bobbie Brown plays their daughter Madison, and I found her completely useless in this movie.  The character seemed so unnecessary. Everything that Emma and Mark do would have exactly the same impact if she wasn’t there, and anything she did could have been done by Emma with the same results.  Not her fault, she was fine staring around in shock for the whole time, but honestly, did not need this character.

  • Ken Watanabe returns as Dr. Ishiro Serizawa from the previous Godzilla movie. He’s still Godzilla’s number one fan, and gets some up close and personal time with him here. Watanabe knows exactly what movie he’s making and plays it just a bit over the top in the most perfect way. Sally Hawkins returns as Dr. Vivienne Graham, and she’s there to remind everyone that the titans are fulfilling a purpose, right until she gets eliminated – sorry, spoiler alert.

  • Ziyi Zhang plays Dr. Ilene Chen and Dr. Ling – twins!  Which if you know anything about Mothra, is not a surprise to you.  Mothra always had two twin fairies with her to translate through song her greatness, or something like that. 

  • Bradley Whitford plays Dr. Rick Stanton and steals every damn scene he is in. This is a guy who understands the movie and spends a lot of time yelling at computer screens in the best possible way.

  • Charles Dance plays Jonah Allen and is equally as creepy and menacing as he always is.  It’s a little hard to buy him as a guy who wants to save anything - even if it is the planet and not the people.

  • Thomas Middleditch plays Monarch employee Sam Coleman.  I love Middleditch – but again, he seems to be an unnecessary character.  There are a ton of humans in this movie, and some of them really have nothing to do.

  • Aisha Hinds plays Colonel Diane Foster, and she’s there to make sure the military folks are in line and doing what needs to be done. 

  • O’Shea Jackson Jr. plays Chief Warrant Officer Barnes, and he’s there to be the audience representative – being shocked at the monsters and cracking jokes.

  • David Strathairn returns as Admiral William Stenz, and his main purpose – aside from trying to kill all the titans – is to release an ‘oxygen killer’ missile that will kill Ghidorah and Godzilla while they fight – at least, that’s what he thinks. You know that’s a bad plan.
  • Joe Morton pops up briefly as the older version of Dr. Houston Brooks – the character Corey Hawkins played in Skull Island.  My guess is that he will have a larger role in Kong vs. Godzilla. You don’t just have Joe Morton there for 3 minutes for no reason.

In the credits, Godzilla, King Ghidorah, Mothra and Rodan are listed as themselves, so here we are.  You can get details on all the monsters at MonarchSciences.com.  
  • Once Mothra comes out of her cocoon, she is simply stunning.  She’s 52 feet tall with a wingspan of 803 feet, and apparently, she’s about sprinkling bio-luminescent rays from above to help Godzilla when he needs it. She's also pretty badass in a fight, and not above using her very pointy legs to get the job done when necessary.

  • Rodan is very pteradon–like and living in a volcano in Mexico.  He’s 154 feet tall with a 871 foot wingspan.  He's here to spread firey destruction and is far more mobile in the air than I remember him being. Also, he's a bit of a punk and will follow whoever is in charge at the time.

  • King Ghidorah is the 521 foot tall three-headed two-tailed space dragon who gives Godzilla a run for his money as the alpha.  The center head and body is performance capture and really makes a difference in the visuals.  Ghidorah is pissed when he is awoken, and sets about calling everybody to wake them up and reign destruction on the planet. He’s mean, vicious, travels in his own hurricane, and does not care about you or your helicopter or your baseball stadium.

  • Finally to our star, Godzilla.  He’s even bigger and more muscle-y in this version at 393 feet.  It’s the second largest he’s ever been.  He’s also performance capture, which gives the fights more impact as well as the standing around bits.  He definitely looks like a dude in a suit, but even better, his eyebrows give him a bit more facial expressions.  When he’s tired, you can tell – when he’s surprised, you can see that too.  When he’s angry at the end, man, you can definitely see that.  The scene where he stares down Ghidorah over Boston and then sprints toward him at a full run is still one of the best things I have ever seen. Godzilla is awesome and absolutely beautiful in this movie that cements him as the King of Monsters.  Kong who?

Overall, the movie is a ton of fun, exactly what you expect, and a near-perfect popcorn flick.  Don’t think about the science too much, just enjoy the visuals. Yes, there are too many human characters, so some really get shortchanged on story, but that’s okay.  Maybe they’ll be back in the next one!

9 out of 10 – fantastic and fun.

Sidenote - Godzilla is an incredible cultural icon and one of Japan's most popular exports, he's even got a star on the walk of fame!  I will be sorely disappointed if he does not feature in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics opening ceremonies next summer in some way or form!