Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)

B- SDG Original source: National Catholic Register

It’s the classic movie monster’s dilemma: You either die a villain or live long enough to see yourself become the hero.

Frankenstein and King Kong were never, of course, entirely unsympathetic. Count Dracula was pure evil for a long time, but he has gotten more complicated, and for decades vampires have been heroes, antiheroes and romantic leads. On Sesame Street, where friendly monsters abound, the Count, sounding like Bela Lugosi, teaches young children numbers.

Directed by Michael Dougherty. Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, Ken Watanabe, Sally Hawkins, Bradley Whitford, Zhang Ziyi, O’Shea Jackson Jr. Warner Bros.

Artistic/Entertainment Value

Moral/Spiritual Value

-1

Age Appropriateness

Teens & Up

MPAA Rating

PG-13

Caveat Spectator

Intense action violence, mayhem and menace; recurring profanity and crude language.

Darth Vader was redeemed in the end. The Terminator came back as the good guy. Maleficent and the Wicked Witch of the West recently received humanizing back stories.

And then there’s Gojira, or Godzilla: perhaps the archetypal movie monster-turned-hero.

The humanization of monsters can entail a subversive critique of the social structures or norms that judged them monsters in the first place. If the Beast isn’t evil, then the pitchfork-wielding mob is, and indicting witch-hunters easily goes hand in hand with humanizing witches.

At first a metaphorical expression of Japanese dread over the nuclear destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Toho Studios’ most popular kaiju gradually metamorphosed by dint of sheer popularity into a welcome opponent of even more fearful characters, eventually becoming a beloved defender of Japan and humanity in general.

This seems to be the pattern. At first we create monsters to embody our anxieties or the evils we fear. Yet the monsters are often more compelling than the heroes pitted against them, and we can’t bear to leave them as unmitigated villains. So they evolve into metaphors for something else: the unknown, perhaps, or our own capacity for moral growth.

Action, Humans Are the Real Monsters, Monstrous

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