Critics Consensus

Godzilla: King of the Monsters Is Exactly What It Promises

Plus, Rocketman is Certified Fresh, Ma is lucky Octavia Spencer is so good, and Swamp Thing is scary good.

by | May 30, 2019 | Comments

This weekend at the movies, we’ve got a kaiju kerfuffle (Godzilla: King of the Monsters, starring Vera Farmiga and Millie Bobb Brown), a rockin’ biopic (Rocketman, starring Taron Egerton and Jamie Bell), and a creepy neighbor (Ma, also starring Octavia Spencer and Diana Silvers). What are the critics saying?

Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) 42%

It’s right there on the packaging: Godzilla: King of the Monsters. What more could you want from a movie about a giant lizard fighting other behemoths for supremacy? Apparently quite a bit, according to the critics. While the film’s impressive cast of humans includes Vera Farmiga, Kyle Chandler, Sally Hawkins, Bradley Whitford, David Strathairn, and Eleven herself, Millie Bobby Brown, the reviews say they don’t offer enough incentive for the story to detour away from the kaiju action. In other words, you know exactly what you’re getting with this movie, and whether or not that’s enough for you as a moviegoer will depend on how much you just want to sit back and watch giant creatures pummel each other. For some, that’s a dream come true; for others, it’s a yawn.

Rocketman (2019) 89%

Music biopics aren’t a new phenomenon, but with the recent success of Bohemian Rhapsody — and Rami Malek‘s Oscar-winning performance — you can expect a few more to come down the pipeline in the near future. This year already gave us the Netflix feature The Dirt, focusing on hard rockers Mötley Crüe, and this week brings us Rocketman, a fantasy-tinged look back at the life of Elton John. Taron Egerton takes on the challenge of portraying John in the film, which traces his upbringing and musical career, culminating in his lifelong friendship with songwriter Bernie Taupin (played by Jamie Bell). It also happens to be directed by Dexter Fletcher, the same man who took over and completed Bohemian Rhapsody in the wake of Bryan Singer‘s dismissal from the project. Critics say Rocketman is an affectionate, entertaining portrait that benefits from Egerton’s powerhouse performance, John’s indelible music, and some inventive cinematic flourishes, and it should both please longtime fans and serve as a worthy introduction for neophytes.

Ma (2019) 55%

Director Tate Taylor has employed the talents of Octavia Spencer in almost every one of his films to date, and in 2011, their work together on The Help earned Spencer an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. Their latest collaboration, Ma, is their first thriller, and while critics don’t see any Academy Awards in the film’s future, they largely agree it benefits a great deal from Spencer’s presence in the central role. She plays Sue Ann, a lonely veterinary assistant who buddies up to a group of local teens by purchasing liquor for them and offering her basement as a safe space for them to party. Soon enough, the teens discover Sue Ann isn’t quite what she seems, and things take a sinister turn. Critics say Ma has a lot of potential that it doesn’t quite capitalize on, but Spencer is clearly enjoying herself, and her charismatic performance goes a long way toward making up for the story’s pacing issues and narrative problems. It’s a tad predictable, but the scenario is wacky and unusual enough — and Spencer is so fun to watch — that for some, it might just be worth the price of admission.

What’s New on TV

Swamp Thing: Season 1 (2018) 94%

By leaning into the horror of it all, Swamp Thing swims deep into the trenches of this strange world and returns with a scary good TV show.

When They See Us: Season 1 (2019) 96%

Ava DuVernay pulls no punches in When They See Us, laying out the harrowing events endured by the Central Park Five while adding a necessary layer of humanity to their story that challenges viewers to reconsider what it means to find justice in America.

Good Omens: Miniseries (2019) 84%

A smörgåsbord of heavenly imagery and irreverent hilarity, Good Omens works thanks to to Michael Sheen and David Tennant‘s very-nearly-holy (or maybe unholy?) chemistry — though, at only six episodes long, it’s a rare adaptation that may have benefited from being a little less faithful to the good book.

Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

  • Too Late to Die Young (Tarde para morir joven) (2019) , a coming-of-age drama about three kids growing up in the post-Pinochet Chile of 1990, is at 100%.
  • For the Birds (2019) , a documentary about a woman whose over 200 pet birds put her marriage on the rocks, is at 100%.
  • Find Me (2019) , a drama about a man who follows a breadcrumb trail of clues through national parks to catch up with a friend, is at 100%.
  • Always Be My Maybe (2019) , starring Ali Wong and Randall Park in a Netflix rom-com about two childhood sweethearts who reunite as adults, is at 83%.
  • The Fall of the American Empire (La chute de l'empire américain) (2019) , about a delivery man who stumbles into a cash windfall and doesn’t quite know what to do with it, is at 76%.
  • Mouthpiece (2019) , an adaptation of the experimental stage play about a woman coping with her mother’s death, is at 75%.
  • Yomeddine (2019) , a drama about a cured leper who decides to return home for the first time since he was a child, is at 65%.
  • Domino (2019) , starring Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Guy Pearce in an action thriller about a Danish cop out for revenge who finds himself at odds with a CIA agent with an agenda of his own, is at 25%.

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