In 2014, Gareth Edwards’s Godzilla kicked off the MonsterVerse, a major studio’s attempt to kick off a shared cinematic universe that didn’t have to rely on men in capes or the words “DC Comics.” It was an admirable launch with an indie director at the helm, delivering some inventive visuals, but some die-hards whined about the lack of giant lizard action.

Well, five years later, Michael Dougherty’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters picks up the wreckage and throws at the audience a big, dumb piece of summer entertainment filled with Serious TV Actors succumbing to the allure of a pretty paycheck by standing in front of a green screen and constantly reacting to bright lights and explosions while being drenched in fake rain. (Seriously, there’s a lot of weather in this movie.)

In fact, the cast list is a venerable who’s-who of thespians with far superior credits under their belts. I’ll get to those names while I list the amount of action-blockbuster tropes this film is undeniably guilty of. I mean, did you really come to this for the plot?

Of course there’s a fractured family at the center of all this chaos. Kyle Chandler and Vera Farmiga are the hot scientist parents of Millie Bobby Brown (enjoying her hiatus in between seasons of Stranger Things), and of course they’re estranged because of a tragedy that resulted from the San Francisco showdown in the first monster mash.

Of course these humans are able to miraculously hop across time zones within literal seconds; one scene has them delegating duties in Bermuda while the next has them landing in Antartica to chisel the three-headed King Ghidorah out of a mountain of ice. Why? Because some of these humans believe that unleashing these “titans” will reset the planet and therefore cure it of all its disasters and ailments.

Of course Ken Watanabe, returning as Dr. Serizawa, has to growl several lines about humanity like he’s a walking-talking fortune cookie — and that’s not a racially-charged metaphor. The Japanese actor, at one point, actually tries to make a funny by comparing his dialogue to the writings found within the Chinese after-dinner treat.

Of course there’s a bumbling government geek who has to struggle to get in a word of reason amongst the talking heads (hello, Silicon Valley‘s Thomas Middleditch).

Of course there’s the mass wipeout of a foreign city during which a little moppet of a child and his dog narrowly avoid annihilation.

Of course the villain (Charles Dance playing an eco-terrorist) has a British accent.

Of course an African-American character has to shout, “Now that’s what I’m talking about!” after a battle sequence. (That would be Straight Outta Compton‘s O’Shea Jackson Jr.)

Of course there’s Academy Award nominee and Emmy winner David Strathairn, reprising his role as an admiral from the first film, appearing in two scenes and uttering the line, “May God have mercy on us all.” (Sheesh.)

Of course there’s comic relief in the form of Bradley Whitford‘s wisecracking government doctor. Halfway through the film, the actor himself appears to give up after delivering his umpteenth pun.

And of course all these silly humans have to detonate a nuke (NOT a spoiler) as a last-ditch effort to save the world.

That all said, the amount of eye rolls I felt in the audience was too many to count. Granted, it was a theater full of fellow film critics, but still…despite all of this ridiculousness, I enjoyed the two hours and eleven minutes — more shamefully than shamelessly.

@TheFirstEcho