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‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’ review: As someone always says in movies like this, we’ve got company!

“Godzilla: King of the Monsters” can be accused of overkill. Then again, there’s so much to kill! Though we don’t meet them all, we’re told that no fewer than 17 massive creatures, hidden away in Antarctic ice packs, Mexican volcanoes, oceanic bachelor pads and what have you, come a-calling in this enjoyably chaotic continuation of the so-called “MonsterVerse” put into play by the 2014 “Godzilla” and the 2017 “Kong: Skull Island.” As paleo-zoologist played by Sally Hawkins summarizes early on, eyes wide and mouth agape, studiously avoiding technical jargon: “They’re everywhere.”

The new film likewise scoots all over the place, in a near-constant onslaught of rain. When last we saw Godzilla five years ago, he had chosen to retire, gunslinger style, after saving the world (while destroying much of it) and leveling San Francisco in the process. The “Skull Island” epilogue more recently rolled out the blood-red carpet for a host of additional monsters, tracked for decades by the super-secret agency known as Monarch.

Key non-human players in “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” include Godzilla, whose head remains touchingly small for his body, and therefore reminds me of our dog, Maisie; the bat-winged hydra-headed dragon King Ghidorah (first introduced in 1964’s “Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster”), who surely knows the subtitle of this film specifies Godzilla as Earth’s rightful monster king; the glowing, sympathetic Mothra, who doesn’t look like a killer but then, neither do most killers; and Rodan, the volcano-dwelling fire demon.The humans familiar from previous MonsterVerse pictures are led, staring, agog, by Ken Watanabe. Reaction shot after reaction shot proves it: This man is the king of the staring-agog division of screen acting.

The fractured, grieving family unit introduced in “Godzilla, King of the Monsters,” meantime, takes up most of the narrative acreage. A son was lost in the 2014 San Francisco melee. Now divorced, the boy’s mother (Vera Farmiga, high priestess of dramatic exposition) and father (Kyle Chandler, getting paid by the glare and worth every dime) are the inventors of a bio-sonar means of communicating with the monsters. This little boom box, known as ORCA, serves as the linchpin of plot devices in the script by director Michael Dougherty and Zach Shields.

Some of the motivations and reversals involving a vicious eco-terrorist (Charles Dance), who swipes the boom box, lack a pleasing clarity. The script’s quippy streak could’ve used better jokes. But this is one franchise that doesn’t feel fished out or exhausted or exhausting.The monsters, Toho studio classics redesigned but faithfully so, are pretty swell and monumentally destructive.

The real stars here? Sound designers Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van Der Ryn, whose aural creature designs actually sound like something new — part machine, part prehistoric whatzit. Director Dougherty keeps his hand-held cameras very close to the human faces, too much so, probably. But he’s going for a very different, more action-laden movie than director Gareth Edwards’ “Godzilla.”

I don’t think it constitutes a spoiler to mention the climax, a two-bout, four-creature smackdown set (in a downpour, natch) in Boston’s Fenway Park. Between the Ben Affleck robbery thriller “The Town” and “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” there can’t be much left of it. In “Kong: Skull Island” the John C. Reilly character lived and died by the Cubs, and memories of Wrigley Field. Truly, this franchise is major league baseball’s best friend.

Oh, and if that does constitute a spoiler by your standards: You’ll get over it.

Michael Phillips is a Tribune critic.

mjphillips@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @phillipstribune

“Godzilla: King of the Monsters” — 3 stars (out of 4)

MPAA rating: PG-13 (for sequences of monster action violence and destruction, and for some language)

Running time: 2:12

Opens: Thursday evening

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